Thankful Outdoors: Appreciation for Small-Town Wisconsin

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Growing up in a small town means something different to everyone. We all have watched plenty of movies where the youth can’t wait to graduate and get out of town. This past weekend I was reminded of the special bond created by the small town I grew up.

I made the annual stop at the softball tournament, watch a little bit of a game but mostly talked with some prior Hornet graduates; we talked basketball, deer hunting, and wrestling. And who says rednecks are not well-rounded? We can talk about anything!

I walked on up to the beer stand where lots of “Hello’s”, handshakes, and a few hugs were shared with old acquaintances. I hadn’t seen some faces in almost 30 years, while others are seen yearly at the Cheese Days event.

Conversations ranged all over the place, but I couldn’t help think about the times spent with many of these good people. We shared the wins and losses while playing sports together, the dances that we attended together, challenges in schools that were shared, the parties that we all hung out at, and some of the old outdoor adventures. That song from Bruce Springsteen, “Glory Days,” sure hits different when you are almost 50 reflecting on the good times of when you were younger.

The summer nights had been amazing last week. I have found myself drawn to the local rivers for fishing adventures, mainly to show my boys that you can fish without having a boat, and exploring a river can always be interesting.

The Big Eau Pleine River and Black River were the waters that were highlighted in the weekly fishing adventures. If you find yourself on these rivers, keep an out for a few of the Rapalas lost on logs and overhanging tree branches. I have my eye on a musky lure that I may go and try to retrieve later this winter once things freeze; I will see how the ice conditions go, though!

I cringe at losing crankbaits, but it’s a price to pay when fishing. In some ways, I guess those $8 to $11 crankbaits are the price of memories! Taking a small Plano box, one fishing pole, and wading a river sure makes fishing simple.

Getting back to the basics has given me special moments this summer. Leaving the boat with high-tech electronics, trolling motors, multiple fishing poles, and various other gear in the driveway has reminded me of where some of the passion for fishing started for me. These very rivers that I walked today at 47 years of age started my love for fishing.

Thanks, Colby, for reminding me about my roots and appreciating the small-town values and friendships that you gave me over the years. As I continue my outdoor adventures on these small rivers, many of you will be thought about as I listen to the rapids and know that I’m honored to be able to call you a friend!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.