Cousin Billy

Saturdays during my childhood were spent playing with our cousins.  Or fishing.

Billy was the oldest by a year. Like his Dad, he was built to run and had a spiritual connection with nature. With ease, Billy filled his match box with grasshoppers (for fish bait) while we stumbled around with the creatures making a mockery of us.

We’d grab our fishing poles and race our bikes to the Kootenay River.  Billy would bound ahead from rock to rock. With grace.  Like an Aboriginal Tracker.  Quiet. Surefooted. No energy wasted.

The rest of us were in pursuit.  Jimmy’s arms and legs flying. Baby fat rhythmically swinging up and down with each stride.  Sweating profusely. Screaming at us to “wait up.” 

Rich, oh my Brother Richard.  Lollygagging way back.  Always late.  Always at the back.  Munching on sunflower seeds.  His fishing pole, floater and line in one jumbled mess.  Still recovering from the two mile bike ride – his face a crimson red.  He can’t see any reason to rush whatsoever.  (That pattern holding true for the following 10 years.  Middle child syndrome among other maladies.)

The fish weren’t biting.  We dropped our lines in the water, anchored our poles and found a shady spot to dig into our lunch.  Cucumbers and tomatoes fresh picked from the garden.  Salt shaker in one hand.  Vegetable in the other.  Ripe peaches and plums picked from our orchard to top it off.

While we were basking in the mid-day afternoon sun with full bellies, Billy noticed that something big hit his line.  And big it was.

I miss those days.

The photo dates back. Who cares how far back. This is a sturgeon caught at the base of the Brilliant Dam. From left to right: that’s Cousin Jimmy, Brother Rich, Cousin Billy and me. Location: Ootischenia, British Columbia, Canada. That’s the Selkirk Mountain range in the background. And the faces tell it all. Jimmy, Zen-master, always happy. Rich still in a stupor. Billy, “at one” with nature. And yours truly, Mr. Serious.


  1. Delightful post. And that fish is huge!


  2. Looks like a fish out o the Animal Planet show “River Monsters” – that is one huge fish..And this brief glimpse into one of your golden moments is a delight to read. Images of your cousin deftly filling a matchbox full of jumping bugs..sitting under a tree convinced that no fish are biting only to find that one most certainly was..A little “Stand By Me’ playing in the background (in my head). Wonderful.


  3. Great story David, thanks for taking us back to a wonderful time in your past and man is tht some fish!


  4. Ah those wonderful childhood memories. Thanks for sharing yours.


  5. Your childhood experience is one that modern children rarely now experience.


  6. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Love the post, Dave. These are the best (posts – as well as memories).


  7. Great memories, David.What a ‘catch of the day’! 🙂


  8. The fishing days and the baseball playing days, such good memories to have!!!!


  9. Those sturgeons are quite the monsters. Very large fish. A British couple caught one in the Fraser River this summer that was four metres long and estimated to weigh over 800 lbs.


  10. David,

    This post- in words and photo- takes us all back to those days. Childhood. A time of pain as well as happiness but also a time when we were more often in that simple centered way of being.

    I’m trying to live more like that now in the twilight time.

    Thank you for the wonderful story and the triggered memories.



  11. Wonderful David! I could hear cousin Jimmy’s labored breathing, envision Billy’s nimble grace, and imagine you taking it all in, to record and savor again at a later date. How lucky are we to have a “seat at the table of your recollections….”


  12. Childhood memories are great things to have. Having a picture to accompany them is even better. So that when we relate these memories to our children and grandchildren they can’t say “oh, that was just a big fish tale.” (smile) And we can say,here is the proof. Thanks for sharing.



  13. What a perfect story, of a perfect moment in childhood, I felt almost as if there, or nearby. It so reminds me of summer days spent carefree, hours and hours away from the house, outside, and the wish that our children of today could know that same freedom. I enjoyed a glimpse of your days…


  14. Sometimes one wishes to “RE – LIVE” the good old memories. Great post, Dave. Hope you have many more (=


  15. Good stuff, Dave. Fisherman do tend to be the most graceful and focused of us all. Billy clearly got the memo. I love this! Those sturgeon are fish that haven’t changed much from the prehistoric days and are known for their caviar I do believe.


  16. Love this


  17. richardkanigan says:

    Good post Dave, I like the things you mentioned that brought me back to that day. It continues to be a fabulous childhood memory for me, a wonderful fish story that I tell often, however my recollection is somewhat different than what you have so eloquently put into words. Although, I must admit, it was summer, it was hot, and what’s the point of rushing – we had our whole lives ahead of us….


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