The Star-Herald

Childhood Allagash vacations

To the editor:

In my last letter I mentioned how every spring when my older brother, Kevin, and I were kids, my dad, who was usually all work-minded, would pack us up in the Volkswagen van and  head to Little Fall Brook Lake in the Allagash.

It was a real adventure to get there, what with terrible dirt roads, huge mud holes and debris across the roads. I knew there were plenty of closer, more accessible fishing places, but Dad insisted Little Fall Brook was well worth the effort.

Dad also liked taking members of our extended family along — usually just one more. All our lives we took in what Kevin and I thought of as big brothers. These were usually teenagers who needed a little help for a while and they all added something to our family and we loved having them along.

On this particular trip to “the ’Gash” my father invited Uncle Clare — yes, my namesake. We had hit the lake early and had pretty much caught our limits for the day. I can’t remember if we were each allowed 16 trout a day or 16 apiece for the two-day trip, but we had a bunch to cook up for supper that night.

We kids had never helped clean the fish before so Dad told us to listen to Uncle Clare’s instructions. We both turned to this wizened relative of ours, expecting a detailed discourse on cleaning fish. Without skipping a beat and, while demonstrating himself, he said, “You just stick it in the pooper and cut it up the middle.”  Well, I’m not sure whether it was what he said, how he said it or if he had said the “P” word, but Kev and I roared in laughter that kept erupting through the night.

And you know what was really cool?  My dad actually roared in laughter as well and I caught a glimpse of the kid in my dad.

Clare Kierstead
Presque Isle

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