In terms of weather, the absolute, most perfect day of the summer happened to arrive on Tommy Tho-mpson's 86th birthday. That was last Monday, and Thompson and friends knew how to enjoy it.
After a lunch at Melvin's on the Lake in Spicer, Thompson and friends boarded a pontoon boat and enjoyed the sparkling sunshine and scenery as they cruised along the shoreline of Green Lake.
They were guests of the Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing.
What attracted Thompson and his friends to Let's Go Fishing was easy to explain.
"Getting out, and doing some of the things they've done in the past,'' said Tammy Moll, activities director at Sunnyview Assisted Living, Atwater.
Moll accompanied Thompson and his friend `Ole' Hovey, 82, both residents of Sunnyview, and their friend Glen Grahn, 86, a participant in the Atwater Block Nurse program.
The three have always enjoyed getting on the water, and Let's Go Fishing continues to make it possible for them and many others to continue to do so, noted Moll.
"A gorgeous day,'' said Roger Benson as he welcomed the guests.
This cruise was like many he and fellow volunteer Ray Oie have led this summer but for one thing. There were a few empty seats on the pontoon. Four female guests from Atwater were unable to join the cruise as they had hoped. Thanks to volunteers and financial support from many, the Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing keeps two pontoon boats on the go through the summer, their seats almost invariably filled with smiling guests.
Let's Go Fishing's mission is to give back to seniors, and doesn't charge its guests a fee.
Benson said the local chapter set a record last year by hosting some 1,500 guests through the season.
This year, it is on track to count upwards of 1,800 guests, he said.
That's despite the fact that perfect, summer days were not so easy to come by this year. The wet, and stormy weather of June was followed by extremely humid days in July, which forced the cancellation of a number of planned outings for seniors, he pointed out.
Many of those guests come for the chance to tangle with fish, and Oie and Benson love nothing more than stalking the finned prey with the diligence of bloodhounds on the trail.
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