This was my dad’s happy place. A pond behind his house. He’d promised his Connie a house on the water and they lived here for more than a decade. She still does and here I sit. From the back deck overlooking the water I hear thunder in the distance, of the type upon which dad and I would have cast a wary eye if we were in a boat. We would always fish until the last moment.
His remaining rods and reels sit idly in the shed. I am bringing three of the reels home with me. When you die I guess people figure out what to do with your stuff. As his only child I will cherish the use of his tools, especially his leather tool belt and his router bits; his guns, and those reels. I’ll hold the memories of giving him the best day he ever had fishing. We were in my 17′ Lund out of Rye, NH casting for strippers along the rocks. He must have caught 40-50 that day. I caught plenty but mostly I was content seeing him having so much fun and steering the boat by the trolling motor so to give him the best casts.
Paradoxically, I think love for the water is why I am drawn to Arizona. Both are open and wild, even dangerous if you are unprepared or foolish. You can be alone and find solitude or party with your friends. You can make love in the desert or floating on the breeze.
My dad would have been 75 this October. I plan on celebrating it by going fishing for stripped bass up on Lake Powell. I still have the same boat. I will camp on the shore. I will try to master the baitcasting reel, a skill that has continually eluded me. Usually I give up and return to my spinning reel, a Shimano on a 5’6″ medium action Diawa rod. I’ll miss my dad, but enjoy his birthday in the way I know he would appreciate. And I hope I can fry up a fresh fish or two. But, I’ll bring along a steak just in case.