I wanted to write a little something in honor of Father’s Day. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone very special to be a DADDY! I have always been a daddy’s girl and treasure the fact that I still get to enjoy spending time with my dad! I am so proud of my dad, for being a great family man and professionally a great teacher and coach! How many folks do you know that are brave enough to teach teenagers to drive year after year? I want to thank my dad for so many things but for now we will talk about how he introduced me to fishing and hunting and the outdoors!
Before I can remember I was along in the boat, I know this because I have heard the stories! I apparently enjoyed sitting in the bottom of the boat and playing with the minnows! We spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s cottage fishing, swimming, and playing in the woods. While a lot of these memories are vague to me I do get a pleasant feeling with the things I can recall and the pictures I’ve seen! Smoking bullheads in the old fridge was one of the cottage activities that everyone remembers! I even have faint recollections of “helping” shovel the roof in the winter and jumping off into the snow banks!
During the winter there was ice fishing and the importance of bread bags! If you put a bread bag in between the liner of your boot and the outer shell it helped keep the water out when your feet are small enough to fit in the drilled holes and have a tendency to not look where you’re going! While Dad was great athlete too, I guess I didn’t inherit that gene! I was often referred to as “an accident waiting to happen”!
We never went to Disney World or took a cruise for a vacation. We went camping! Every get-a-way was like this. Learning not to run by the fire, thanks Uncle Jim for grabbing me by the pants as I headed straight into the pit! Learning to fish! Watching and learning how to cook on the fire! I realize now the lessons I learned that could have never been taught at Disney World!
Dad has been a hunter forever! I recall helping him hang his deer and back then there was always game to be had! It was just assumed that he would bring home a prize! I went through a spell when I thought hunting was cruel. I remember my dad wanting to teach me an entirely different side to hunting. He searched through his old hunting magazines until he found the article he wanted me to read. Dad is a quiet man and was never one to get into an argument but always finds a way to get his point across. He did just that! This article opened my eyes to the conservation side of hunting. It was about a community that outlawed hunting deer. It truly showed how cruel nature is without the help of herd control! I wish I could remember the name of the article but I can’t. There were photos and it truly changed my view! I still wasn’t sure if I could actually do it but I completely understood then that hunters were the good guys!
Dad never pushed anything. If you wanted to try something you could but he never forced me to try hunting. I learned to shoot the BB gun and loved fishing! I loved to listen to all the hunting stories! When I decided to finally give hunting a try in my adulthood I think he felt some pride, I hope so, that he had taught me well! Like I said earlier, Dad is a pretty quiet guy, so he doesn’t say much but I think I can see and feel the pride he has that I have chosen to get more involved in so many outdoor activities. I still love the stories and he has a ton of them!
As folks get older the outdoors can get a little harder to enjoy the way they used to. It makes me sad that Dad can’t just head out there like he did for so long. Don’t get me wrong, he still gets out just not like before! I am, however, thrilled when he takes us fishing in his boat and we can help make things a little easier! When we go hunting together or help him get set up for an afternoon sit in the blind I am absolutely delighted that he’s doing something that has always been a huge part of his life. I can see how excited he is when I have a successful full tag! I positively love seeing that light in his eye! I think he is more excited for me than he is for himself; the funny thing is I feel the same way for him! I remember a bow season when he got one and my hubby and I did the tracking for him! It was more fun than tracking my own and to hear and see his anticipation thrilled me!
I love my dad more than he knows, more than I can express! We have an amazing relationship and he is always there for me and I hope he knows it goes both ways! I have only one regret, and that is that I didn’t get more involved with the hunting side of the outdoors sooner! I am so grateful for all of the lessons he has taught me and overjoyed when I can try to help him still take part in the great outdoors. What I can do for him will never pay him back for all he has done but it comes from the heart! There is so much more to hunting and fishing than the activity itself. It is the friendship and interaction that goes with it, the stories, the memories and so much more!
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