How to choose: Fishing opener or Mother’s Day?

| May 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Kalley Yanta of Holy Family in St. Louis Park received a unique Mother’s Day present from her husband, Jon — the billboard behind her that he had put up on University Avenue. The billboard advertises a pro-life video she posted on YouTube that she hopes pregnant women considering abortion will see. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

To fish. Or not to fish. That is the question at least a few men will be asking themselves concerning Saturday’s fishing opener.

And, the answer to that question may not hinge on weather forecasts or hunches about a walleye’s appetite. For men devoted to their wives, they will have this important fact to consider when weighing their angling options: Sunday is Mother’s Day.

Like most years, it falls on the weekend of the fishing opener. So, at least a few men will be torn as they ponder these two choices — wet a line or pamper their wife.

Making the right call

There are a select few guys whose wives love to fish and are happy to celebrate Mother’s Day in a boat.

The rest of us have to agonize over what to do. I have wrestled with the issue myself over the years, with one compromise being that I fish on Saturday, then come home Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day with my wife.

More recently, I have abandoned the opener and chosen to fish later in May or June. But that hasn’t gotten me off the hook because one of the reasons I did so was to go turkey hunting, another spring ritual for a lot of men (and, some women, too).

Several times in recent years, my turkey season has taken place over Mother’s Day. The most I have done is hunt for a few hours in the morning, then come home. The one exception came about eight years ago, and it did not end well.

When you call your wife on the way home around dinner time, and you hear crying on the other end, you know you’ve really blown it. And, you tell yourself that this must never happen again.

But is there a constructive way to navigate this conflict?

I think so.  Some informal research helped me come up with some tips. Perhaps the easiest one is to celebrate the event on a different day, preferably before Mother’s Day.

And, if you can give your wife a nice gift, so much the better.

Early present this year

One of the best examples of this I’ve ever seen happened before the month of April even ended this year. On the last Friday of the month, I met Kalley Yanta of Holy Family in St. Louis Park in a parking lot on University Avenue, where she showed me the early Mother’s Day gift she received from her husband, Jon.

This mother of six has dealt with the fishing-hunting-Mother’s Day issue for more than a decade, though more related to Jon’s passion for bow hunting than his fishing habits.

The fishing opener is not an issue for the Yantas, who live on a lake and don’t need to travel to make a cast. Bow hunting, however, is another matter.

“If hunting opener came up on Mother’s Day, that would be a shoo-in for a few arguments,” she said.

But, these days, it’s all good between Kalley and Jon — thanks to the large billboard he had erected April 15 on University Avenue, just around the corner from Planned Parenthood’s new facility. It advertises a pro-life video she made called URWORTHIT, which she hopes women will see, especially pregnant women contemplating abortion.

The smile on her face as she stands in front of the billboard and poses for a picture makes it clear that Jon hit a home run on this one. However, Kalley made it clear that spending $2,000 on a billboard is not necessary for keeping the peace in a fishing household on Mother’s Day.

“I think a nice compromise would be to go fishing every other year on the opener and be with your family the alternate years,” she said. “My husband has had to do that with hunting when I had a baby in the fall.”

Also adding a tip or two was Father Robert Grabner, assistant priest at Holy Trinity and St. Augustine in South St. Paul. He was there with Kalley in front of the billboard on April 27 to bless it, along with Franciscan Brother of Peace Pio King.

“The one word that comes to mind is to negotiate in advance,” he said. “If a man is going to fish on Mother’s Day, that’s where the negotiation in advance comes in. There has to be some compensation for being gone on Mother’s Day. Certainly, a billboard would be a quintessential form of compensation. Or, perhaps, a night out at a fancy restaurant with the wife and/or a special day with the family.”

Best yet to come

I’m sure Jon Yanta’s extraordinary gift to Kalley bought him a few extra days in the woods this fall with his bow. But Kalley has learned to see the value of his time enjoying nature, beyond what payback she may receive.

And, she offers that lesson to all of those “fishing widows” out there.

“Understand that your husband needs this outlet,” she said. “And, if he’s anything like my husband, he’ll come back refreshed and ready to be a better husband and dad.”

Actually, as much as she likes looking at the billboard, Kalley — being the passionate pro-life activist that she is — is hoping her best gift is yet to come.

“My greatest hope with this billboard,” she said, “is that at least a few of the women heading around the corner to Planned Parenthood will see it, watch the [YouTube] video and high-tail it away from that killing center so that they can celebrate Mother’s Day for years and years to come with great joy.”

I think that is something all Catholic anglers can agree on — a life saved is worth all of the walleyes we could ever catch.

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Category: The Outdoors