Opening Day memory
Although I have lived in Barry County the majority of my life and have fished at Roaring River State Park since I was very young, I was nearly an adult the first time I attended an Opening Day at the park. On that frigid morning, around 16 years ago, I remember gripping my rod and reel in my gloved hands and looking around at the anglers standing shoulder to shoulder along the stream. It was fun, exciting, nerve-wracking and above all else, cold.
I attended my first Opening Day with my then boyfriend and now husband. I remember that we each had a trout or two fastened to the nylon stringers we had purchased at the Roaring River Park Store that morning when we decided to make our way back to James' truck to run the vehicle's heater and warm up for a few minutes. Not only was shivering on the river banks fun but sitting in the truck watching anglers toss their lines and hopes for a "big one" into the icy waters again and again was also quite enjoyable.
I can't tell you how many fish we took home that day or which one of us reeled in the largest fish, but I can tell you that day continues to be one of my fondest memories.
Last week, Dusty Reid, Roaring River State Park superintendent, said to me, "Opening Day is more about enjoying the event and enjoying the company of friends and family." I whole-heartedly agree with him. Over the last few years, I have taken time to visit with many anglers while covering Opening Day festivities for the newspaper. Each person fishing at the park is excited to share stories about who they are fishing with, which member of their group has reeled in the biggest fish that day and who taught them how to catch trout at Roaring River.
As local anglers prepare to join vacationers and visitors from neighboring counties and states at Roaring River this Friday, I hope each of them will remember what Opening Day is all about. It's fun to see your photo in the newspaper because you reeled in the biggest trout of the day, but it is more fun to capture memories with your friends and loved ones. I don't have a single photo of the first Opening Day I spent with James at Roaring River State Park, but many images from that March 1 morning are crystal clear in my memory.