RAINBOWS ON SATURDAY
Ah, Saturday and a chance to sleep in. We don’t. We have some place special to go, while artCentral docent, Sharon Patton, covers our Hyde House gallery hours.
For months we’ve been anticipating this excursion. Today’s weather is perfect—an elegant blue sky, a bit of a nip on the breeze. We dress in layers knowing we’ll likely be chilly by the water.
David’s nephew, Clint, is waiting for us to pick him up in Joplin. But first, a stop at Mother Road Coffee for their just right cappuccinos (extra-dry, skinny with stiff foam) and a slice of super moist and buttery coffee cake, then we go the back way—across Center Creek and up Zora Road. Fetching Clint, we wind our way south to the National Fish Hatchery.
The men, both Navy vets, are making returning pilgrimages to participate in the Hatchery’s sixth annual Rainbows for Veterans, where we encounter artCentral artists/musicians Jack and Lee Ann Sours checking in registrants and handing out tee shirts.
In order to keep pristine the spring-fed waters of the Hatchery, each vet is issued a pre-rigged fishing pole and a cup of bait. There’s a limit of four trout per fisher person. No throwing back or trading. You keep what you catch.
The turnout is impressive. Perhaps three hundred vets ring the pond. As the sun climbs to warm the morning, outermost garments are quickly shed. David and Clint set up near a copse of lushly fragrant white pines. A lively uncle-nephew competition begins.
Clint is first to catch his limit. Soon David’s stringer is full with much larger trophies. David wins. We visit the cleaning station where the job is done by friendly community volunteers who find David’s biggest catch is too large to fit with ice in a regular bag. Naturally, with avuncular humor, David repeats this information to nephew Clint, who hands over his own fish saying he doesn’t want them. Too bad. More for us.
After depositing Clint, we midday hike on Joplin’s Frisco Trail. While ambling beside Turkey Creek we conclude we’ve too many trout for just us, so we invite an artCentral couple to join us for an evening fish feast on our deck. They accept. With quinoa and a colorful salad, David’s serves up the beautifully grilled catch-of-the-day.
Rainbows are the perfect denouement for this blissful Saturday.