Sunday, June 16th is Father’s Day. It’s a good day for honoring Dad’s or, in my case, remembering my Dad.
Dad’s are special. Mine sure was. He went through World War II and came home to marry my Mom and start a family. He did all of this in pretty short order. They married in 1947 and I came along about 12 months later. Dad was surprised at Mom’s pregnancy and to this day I’m not absolutely sure Dad was ready for fatherhood. But he did what fathers do. He stepped up and became a good Dad.
He found a job after he returned from the war and in 1947 not only got married, but started a family. He supported Mom and me by working hard to make sure we had a nice life. He started an auto parts company about that same time and from stories Mom told worked long hours to make his family was comfortable and his business would be successful. Dad wasn’t a complainer. He was just a “doer”.
I think most Dads are good guys. Maybe not always understood, but good guys none the less. They seem to have an inborn sense of duty and obligation to their families. They let Moms handle the routine stuff, but always step up when things get complicated and times turn tough.
My Dad did that. We struggled when I was young and even though I was just a few years old I remember Dad coming home tired from fighting the “auto parts wars” here in Southern Indiana. There were times Dad and Mom didn’t agree. Times when Dad would have a few too many beers and Mom would complain. But Mom loved Dad. And he loved her and his kids. That’s what Dads do.
I grew up in the 1950’s when things were a lot simpler. Kids played outside and came home for dinner, then went back outside for more play, always being admonished by both Dad and Mom to “be home before dark”. Dad would make sure I understood what “dark” was so Mom wouldn’t worry. And I can assure you I did understand “dark” very, very well.
Dad loved fishing. It was his only hobby as far as I can remember. He just loved to get on the water and fish. Never mind if it was on a local lake or pond, the Ohio River, or a trip to Canada in the summer. Any place where Dad could fish was perfect. He studied fishing. He read about fishing. He kept up on the latest lures, equipment, and as the business grew, boats and motors. He may not have bought the best equipment, but he did buy what it took for him to fish. This was Dad’s nirvana.
In the 1960’s Dad and Mom bought a house that had a pond. I’m guessing that the house was Mom’s idea, but the pond Dad’s concession to Mom’s house. It was a small pond but had some nice bass and Dad loved fishing there. Summer or winter, Dad would fish. I can remember many fish fry’s where Dad provided the fish and more than enough advice to Mom on how they should be cooked!
Like most Dads my Dad wasn’t perfect. He certainly had his faults. But you know what? As I look back those faults just don’t come to mind. What I remember was Dad’s love, his compassion, his encouragement, his dedication to his family, and his passion for life.
I don’t think dads get enough credit. Let’s be honest. Moms raise kids. Day in and day out they take care of the kids. They cook, clean, discipline, and make sure each child meets their expectations. They do the errands and running kids to sports or other functions by way of “Mom’s taxi”. Dads are more spectators than participants in this daily routine conducted by most Moms.
But they’re always present. The threat of “wait until your Dad gets home” has struck fear in more than few kids. When that phrase was uttered in our household you knew you were in serious trouble. You had crossed the unmarked line. Now discipline was passed to “the enforcer”. Dad.
I had the “pleasure” of dealing with this admonition more times than I would like to admit. And my Dad was tough. Dealing with a kid who had gotten out of line was child’s play compared to fighting in a war. Frankly I’m somewhat amazed that Dad’s discipline wasn’t worse than it was. To this day I believe that my Dad exhibited great restraint given what he had experienced in the war and given many of my not-so-minor infractions of the “house rules”. And I loved him for that.
I had my Dad for 21 years before he passed away. I miss him terribly and think about him often. Now, over 44 years later I would give anything if I could spend time with Dad. I would ask him so much. About the war, about his early life, about how he met my Mom. So much that I just never thought to ask him when he was still here. And I would make sure he had the latest and great fishing gear since he always bought inexpensive gear. He never really treated himself to that special rod or reel. I would fix that.
My Dad was a special guy. He was a straight shooter. You never had to wonder just where he stood or where you stood with him. Just before he passed away he said something I will always remember. “I’m the only Dad you’re ever going to have.”
So true. The only Dad I would ever have. But I would add “the only “great” Dad I would ever have”.
We hope all of you will take some time and spend it with your dad. If he has passed spend some time remembering all the good stuff. And if you’re a Dad make Father’s Day a time to rededicate yourself to loving your kids and wife. I can assure you it will be time well spent and remembered long after you have departed these earthly bounds.
Thanks to everyone who gives us the opportunity to serve you. We know you have lots of choices when it comes to fishing gear. We are honored and humbled to have all of you as great friends and customers. Thank you so much.