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Sweet Memories


My father loved fishing.  He fished as a young farmboy, catching "bullheads" to help feed their depression-era family, he fished in the 84th year of his life just months before he passed to the spirit world, and he fished every year in between. 

When I was growing up he would often come home weary from a long day of work at the farm implement business he owned, eat a quick supper, and then toss his fishing tackle in the back of the truck and head to one of the nearby lakes for a little fishing before the sun went down. He didn't have any sons, so I was his ever eager and willing fishing buddy, going along more for the ride and to spend time with him than to participate in fishing itself.  We didn't have deep conversations, for the most part we sat quietly on the shore waiting for the bobbers to jiggle and signal fish on our lines. We didn't catch a lot of fish, and were happy if we caught any, but I think he went more for the relaxation than the fish.  On the way to the lake we always stopped at a little bait store for minnows, and he always bought each of us a candy bar, him choosing a Salted Nut Roll (which is now called a Payday) everytime.  Every now and then I buy one, think of him, and smile.

Dad loved going on fishing trips with his friends,  both on the Missouri River that divided our state, and in the wilds of Canada up north. We have old home movies of some his Canada fishing trips - precious keepsakes now.

When I was in high school Dad bought a little cabin on one of the lakes, and a boat we could keep in the boathouse for weekend fishing. I remember one evening he and I went up to the cabin for an overnight and he cooked the walleyes we'd caught as soon as we got back to shore, some of the best fish I've ever eaten.

When John and I flew home for my Dad's funeral two years ago, my sisters and I were going thru a few of his things, talking about what we would do with them. No one showed any interest in the fishing gear, so John asked if he could have it, and Dad's tackle box returned home with us on the airplane. 

John is headed out on a fishing trip for a few days the week after next and is getting his fishing gear together.  Today he sat with Dad's tacklebox, going thru the many old and new lures, line, and an assortment of handtied flies that I remember Dad showing me proudly in later years. It brought back memories of how fascinated I was when young by all those beautifully colored and designed lures.  Looking thru the box, I realized the last hands sorting thru the various compartments had been my father's, and it brought tears to my eyes. I chose one lure from the box to keep for my own, and some of them will go along with John on his fishing trip. I know my Dad will be smiling from heaven, and I'm thinking those lures just might bring John good luck.  I think I'm going to send a couple of them off to my son in Tennessee too, he mentioned just last week that he was planning to go fishing soon.

Following my Dad's funeral on a bitterly cold day in January, we drove past the lake where he most loved to fish, knowing I would likely never pass this way again in my lifetime.  Stopping briefly alongside the deep layer of ice covering the lake, I placed a rose from the spray on Dad's casket on the wind blown snow in his memory and in acknowledgement of how special this place was to him.

Thank you Dad for those good memories... I miss you!

 

16 comments:

  1. I am sure O.C. and I will catch alot of fish with his lures. I know he will be there with me.
    I love you Darlin.

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    1. There's nothin better thanan ole lure! Except one with memories!!!

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    2. Thank you my beloved Papa Bear, it warms my heart to see you putting my Dad's things to good use, he liked you so much and I know he's going to be watching over you!

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    3. Absolutely right about that Soul, there's gotta be a little special magic in Dad's old lures!

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  2. My Da loved to fish as well. I would sometimes go with him and he was insistent that I learn how to clean and gut a fish too.

    So, he was showing me how to carefully slice open the belly and slide one finger in to open it up and this fish seemed unusually fat. Well, suffice it to say that before he could slide his finger in to "open it up" the fish belly puffed open and it was filled with squirming, very alive worms. I silently threw up in the sand next to us and NEVER cleaned a fish again!

    Your memories sound um....so much nicer!

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    1. Ugh Maria, definitely not an experience I would want to have! That would have ended it for me too! :-)

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  3. Are you trying to make a grown man cry?

    I am so glad you have those great memories of your dad. Memories are how we keep them alive when they've long since passed.

    Excellent post. And wish John well for me on his trip.

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  4. Looking thru those old lures made me cry, Monkey, and that's something I rarely do. John's dad died when he was three years old, so I realize how blessed I am to have those memories to cherish. I hope that the Papa Bear has a great time fishing... and that's a bit more blogging time for me! :-) But I do hate those long nights alone. Sadly, duty calls and there will be no vacations from work for Josie 'til I've worked at my new job a year. Now that really makes me cry!

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    1. Oh, that sucks. I'd cry for that too. My vacations don't reset until May and it's driving me nuts.

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    2. John would much rather have me going with him, and I would so love to go, but he really needs the break from work and I encourage him to use his vacation time. The good thing for me is that at least I get two weeks after I've been there a year in January, with most jobs you only get a week after a year. I'm already making plans in my head on how to use that time!

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    1. Thank you McGuffy, it was one of those heart-squeezing moments that just had to be shared.

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  6. Aww you made me cry with this! So far the posts I've read today have all been of a tender nature - and I'm just all worked up!

    Thank you for sharing these sweet memories with us. I love how your Papa Bear is keeping the tradition alive - and it was beautiful to read how you left the rose at your father's favourite lake.

    Don't be lonely while Papa Bear is out fishing! Just keep posting and I'm sure we'll all be here to say hello!

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    1. It is only a bit sad because I miss him, Bozo, and I miss those far simpler times of childhood too, but I am happy that I have the memories to keep, and that John enjoys many of the same things as my father. I will happily blogging away in his absence next week, but still I will miss him greatly in the big bed all alone.

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    2. What a great memory to hold dear to your heart and now to share with your husband and your son. Those are the best kind, the ones that are tangible in some way and can be passed along through the family and relived through tales around the table along with new memories.

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    3. That is so true L, I have many fishing stories regarding my father, and sharing them with my sisters and family always brings smiles and laughter. I hope when I leave this world my children will have equally good memories to remember me by. It is good that we tend to let go of the bad and remember what was special to us.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)