When I was a young boy, my father loved to go fishing. As such he often took us boys along with him. On many occasions we all went together and would spend the weekend fishing somewhere. I think my dad probably spent much more time untangling our fishing poles than ever fishing himself, yet this time with my dad created some wonderful memories. Each year my dad would take us one on one fishing, most often leaving work early and spending an entire afternoon, late into the evening together fishing.
One such trip I remember was fishing along the Weber river. I must have been about ten at the time. I was so excited to spend time alone with my dad, just the two of us. My mom packed us a dinner, tuna sandwiches and creme soda. My dad loved creme soda! I don’t remember much what we talked about on that trip as we drove just over an hour to reach our destination. What I do remember is the time with my dad in the car, just the two of us. I got to sit up in the front seat with him and I am certain, that my like my children with me, I talked his ear off. The images of that ride in the car with my dad are burned into my mind, I can still see me sitting in that car and the wonderful moment in time that we had alone. With 6 boys in the family, that didn’t happen often but I remember the moments in time when it did. They left a forever footprint on my impressionable mind.
I don’t recall catching many fish that day. What I do remember is walking along the shoreline of the river as we fished up and down the banks. I am certain that i tangled my pole in the trees more than once and snagged the line on the branches floating along the banks. My dad was out a ways in the river fishing, his hip waders keeping him dry as he fished.
As darkness began setting in that night, I tripped over a rock and splashed into the frigid river. My dad quickly at my side, he helped me back up and over to the shore. Our night of fishing would be over, the wet clothes and the cool autumn wind made for a rather cold little boy, shivering to stay warm, yet unwilling to complain. My dad knew how cold I was and helped me along the shoreline towards the parked car.
I remember extremely well the long ride home that night. With no clothes to change into and no blanket to keep me warm, I sat in the front seat in my underwear shivering as the heater from the car warmed up to keep me warm. While I was very cold, my father on the other hand, not being wet was extremely hot with the heater on. As the sweat beaded on his forehead as we drove down the freeway he kept talking with me and asking me if I was warm enough and how I was doing.
As a ten year old little boy i truly never understood the magnitude of his actions. As a grown man, I understand deeply the magnitude of the unselfishness exhibited by my loving father that night. My dad’s own personal childhood, filled with abuse and sorrow created a difficulty for him to tell us he loved us, his actions always told us of his love as he always placed his family first. This was truly evident that night as a loving father helped carry his young cold and wet son along a darkened riverbank in hip waders ending his night of fishing early and then driving in a car too hot for him to bear to keep his son warm.
Love is best expressed through actions, not words. My father showed this that night and many many others. I pray that I can be half the man he was, that my legacy with my children will be one of love through actions and deeds.
(The picture is of my 11 year old son on our last fishing trip)