Happy Father's Day!
While my father passed away several years ago, I treasure my memories of him. I don't normally post about very personal stuff on here, but today I'll share a memory of my father with you. Maybe someone out there can relate and share a story about their father, too? If you're a father, it'd be great to hear your insights on what that's like, too.
On weekends, when I was a kid, Pop and I would go do a lot of fun stuff together, like paddle boating on the lake, or badminton in the park. We'd play frisbee, go to the movies, or go to the carnival when it would come to town. One of the things I really wanted when I was about 8 years old was to learn how to fish. I thought that would be a perfect thing for Pop to teach me. He agreed that we would go.
One weekend, we went out and bought the tackle and bait, nothing fancy. I had my eye on some fancy shiny fishing rods, but he said bamboo rods would do just fine. They didn't seem too reliable to me, but that's what we got. He drove us to the lake and parked right in front of a sign that said:
I was so disappointed.
"We'll try next weekend", he said.
This went on for several weekends until exasperated, I finally said, "Aren't there any lakes around here that allow fishing?" He shrugged. "That's the way it goes. Hey! Let's go to the movies!"
I'm pretty sure I gave him the stink eye.
Years later, when I was well into adulthood, he confessed to me that he deliberately took me to lakes where there was no fishing allowed.
"Why on EARTH would you do that?" I asked.
"I just knew you would freak out when we had to put a worm on a hook. You were a very sensitive child."
When he told me this, I had to laugh, because he was probably right that I would not have liked to put worms on hooks, not to mention what would happen if I had to take a fish off a hook. When I was 4 years old I freaked out when I accidentally broke a pill bug in half and cried for hours about killing it. Even when I was 12 I ruined a holiday dinner when I saw my mother about to put a live lobster in a pot of boiling water. I was a pretty sensitive child, and I'm still a bit sensitive now.
When I told a friend about this fishing story, she was shocked and thought it was cruel that he took me to lake after lake, deliberately thwarting my desire to go fishing. I hadn't really thought about it that way, but I wonder about it sometimes. Was it cruel, even though that was probably not the intention? Did it re-enforce an idea of who I was that might not have been true? That I was someone who was limited in some way because I was "sensitive"? Did it prevent me from a stage of personal growth? Or was it really just meant to protect me from the horror of baiting a hook and also maybe spare him from having to console an inconsolable daughter for an entire Saturday?
There were lots of other things my father said no to when I was a kid, like para-gliding ("We used to do that in Basic Training! You'll kill yourself!"), or driving the rental car on vacation ("You're not listed as a driver and it will void the insurance if we get in an accident."), so why didn't he just say no when I wanted to go fishing?
I guess I'll never know, since I pretty much forgave the whole thing as soon as he told me about it. I didn't think much of questioning him further. By the time the conversation with my friend happened, he had already been gone a few years. It's not really correct to assume why he might have concocted this elaborate ruse, but I can't help but think that when it came down to it, he probably didn't really want to have to bait a hook or pull a struggling fish out of a lake himself. Maybe it bothered him and he didn't want to admit it. Whatever his reasons, when I think back on his confession it tells me now that "the great fishing deception" of my childhood didn't sit right with him for many years and he needed to let me know what had really happened. So for that, I'm grateful.
Love ya, Pop.
Happy Father's Day.
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Have a great day!
"Creative Flow" Illustration ©Michelle Bocklage shown left