When I was a kid, my dad would take me fishing occasionally. We were members of a Rod & Gun Club (just the type of membership every 8 year old girl dreams of) and they stocked their lake with fish. So we would go down to the lake every now and again to try our hand at catching those fish.
My dad was a big man. Let’s face it, let’s call him what he called himself. Fatman. Like Batman, but with less calisthenics. So there we would sit on the bank of the lake, a rotund man and his scrawny kid. I doubt he remember to put sunscreen on his blonde haired, freckled, paled eyed kid. And we probably didn’t bring water to drink or healthy snacks. Articles were not written in Parenting magazines, calling parents to follow my dad’s lead. I look back and am surprised that I’m still alive.
Somewhere around hour three or four, after not a fish was found, Dad would start to get frustrated and probably curse a bit. We would dig a hole in the bank, so the worms in the container would stay cool and living. And when Dad wasn’t looking, I would take out a lucky worm, dig a little hole with my pinky and send the worm on his way to freedom. Since nothing was biting the lines, we certainly weren’t going to need all the worms anyway.
On this particular trip, Dad brought his camera with him. More often than not, he wanted to bring a camera, but generally forget. This time, the camera made the trip with us. Bound and determined to get a picture of me fishing, so he could send it to Grammy, he had me pose with my line cast. A real angler, this girl was. Camera ready… and nothing happened. So he would fiddle with the camera, and try it again. Again nothing.
Dad sat back down (not any easy task for a man of his great stature) and started to move dials and buttons and whatnots on the camera. He set it up, snapped a photo, and decided to try it again. With great effort, he once again stood up, got me posed and…. nothing. Not a click, flash, or film advancement to be had.
It’s not often in life that one is privy to an obese man doing a tribal dance/ tantrum, but that’s what ensued. Hot, inevitably dehydrated, and frustrated by the inconsistency of his camera, Dad issued a few curses, did a foot-stamping, arm pumping primal yelp and threw the camera into the lake.
Then very calmly, he said, “It didn’t work very well.” I released the rest of the worms into the wild and we went home.
Never was a fish safer than when my dad was on the hunt.
Today is 8 years without him. He has missed a lot over the years, and I know that there will come a point where I will have more years without him than with him. And my words can never fully illustrate how big his personality was, but when I’m writing a real whopper of a fish tale- that’s when I feel him most.