~ A FISHING STORY ~
He was an old man who had suffered a stroke;
she was a young woman in the prime of her life. He was her father; she was
his daughter. He had taught her to fish when she was very young, probably 5
or 6; to bait her own hook with a wiggler, and to be patient for the
nibble! But there was one thing he would always do for her, and that was to
remove the fish from the hook because it always hurt her heart to injure the
fish and furthermore, she was afraid a fin might stick her. Never once did
he ever make her feel bad for not being a complete fisherman! They had many
years of fishing together; and when she was older, he taught her to cast
with a rod and reel, and she moved from Bream to Bass. Those were some of
the best times in her life – the time she spent fishing with her Daddy.
stroke, they fished together one last time. They went to Paul Lipsey's old
fishing camp, but things were different this time. Since the stroke had
played havoc with his right side, there were things he could not do. It was
now impossible for him to fish from a boat; they had to fish from the dock.
And she had to bait his hook, remove his fish … all the things that he had
done for her in the beginning; but this was close to the end of his life,
and roles were reversed.
That day she
experienced every possible human emotion. Things seemed ironically funny,
and she and her father laughed until their stomachs hurt. Once she left him
to go into the camp for a few minutes and when she came back out, he held up
a finger with a hook firmly entrenched. Since he had always been a
prankster, she thought he was joking and felt anger that he would tease her
in that manner; he was not. He had tried to bait the hook in her
absence, and hooked himself instead. She winced, as she removed the hook
from her father’s flesh. One last time, she baited his hook, threw the line
back out for him, and handed him the old cane pole. She watched him as he
hooked another little Brim and pulled it up for him. As she went to remove
the hook from the fish, she realized that the hook was not going to come out
easily. Try as she might to get the hook out without injuring the fish, she
finally had to yank the hook from deep in its throat, and as the hook came
out with blood and fish flesh, she erupted in tears; her heart hurt for the
damage she had done to the fish … her heart hurt more for knowing that this
would be her last fishing trip with her father.
But there is no end to the special memories
one gathers along the way, and she had been greatly blessed by a father who
spent wonderful hours fishing with her and in so doing, taught her many
things … especially the love of a father for a daughter!
Beverly Smith (Zacharias)