When I was a little girl, my father had a Rambler wagon. It was light teal blue with a white top, and I remember the coolness of the vinyl seats on summer days when he drove us to the creek. Dad would fish and I would swim in the clear, shallow waters upstream from him. I can still see his hands tying his hook onto his fishing line and him trying to quell my fear of earthworms as he stabbed one with the business end.
A warm summer afternoon listening to the bugs and the birds was broken up by the plunk of his line into the water, but from all of the afternoons he went fishing, I don’t recall him ever bringing in a big haul. Nor do I remember any tall fish tales or him teaching me how to fish, per se.
A little girl not so interested in worms or fish, I would get bored and the pestering would commence. I once asked him why he would go fishing if he didn’t catch any fish, when occasional perch or sunfish — never big enough to keep — didn’t bite. His answer was: It was more about the thinking you can do, than the fishing. Smart man, now that I think about it.
In today’s fast-paced world of distractions and devices that will connect you with the other side of the planet in less than 30 seconds, it’s hard to slow down. Life, it seems, marches at a breakneck pace. Farmers know this well. This time of year, they might have to decide whether to get beans in the ground or go fishing. Unfortunately, when you’re waiting for a good day of weather, the beans usually win. But, up in the tractor, much like on the creek bank, it’s a good place to think.
Certainly, there are many details I don’t recall about the fishing trips with Dad. In fact, trying to pull together my memories about some of the finer details was challenging when I sat down to write this. But, the wisdom conveyed on that rural Missouri creek bank is very clear, just like the water below: Patience, courage and simple pleasures are all good things; enjoy them when you have the chance.
This Father’s Day, I think I might find a creek bank.