I have a new picture on the background of my computer. The picture is of my oldest daughter and it was taken during my father’s day gift on father’s day. She is the oldest of my small tribe. Being the oldest, of course she is a good leader, thus she planned this little affair. This day was a throw back down memory lane and it was almost perfect.
My son brought the boat for this scheduled day of fishing. We didn’t start early and almost nixed the trip because of the rain but we were all there and all managed to find some sort of rain gear. So, off we went to the local lake for a day of fishing. My niece took the place of my youngest daughter and I have a great picture of her getting fish slime splatter across her face. Imagine being slimed with delight. Only fishing can do that.
Today was trout fishing but in days past when the kidlets were small it was usually perch or bass, both which are in abundance. When little ones are in the boat one is wise to find a way to keep the action steady and regular. Perch usually are more than happy to fit the bill by literally jumping onto the hooks.
A couple of traditions were developed during those early years of fishing excursions. But first let me back up for just one moment and run down memory lane to the first time I took my kids fishing. This trip of course included only my oldest daughter, you see the other two had not yet been thought of, let alone conceived. It was me and my friend Al and of course B at the age of 18 months maybe 24 months. I don’t really remember, it was over 20 years ago. You don’t really expect me to remember everything do you?
Across the railroad tracks Al and I carried the boat. The gear came across next and then B donned in her tiny orange life preserver along with her blue blankie. I am pretty sure she had her thumb in her mouth and it was always best if it was her left thumb. B is left handed. For the first hour she was excited leaning over the edge while I had a hold of the back of her life preserver. She was unable to reach the water without falling in but her little hand splashed the water back and forth as I held her tight. It wasn’t that long before the newness had worn off and B was asleep on the floor of the 10 ft Livingston. Thumb in mouth, a firm grip on her blanket with it pressed tight to her cheek, B slept. Al and I fished for several hours catching true cod and bringing home a mess of fish for fish and chips.
The trip turned out to be a bit hard on little B. It might have had something to do with her thumb sucking and the polluted water in Puget Sound, we were anchored about 200 yards off the local treatment plant, which I can’t believe I did. The fishing was always good there but seriously what was I thinking?
I could give you the play by play results of the aftermath, but I will just leave it with, I had to clean up more than B. It was a definite mistake to leave B naked unattended in the bathroom while I ran for clean clothes. All I can say I am glad we did not have carpet on the bathroom floor and that the door was painted with a strong enamel based paint.
This transition is going to be a bit tough so I am not even going to try for grace or smoothness. A tradition we developed on our fishing trips regardless of how good and healthy a lunch my sweet wife had packed for us was to stop at the local mini mart and I would pick up a box of those nasty mini chocolate Hostess donuts – yum.
So here we are on the lake fishing, on Father’s Day now 20 plus years later and B pulled out a box of mini-chocolate Hostess donuts. We passed them around and everyone partook of a traditional rite of passage. I got to bait hooks for my niece and daughter, just like old times. My son drove the boat and I did my best biting my tongue more than once because I kept forgetting I was in the presence of adults not children. Once I totally forgot my daughter was completely grown and as I jumped across the seat to help her with her fishing pole. My son laughed at me which of course made it all feel normal. My niece caught her first trout, B caught two rainbows, and my son and I were skunked. I forgot to ask him how it felt to be the captain and fulfill the duly appropriate honor of getting skunked, which is par for the course when insuring all his guest’s lines are not tangled. It felt wrong being the one cared for but the chocolate donuts tasted right and made it all seem normal.
That was a great father’s day present! Thanks all you little Quills.