Monday, May 18, 2009

Hanging up His Hooks?

For most of my dad’s life, he has been defined by one thing above all else: His uncanny ability to stalk and catch black bass.

If black bass had their own vocabulary, then my dad could read and write it fluently. He understands where bass live, what they eat and how they think. For all I know, he spawns like a fish. He used to drink like a fish, too, but that was another time.

I know the stories of my dad’s fishing exploits are true because I’ve seen the videos … countless hours of videos.

Dad, of course, takes great pride in his reputation as an extraordinary fisherman. He also takes great pride in the tools of his trade, including his truck and boat. Both are black and spotless. On occasion, he even dresses like the boat, replete with matching black clothes and logos, looking like a combination of Johnny Cash and Dale Earnhardt.

So it was with great surprise that I learned that dad sold both this week. It was all gone suddenly in one fell swoop to a guy from Bardstown, Ky. I heard talk about scaling back, but didn’t take it seriously. In retrospect, I should have. Dad can be impulsive, like the time he bought a car at a yard sale or sold a house out of the blue.

But this decision isn’t impulsive, he said. As it turns out, fishing is a lot of hard work, especially if you tackle it like he does. Unfortunately, I can’t be of much help either. You see, the fishing gene apparently skips a generation.

Dad says he’ll keep fishing. He’ll simply leave the upkeep to his younger friends. There will be more fish to catch and more videos to film.

Dad won’t look back. He never does. There’s already discussion of a new car in the garage to polish.

For my part, I’m having a harder time letting go. It’s too much to process all at once. Among other things, I’m starting to wonder if the guy from Bardstown with the black truck and boat will now be the one watching my kids!

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