Our Weekend at the River
Cole, Age 13, Logan, OH

The car ride seemed very long on the way to our weekend get-a-way. We were headed to the Ohio River to go camping, fishing and boating. Enrico, our foreign exchange student from Germany, didn’t know what the weekend was going to be like since he had never been fishing or boating before. Once we got there and got the tent set up and bags unpacked, we could focus on relaxing for the long Labor Day weekend. After everyone arrived and settled in, we fixed what I believe to be the best steaks on the grill that I’ve ever eaten. We had fresh broccoli, carrots and corn. For desert, my mom made homemade brownies. Why is it that everything tastes better when you are camping?

After dinner was finished, we headed down to the docks to go fishing. The fishing was kind of a disappointment because nothing was biting. We decided to try again tomorrow. We headed back up to the campfire where everyone had gathered to relax after a long day of school and work. There is something to be said about sitting around the fire, listening to the grownups talk and actually being a part of their conversations. I can only imagine what Enrico was thinking as he sat and listened to everyone’s stories. After a while, everyone decided to go to bed so that we could get up early the next morning to try our luck at fishing once again. After we yelled good night to everyone from our tent, everyone was quiet. All that could be heard was the sound of the tree frogs croaking and the crickets chirping. That is all I remember about that night.

Bright and early the next morning, my dad woke me up to go fishing with him. Everyone else was still sleeping. As dad and I headed to the docks on the cool September morning, a heavy fog covered the river. We couldn’t see across to the other campers. We could hear fish jumping, but we couldn’t see them. Evidently they could see us because we didn’t catch a single fish before breakfast. Never in my life have I seen such a huge spread of food. All of the women fixed Belgian waffles with fresh fruit and whipped cream, fresh farm eggs, bacon and sausage. After we polished off all of the breakfast, we decided to head to the basketball courts for a game of hoops. Enrico played basketball back in Germany, so I wanted to see what he could do. His six years experience was evident when I started playing against him. He beat me at “Around the World,” “Pig,” “Horse” and every other animal that you can think of. I guess that is why the coach is excited about having him on his varsity team this year.

When we got back to the campsite with the others and I had to admit how badly I had been beaten by Enrico at basketball, it was time to head out on the boat. After the quarter mile ride in the no wake zone on the Hocking River, we reached the Ohio River. The day was unseasonably cold. Sweatshirts and sunglasses were the attire for the day. The cool temperatures didn’t stop Enrico and me from hitting the water. The water was as warm as bath water. Enrico was used to the cool temperatures because where he is from the average summer temperature is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. We splashed and played around like we had been friends forever. This is the first time I’ve know what it is like to have a brother, and I think I’m going to like it. It is a great feeling to know that you are the one sharing someone’s first time to the USA, his first time camping, boating and fishing. Hopefully there will be a lot of fun times in the next nine months before he goes back to his real family. Even though the water was cold, it didn’t stop up from enjoying the day on the Ohio River.

When we got back to the campsite, we had tacos in a bag waiting for us, another first for Enrico. I have to wonder what is going through his mind when he sees how we Americans act and how different or alike our cultures are. After we ate lunch, a bunch of the “older” guys we were camping with started “talking trash” to Enrico and me about beating us at a basketball game. Enrico, in his German accent, said, “Let us see you put your money where your mouth is”. The game was on. We weren’t about to let those “old men” beat us. Enrico and I might have had youth and experience on our side, but I tell you what, those guys fought and played a long hard game. We finally were victorious after a lucky three point shot by Enrico. Neither one of us would admit that we thought we were going to get beaten by the “old men.”

Even though the game was exiting, the most exciting moment of the day was when one of the nine year olds that were camping caught a catfish that was about fifteen inches long. That was the biggest thing we’d see caught so far for the weekend. That seemed to be the beginning of an hour or two of good fishing. There were eight of us reeling in fish right and left, one right after the other; fish from three inches long to a foot and a half long. Wow, what a day of fishing! We finished off the day with another huge meal and smores--chocolate, roasted marshmallows and graham crackers, yum! Another fun filled day was coming to an end which meant tomorrow was the end of our camping trip. What a depressing day. All of the work of packing and unpacking would be repeated in the morning, but this time there wouldn't be all of the excitement of the river. It was back to the reality of chores and homework. Enrico and I enjoyed our weekend of firsts, and I hope he remembers them long after he returns home to Germany.

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