Posted June 18, 2015 by jimhigley
I never learned how to fish as a kid. Never. Nada. Zippo.
The closest I came to experiencing the thrill of catching a big one was annually – at my grade school’s fundraiser – where I’d pay 25 cents to cast a line over a plywood wall and wait for someone to clip a small brown paper bag to the end of it.
They’d give my line a little “tug” to let me know I caught something. And I’d pull my catch – a cheap plastic toy insider the brown paper bag – back over the makeshift wall.
That – sadly – was my version of childhood fishing.
Thank goodness for our children because they often provide us parents the opportunity to experience some of our own lost childhood moments, right?
“Can we go fishing, Dad?”
I knew that request would eventually come from the mouths of one of my children. We lived more in the country than in the city. And we were surrounded by lakes.
I was absolutely game to take on the adventure – in spite of not having a clue how the whole fishing process works.
Thank goodness for the grandfatherly-type guy who worked at our local sports store. I walked in empty handed. And left with my arms full memories waiting to be made. Fishing poles. Bait. And a tackle box full of bobbers and fake worms. I took it all in. Hook, line and sinker.
Crash course in tying hooks? Check.
A dissertation on bait? Check.
The idea of lazy summer time with the kids was irresistible. But there was just one problem: the thought of touching a living, flopping fish made me squirm. A secret I had never told a soul. Including my family.
So off we went. The boys and me. To a nearby lake.
And within 15 minutes – we had action. Much to my pleasure. And great fear. My youngest was the one who reeled him in. What took 30 seconds seemed like an hour. My son. A Master Angler.
With me – staring face-to-face with one of my queasy fears in life: A slimy fish.
It was a stare down.
And for me what I knew to be a defining “Dad” moment.
I felt the hand touch my shoulder from behind.
“I got it, Dad.”
It was my oldest son.
“I’ll get the fish off.”
Which he did. Masterfully. And then he proceeded to hold it next to his little brother so I could take the obligatory photo.
Walking home, my oldest son had a question.
“Why don’t you like the touch of fish, Dad?”
“Um, I never said I didn’t like that. Why do you ask?”
“You’re my dad. I don’t need words to know what I know.”
This memory is part of a series of stories I’m sharing during the months of May and June – highlighting the importance of connecting with our children. These memories are brought to you by the wonderful folks at Kimberly-Clark who have compensated me for my writing. All opinions are my own.