The fishing results: no fish.
If you think that is the whole story, stop reading right now.
It was a busy day. Church until 12:30 or so. Get home, change, and take the boys to visit a friend whose wife just passed away. We couldn’t stay long. Just long enough for a smile and hug, and a heart-felt call on me when (not if) you need help. Then I took them to another friend’s home who was having a soft shell crab cookout. We had never experienced that before. I tried (and loved the crabs, though I left hungry) and the boys tried some fresh fruit and almost one hotdog. We weren’t there for nourishment. We were there for fellowship. I was there for fellowship, and took the boys to give mom a break. They were good. Very good. I was proud of them. So proud, when we left, we stopped by another friend’s home and diagnose a serious computer error. They were good there too. For most families, that might be enough. Why push your luck. Church all morning. Visiting all afternoon. What more could you expect out of your children.
Not my family. We went back to the home base, picked up mom, and left for a three year old’s birthday party. Have you ever been to a three year old’s birthday party? Except for my own kids, my answer used to be “Are you kidding me?” This one was awesome. The other families were invited to stay. And we had some great fellowship. A wonderful time. Now, for most folks, that surely would be enough for one day.
Not me. I was just out of cell phone range while in the house at the party. But in the backyard, the phone worked. Ring (imagine the sound of the old fashion phone), it’s a good buddy telling me he is on the way to the lake. Remember the title, Great Fishing!, well we had planned to fish that night, probably because I had forgotten about the birthday party. More likely, I had suppressed any knowledge of the birthday party. Surely, the fishing plans would be tossed.
No way! I looked at the host father and told him of my predicament. It was getting late. It was still hot out. There was just no way fishing was going to be included in the plans. The excitement in his face was clear. He is not a fisherman. At least not yet. But his one daughter wants to learn how to fish. Imagine not knowing how to fish and having a child who wants to learn. He is there, and sees a perfect opportunity to spend time with his daughter fishing with guys who at least pretend to fish. Only major problems are it is getting late and the birthday party is for his three year old son! No way is he getting a pass to go fish. How in the world was I going to get a pass to fish?
I did what any other fisherman would do. I went into the house, found my wife (along with the other wives), talking, and enjoying the party. Got down on my knees and pleaded! PLEASE LET ME TAKE THE BOYS AND GO FISHING! Normally, I don’t need to beg. Normally, she doesn’t require begging. But we were at a party and it was getting late. In order for this to work, I needed to grab her attention. I about fell over when she answered, “You’re taking the boys, fine with me.”
Now to sell the boys. Can you believe I had to convince them to go fishing. I almost had to threaten them with severe punishment if they didn’t agree to go. Punishment like, “If you don’t go fishing, we are going home, and you are going to bed.” That was probably perfectly okay with them; they were exhausted. Remember all the things they had done that day. Eventually, with a little bribery, they agreed to go. I finally got momma out of the party she was so thoroughly enjoying. I apologized to the host mom; here I am wrecking her party, but it was getting late, so maybe she appreciated the fast exit. Maybe not, but that is another story.
We rush home, drop mom, get the gear, and are on the way to the lake in record time. The kids are still moaning…they are exhausted. Then I tell them one of the most important things about fishing. Something they will remember always. In fact, it is the secret between just fishing and great fishing. They listen intently. Soak up the words, and next thing you know, we are at the lake.
There was not much time. It was still hot. My friend was already there with his kids. The host from the party showed up with both his daughters. The kids seemed to have a great time. I think one or two fish were landed by my buddy. My kids didn’t catch a thing. Our new fisherman and his daughters were skunked too. It got dark fast, and the time slipped away. The Sunday night fishing was over. Time to go home.
On the way, we called mom. I held the phone up after asking the boys if they had a great time fishing. Remember, they did not catch a single fish. It was hot. There were bugs. There was nothing to drink. There was only one chair to sit in. They were totally exhausted. Their collective answer to their mom on the other end of the cell phone was a resounding “YES!”
I did it. I taught them the secret to fishing. They now know the difference between just plain fishing and great fishing. I remember when I learned it. It was on the banks of the Bushkill with my father. A long, long time ago. The secret is simple: It’s not about catching fish, it’s about spending time with dad.
When is your next great fishing trip scheduled?