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June 26, 2013
David had some time off before he had to hit the road for his next tournament, so we decided to take the girls to Douglas Lake to catch some bluegill. Now if you have ever gone bluegill fishing with kids then you know it is a lot of work but also, a lot of fun. We always get crickets & worms and with two girls, they never want to throw the same bait. If you are not baiting their hook, then you are busy taking a fish off or throwing their line out for them.
As we started off to catch some bluegill, David stopped on a spot where he payed close attention to his GPS as he drove close to shore. He turned the boat off and said we were going to catch some bass here. He took some rods out of his rod box and handed me one, he started up the bank using his trolling motor as he made cast’s towards the shore. I made a cast and before I new it I had one, the girls started cheering and David got the camera ready to take a picture of my first fish of the day it was a nice one maybe 3 lbs. It was no time that I had another one on but as I was reeling it in, I told David that I thought I was hung up in a brush pile, it suddenly got heavier and was harder to reel in. I continued to reel and as soon as the fish came to the surface we quickly realized that I had two fish on my crankbait. David reached out and was able to get both fish in the boat. Lilly and Olivia was so excited, as well as David and I. Lilly had my phone and started taking pictures, Olivia was picking out which one out of the two she wanted to release back in the lake, the other Lilly would release.
The rest of our day, just kept getting better. I caught 8 largemouth bass and 1 smallmouth bass, all were decent size – my biggest five weighed @ 22 pounds. As the day kept getting hotter and hotter, David found a great place where the girls could go swimming and it was also a pretty good bluegill hole. As the girls swimmed David and I used their rods, I used Lilly’s Hannah Montana one and David used Olivia’s Dora one to catch bluegill. We caught close to 50, it was one after another. The girls would swim to shore and throw the bluegill back as we caught them, Olivia likes releasing the fish more then catching them!
We headed in that evening, with a smile on all of our faces. That night as we sat outside and the girls chased fireflies, all they talked about was our fishing trip and how much fun they had. It’s moments like this that I will cherish forever, David will cherish forever and most importantly, our girls will cherish forever.
January 9, 2012
Happy New Year, I hope everyone’s new year is starting off grand! It is hard to believe it is 2012 already. David, the girls, and I had a fantastic holiday. We spent a lot of time together, and did our part to make sure some children in East Tennessee had a visit from Santa!
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get the 2012 fishing season started. David has been busy the last few weeks, just working on tackle. When I say “working on tackle” that is exactly what he does. He spends his days out in “his” garage getting the boat ready, fishing rods & reels cleaned and ready to go, and tackle organized. This is his only time throughout the season that he gets a chance to go through his large assortment of baits and get everything organized. Once the first tournament kicks off, he is usually home long enough to switch tackle from the truck and boat before he heads to the next tournament or show.
Now, about the signs. When Lilly was around 16 months, she loved sticker books. She could not go anywhere without one, or should I say I could not go anywhere without her having one! Lilly was sitting in the boat one day while David worked on tackle and she started putting stickers on Davids’s tackle box lids. It started off with just one and kept growing from there. Lilly traveled to David’s tournaments since she was born, so she learned early on to clap and cheer for David when he was on stage. When Lilly was two, we were at a tournament on KY Lake where David made the top ten cut. Lilly and I are big on arts and crafts – something we do a lot of in the camper at the tournaments to keep us busy. Lilly scribbled on a piece of paper and told me it said ‘Go Daddy”. There was a photo taken of Lilly at that tournament, she was 2 and held a sign above her head that said “Go Daddy”. From then on, every tournament day Lilly always has a sign with her, usually tucked under her arm or in my bag. When she was younger, it was just scribbles of paint and glitter but David always knew that it said “Go Daddy!”
David gave Lilly a desiginated compartment in his boat 7 years ago for her to “decorate” and she has made and hung up a “Go Daddy” sign in it before David’s first tournament of the season every year since. Olivia has taken right after Lilly with love for arts and crafts, and jumped right in to take part in the sign making process. Lilly and Olivia keep an eye on their signs and drawings, if they get knocked down when David runs through rough water it is their top priority to fix them.
This past April, a picture was taken during the tournament at Toledo Bend. David had his storage compartment open and was tying on another bait. A photographer took a photo of the girls signs they made and put it up on the Bassmaster website. A picture is worth a thousand words, it was nice to see someone see something in that to take a picture of it. To me, it says family. This is a guy that truly loves his family, everything he does, everything he goes through, everything he is fighting for – is for his family.
June 22, 2011
I feel like I just got off of a roller coaster: one that I have been on for two weeks. There was fear, tears and lots of cheering during the ride and when it was all said and done, I can not help but want to do it again.
With two Elite tournaments left, we found ourselves in Little Rock, AR. This is the one tournament David was not excited about when he looked at the schedule. Once we got there and David got on the water and got some practice in, he thought he could catch a limit. He knew they were not going to weigh much but a top 50 did not seem impossible. A top 50 is what we needed to keep David in a position to make the Classic. On day two David was one of the few guys that lost all his weight for the day because of a barge in the locks. David was 13 minutes late and took a zero for the day. He ended that tournament in 98th place.
What a long drive to Lake Wheeler! David took a hard hit in Arkansas and we knew to make the Bassmaster Classic, he had to win at Wheeler. Win, easy to say but for a guy who has been doing this for 15 years and has over 50 top tens “Win” suddenly became a word that seemed impossible to say. The girls and I kept ourselves busy at the campground, lots of bike riding. We found two great playgrounds in Decatur, one even had a splash area for the kids. The temperature was in the upper 90’s that week, lucky for us, there was an ice cream truck that came through the campground each day!! David practiced and practiced, he left at 5am each morning and stayed out there till 7pm. I tried not to ask him about practice, but it was hard. David and I talk about everything and when he is fishing a tournament I know where he is starting, how long it takes him to get to that spot, what he is throwing and how many other places he has where he thinks he can catch some.
The night before the tournament I felt sick, I thought maybe it was just the heat but I knew better. It was that wonderful feeling of stress. The first morning I watched David leave the camper, but not before he kissed two sleeping little girls and covered them back up. I turned on the computer and found my fingers typing faster than I was thinking, going straight to Bassmaster.com to read the Live Blog. Waiting to see “Walker” enter the screen. Lilly & Olivia woke up, I made them breakfast, but passed on eating anything myself. My mind kept racing: Did David get to his spot, was anyone else there, were the fish biting? Still nothing on the blog about David. Lilly, Olivia & I decided to color & draw. Olivia is becoming quite the little artist like Lilly.
Finally, after refreshing the Live Blog I see that David has 17 pounds, now I know this is not 100%, but that did not stop me from getting excited and reading it to Lilly & Olivia, who quickly started screaming with excitement. David weighed in with 18.2 that day landing him in second place, only 5 ounces from first. Back at the camper I made dinner while David sat outside and worked on his tackle. Lilly and Olivia quickly made friends with a few kids camping close by and were enjoying riding their bikes back in forth in front of the camper. The bigger kids out in front, Olivia peddling her tricycle as fast as she could to keep up and ringing her bell each time she went by. That night, after putting our girls to sleep David told me about his day. “Can you do it again?” I ask. He told me that the fish were there, “But so were six other boats, but they did not catch them as good as I did.” he said.
The second day of the tournament started out a lot like the first, quickly I find myself turning on the computer to see what is going on. Olivia wanted pancakes that morning, while Lilly settled for Reese’s Puffs. I just kept swallowing hard, I did not know that on an empty stomach you still could feel like you were going to get sick. I could see on the blog, that I refreshed often that David made a move and was catching them, but others were catching them too. I would get excited about David catching a 3 pounder, then someone catches a 4 pounder, this continued all day. I got a text message from Tilly Davis, who is camping within sight of our camper. She asked if Lilly and Olivia wanted to have a water balloon fight with her boys. We walked over to their camper, the girls full of excitement about the water war they were about to enter. As for me, my mind continued racing about David. Tilly had some water balloons filled up when we got there. The kids had a great time, her boys would run from Lilly, Lilly chased them with screams of laughter. When it came to Olivia to throw one at them, they would stop and hold still, allowing Olivia to have a chance to actually hit them. It was great hearing all the laughter and giggles that day!
We made it to weigh in to find David already at the dock 15 minutes early, something that he never does. For years, I have found myself staring at the check in boat, then my watch. My eyes scanning the crowd of boats looking for his, finally I would see him – always within a minute or two before he is due in. David was smiling, as he bagged his fish, camera’s were flashing as the girls and I watched. David had 17 pounds that day, enough to land him in first place. Back at the camper his phone was quickly filling up with calls and messages. I found myself looking at the standings to see who fell out of the top 50 that would allow us to jump in front of when it came down to points, David was in 46th place in the point standings and had to be in the top 28 to make the Classic. We got the girls to bed but not before David had to tell them the Story of the Three Little Pigs, he does it in a voice that makes the girls squeal with giggles. David and I sat out side the camper and talked for hours, he’s in first place but we new there were two more days – anything could happen.
Day three, was much like day one and two for me. I felt nauseous all day, refreshing the blog often as the girls and I played. I stayed calm, Lilly and Olivia had no idea I was an emotional wreck inside. During the week David and I watched some of the Stanley Cup Hockey game. Now growing up in Florida, Hockey is a sport I know nothing about. As I watched I could not help but become a fan of these two teams. It is a sport I could not keep up with, as I watched things changed by the second, a lot like fishing. “Why does every guy have a beard?” I asked David, “for good luck” David told me. I remember watching David as he watched Boston celebrate, each player taking turns holding the trophy over their heads. The excitement, the smiles, all I could think about was how much I wanted to see David in that light, I wanted to see that smile.
David had a little over 13 pounds that day, and that was good enough to land him in second place. The top 12 were full of guys that were on the bubble for the Classic, which made it clear to us that David had to win if he was going to qualify for the Classic. That night, like the past three nights, David and I did not get much sleep. Every thirty minutes or so one of us was getting up. We would check the batteries on the boat to make sure they were still charging,or make sure the alarm is set. I even found myself crawling in the boat to open his rod box, just to make sure all his rods were still there.
The Final day – David left that morning at 5:15am to head to take off. I woke the girls up and got them dressed. They went and got their Father’s Day cards they had kept hidden all week from David. We walked down the dock towards David’s boat, bothgirls with their cards tucked under their arm. The cards surprised David. He hugged and kissed them both, I’m pretty sure Olivia told him Happy Birthday but David knew what she meant. After take off I took the girls through McDonald’s for some hot cakes. I ordered myself a breakfast burrito. Back at the camper I cut their pancakes up as fast as I could, then headed to the computer. As I waited to see anything on David, I looked through the McDonald’s bag. They did not put my burrito in there. “Maybe that was a good thing!” I thought.
The first report on David seemed to be between 9 or 10am, it said when David was asked what he had, he made a big zero with his arms over his head. Vandam already had a limit and was culling, other guys were catching them too. I took a deep breath and let it out. “I thought you were not going to look at that thing today” Lilly asked. I smiled at her and we decided to go on a bike ride. It was reported that David had 19 lbs. After high fiving the girls we soon found out David was thinking he had more like 13 lbs, his cameraguy Wes said 14 lbs. “WHAT?!?” I yelled, my phone soon begin to go off with text messages from family, friends and sponsors, they to were reading what I was reading. The girls and I made it to weigh in and it seemed to be the longest day of my life. Every possible reason he was not going to win was playing through my mind. What if he lost the winning fish, what if someone got on his spot, what if he broke down, what time was he due in, I told him 3:15 but what if it was 3:00? I stood on the dock waiting for him, 7 minutes tell 3:15 I see David run to a spot near the take off and start fishing. He does not think he has it. “He is still trying.” I thought. 3:14 I see him check in with the check in boat, seriously could he be any closer? I stayed on the dock listing to Zona show the crowd a huge fish David caught early that day but got off. I had to see David’s face, I had to tell him everything was going to be OK, he pulled up to the dock to drop Wes off before he put his boat on the trailer. David and Wes’s hands met the way guys handshake and Wes put his other hand on top of David’s “You could have this man, and I hope you do!” Wes said. I could tell in David’s face he did not think he had it. As we sat in the crowd watching angler after angler weigh in, I was numb. Is it going to come down to ounces, all I kept picturing was Toledo Bend, David was 13 ounces away from his first win. I watched him go through that pain. He threw his hat, pure emotion. What was he going to do if he lost again, I found myself looking at Mercer – he is going to throw Mercer off stage I thought. What was I going to say to him that I have not said already? VanDam weighed in he had a good bag, Shit – that was all I could think. David was next, he got on stage but not before taking a fish out of the bag to show the crowd, put the fish back in the bag and weigh them I thought. David needed 13 pounds and something to beat him. All I was thinking was David said he had around 13 but he always guesses low, Wes said 14 and I was praying for 15.
15 pounds Mercer yelled, David was more than excited as he held his arm above his head. At this time I noticed McKinnis, Wes, Mike and Angie were standing next to the stage watching with excitement. Wes mouthed to me that “David won!” I shook my head no and pointed at Roy, “one more” I mouthed back. Wes shook his head no and pointed at David, I put my head down and started crying. We have been in this spot before, so many times I watched David walk off stage with his head down when everyone thought he had it. By this time Jerry and Angie was in front of me “Misty, you and the girls have to go back stage, David won!” Angie said. I remember I kept telling Angie that it was not over yet. She and Jerry had to be thinking “what is wrong with this girl?” As Roy headed to the stage with his fish, I scooped up Olivia and grabbed my bag, “Lilly stay with me” I said. Just as we were walking by the stage, I hear the words, we have been waiting on DAVID HAS WON!! I remember screaming then I looked back at Lilly, her face was so red with excitement, both hands in the air as she screamed, I have never heard her scream like that before. We made it to the stage with David, who quickly scooped both girls up in his arms. David and I looked at each other and screamed. I then looked out at the huge crowd who braved the heat to watch the weigh in. They were clapping, fist pumping and cheering David into his first victory. I blinked as fast as I could to get the tears out of my eyes so I could see. I believe I looked at every single person out there. Then I see Jerry, Wes, Mike and Angie clapping for David – what a moment I thought. I may be wrong but I swear the J & M trailer was rocking too.
I look back at David, there’s that smile I thought. I could not be any prouder of him!
April 11, 2011
We made it to Pickwick Lake for the third stop of the Bassmaster Elite Tournament. Lilly was approved to miss two weeks of school, so we loaded up our fifth wheel and hit the road. This is our first trip in our new camper, and so far everything has gone perfectly smooth!
We camped at Mcfarland Park, the same place the tournament weigh in was held. We were close enough to the lake that we could watch the tournament boats run by each day. McFarland Park is a great place to camp at, it has spots for every type of camper.
Lilly, Olivia & I got to go watch take off each morning, Lilly could not help herself when David’s name was called – she would yell out a big “Go Daddy”. Olivia was in my arms and waved to David as he idled by, David had a big smile on his face and waved back to the girls, they were so excited! On tournament days we stay busy, Olivia will usually take a nap since we have to wake her up early to go to blast off. That gives Lilly & I time to catch up on school work. There is also plenty of time each day we spend at the campground park.
On thing I find funny is that the girls love to wash the dishes in the camper. Lilly washes and Olivia rinses, I do the drying and putting away. Our new fifth wheel has great storage, I actually have cabinets I have not filled! David loves the storage outside, there is plenty of room for our normal camping stuff and all his tackle. One of my favorite things about this camper is that it has a washer and dryer! Now I know there are a lot of campers you can add a washer and dryer too but we purchased this one with one already installed. I always thought I would not use it, for lots of reasons. Would they actually work, how long would the dryer take, when would it stop working and just the space it would take up. I am so surprised of how much I have used this washer and dryer, I love it!! The girls are going through clothes, it seems like every time they get dressed they spill something on themselves. It is very quite, David and I actually went to sleep the other night and I had a load in the washer and a load in the dryer “which says a lot – I am a lite sleeper”. So excited to have a washer and dryer!!
March 6, 2011
David and I have been busy getting everything ready for the 2011 season, which will kick off this week in Florida. We did manage to head to New Orleans (minus our girls) for the Bassmaster Classic a few weeks ago. Being at the Classic always brings back memories from when David finished third, two years in a row. The excitement was indescribable and knowing how much David wants to be back on that stage – having a chance at a Classic title, makes me cheer for him even louder.
Lilly and Olivia are looking forward to Spring, we are so glad this crazy winter is almost over. Our tulips are starting to come up, our Peach tree and Bradford Pear trees are starting to bloom and there are a lot more birds hanging around the bird feeder! Lilly and Olivia love being outside, just like their Dad, so the signs of Spring are welcoming. Lilly has been working hard in school and it shows, she just got her report card and she did great. Only a few months left of second grade then she will be a third grader!
I wish Lilly, Olivia and I were able to be with David this week for his first Elite tournament. Even though David has fished tournaments for 14 years, this will be his first Elite tournament. It is still a tournament where he will compete against other anglers for the first place prize, on the hunt for the best five bass he can catch each day. Every bass he catches could move him up the leader board and every bass he losses will only bring him down. He has to be smarter, confident and believe in himself. This is where he wanted to be, this is what he worked so hard on last year to qualify for. No more co-anglers, no more clipboards – this is the Elites, this is where the names in bass fishing are made and this is where he belongs.
Good Luck David – Lilly, Olivia & I will be cheering you on, we believe in you!!
January 31, 2011
Welcome back to my blog!
We are in Florida for David’s tournament on Okeechobee this week. Lilly and Olivia love going to tournaments, they are David’s biggest cheerleaders!! We are not camping this time, my parents live close enough we can stay with them. It is great to spend time with my family, I come from a very close family so when we get together we have a great time. The weather is great here, Lilly has been spending a lot of time in my parents pool and Olivia is having a blast playing outside.
We celebrated Olivia’s third Birthday on Saturday, she loves Tom & Jerry so my sister made her a Tom & Jerry cake – she loved it. Olivia and Lilly had a blast having a dance off on the Wii with their cousins – Ashleigh and Jeffrey. It is hard to believe Olivia is three, it seems like it was not long ago that we had her! Having two girls is wonderful, they e my best friends. Lilly and Olivia keep me on my toes and always keeps me laughing!!
December 22, 2010
The count down is on, Lilly and Olivia are very excited that Santa will be here soon! Lilly asked Santa what kind of cookies he wanted her to leave out this year and he told her Chocolate Chip, so Thursday night we are going to make a special batch just for him!! David and I just started (and finished) our Christmas shopping this past weekend. We usually have it done in October, but David has been extra busy this year and I became sick and had to have surgery so the first couple weeks of December we lost.
The weather has been anything but normal here, Lilly already has had 7 snow days, that does not leave many left. Lilly & Olivia were both very excited to wake up to snow, David took them on a sled ride, which they loved! Olivia lasted longer then I thought she would, Lilly on the other hand would stay out all day and play in the snow if we let her.
We all have been very busy in the kitchen baking. Every year we make Peppermint Bark, that is something so simple to make and the girls love breaking it in to bite size pieces when it is done. We made something new this year, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies – which turned out better then I thought they would. And of course the girls decorated their own Ginger Bread House, they did a great job and loved putting candy all over it!
I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!!
November 21, 2010
2010 is almost over, man did it fly by this year. We had a great Halloween, the girls had a wonderful time going Trick or Treating and got way to much candy. Lilly was a Peacock and Olivia was a Tiger, the girls picked out their own Halloween costumes this year and I think they did a great job.
We are spending Thanksgiving in Florida at my parents house this year, it will be great to have the whole family together. The girls are looking forward to swimming every day, David is looking forward to doing a little salt water fishing and I am just looking forward to some warmer weather!
I just got our Christmas cards and they turned out great, I can not wait to share them with our Family & Friends. David and I still have all of our Christmas shopping to do, we usually have it done and wrapped in October but this year has been so busy. Good thing David and I already know what we are getting our girls!
We took Lilly and Olivia to see Santa a couple weeks ago, Lilly talked his ear off and Olivia – well Olivia was not to sure of him, he made her cry. Next year she will like Old St. Nick!