Monday, June 19, 2006

Fishing with Dad

After a weekend filled with all things 'Father's Day" and not getting to see my own, I was taken back to a really fond memory of my Dad I would like to share with you.

As far back as I can remember I have been interested in fishing. I got my first fishing pole from my Grandpa at age 6 or 7. The whole two hour ride home I bugged my dad for all the fishing information he could give me. I think I was annoying him, because as soon as we got home, he went out to his shop and found a heavy metal washer. He tied it to the end of my fishing line and taught me how to cast. In hindsight, I realize he did this for two reasons. One, he knew casting that line would keep me busy for hours. And two, he could never be accused of not encouraging my fishing hobby. I say the second thing because, from that day till this, that casting lesson was one of only two fishing experiences I ever shared with my Dad.

Even though my Dad was a great father and fun guy, he has never been interested in what I was interested in. My Dad grew up in the 'burbs and I'm sure was the inspiration for the term "City Slicker." He was and is talented in so many areas, but has never really been what you would call an outdoors-person. His walk out to his shop was the most he ever hiked. And one of his favorite responses to my fishing requests was "If I wanted to go fishing I'd go to the grocery store and buy some fish-sticks!" He claims to like small-game hunting, but in my 31 years on this planet he has never stepped one foot into the woods to "bring home some meat." He bought us a tent when we were kids, but not once did we ever do any camping that didn't involve a cabin with electricity. And those times I can count on one hand.

So imagine my surprise one summer day when I was 15, that Dad asked me to grab all my fishing stuff 'cause we were "going fishing!" He owned nothing for fishing besides his trusty fishstick-silverware, so I packed 3 or 4 poles, all the lures and tackle I owned, and some high hopes to show Dad a good time. We headed to a lake I had never fished, bought some nightcrawlers, and rented a rowboat. Now I would have been fine fishing from the shore or from a pier, but if Dad wanted the whole experience I was going to give it to him. We pushed off from shore and were soon stranded on what the locals called a floating island. After a few minutes of struggling, we got away and headed to what promised to be a great day. I taught my dad how to correctly hook a worm, how to side-cast, how to tie some knots, and so much more. It didn't matter that we weren't getting any nibbles, we were having fun.

As we rowed to a new spot I grabbed a new rod & reel I had just got as a present. I sent a beautiful cast out into the water and promptly got a snag. As any good fishermen knows, there are right ways and wrong ways to undo a snag. My dad assured me he knew one of those right ways. As he pulled and stretched, my line only got more stuck. As I was just about to ask him to cut the line, he gave the pole a sharp pull with the pole straight up and down. As the rod slipped from his hand and shot straight down into the deep blue of the lake, all we could do was glance at each other and erupt into laughter. Over the course of the next few hours, involving some from shore after we almost tipped the boat one too many times, we successfully lost every lure I owned, 2 dozen earthworms, a dozen minnows, a whole role of fishing line, and a $20 bill that fell out my dad's pocket. And through all of that, we had only two bites on our lines, and caught a grand total of zero fish.

When we look back on that day now, my Dad, in a gruff voice, reminds me that that is why he doesn't fish. But then he smiles and we laugh about the one crazy day we went fishing together. My Dad may not have been interested then or now, in many of my interests, but he supported me in all of them. Not in time or money, but in allowing me to try the hobbies I wanted to try. And when I succeeded in them, he was always the first to congratulate me and say he was proud of me. If I haven't mentioned it before, I have a great Dad!


Blogger Kimmy said...

Your dad sounds really great. I think it is so important that parents support the interests of their children.

Thanks for sharing!

3:22 PM  

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