My dad passed away 26 years ago, and a lot of my memories of him have faded. But I will always remember and cherish the times that he took me fishing.
I started going on Sunday afternoon fishing trips with him when I was a little tiny thing, perhaps 6 or 7 years old. He taught me the names of the different types of fish that I caught. Bluegills were the most common and the easiest to pull in. I never was brave enough to put a slimy worm on the hook. Through trial and error, he realized that I would put little minnows on the hooks myself. (Sorry, but worms are too creepy for me to touch!) Once, I accidentally jerked my pole while he was putting a worm on the hook. Wouldn’t you know it, that hook went right into his hand! I was mortified by my carelessness. I apologized profusely during the drive to the emergency room, and was so grateful that he didn’t yell at me.
When we got home from fishing, I would stay in the kitchen to watch him clean the fish. Mom would leave the room for that endeavor because it always grossed her out. We would always have a good feast at dinner after the filets were breaded and fried.
A kid learns a bit of patience when they are taught to fish. You have to wait, sometimes for quite a while, until the red and white plastic bobber lets you know that you got a nibble on the end of the line. But while waiting, you get to notice the beautiful landscape and the multitude of nature sounds around the fishing hole. To this day, when I hear a bobwhite, I think of those fishing days so long ago that I spent with my dad. Thank you, Dad, for the lessons in patience and these fond memories.