My father will likely scold me for publicly admitting we ever went out fishing and failed to catch something. So for the sake of his pride, I will explain right up front that it was a last-minute …
My father will likely scold me for publicly admitting we ever went out fishing and failed to catch something. So for the sake of his pride, I will explain right up front that it was a last-minute request that he take me and my son fishing for only about an hour on his boat in the evening while my wife was busy working. Had we all had more time, I’m sure we would have caught fish—however, the act of fishing is really not what this tale is about.
As stated, I had my son Rorick to myself for a few hours one afternoon and decided, rather than attempting to work outside and monitor my little ruffian’s curious escapades, that I would share the love and get my son some grandpa-grandson time. Grandpa Hill was only available for an hour or so before dark, but something was better than nothing so I agreed to meet him at the public launch of Duck Harbor Pond with my son. Rorick, adorned in his new and still oversized life preserver, waddled along the dock holding my hand as we met grandpa who was already tied up to the dock.
Lowering him into the boat, I untied the vessel from the dock cleats as grandpa distracted Rorick with the cold-blooded churn of the two-cycle Mercury engine coming to life. After this outing, there would be two things my son can’t get enough of: tractor rides and boat rides. As the skiff slipped out into deeper water, I sat down in the back with Rorick on my lap. The mission was to go fishing, so grandpa soon turned the controls over to me while he cast out and set the depths for our trolling lines.
Rorick took advantage of the opportunity to help me steer as he sat on my left leg and I kept the throttle bumped just over idling. Just a small lad and yet he already seemed to have his sea-legs, delighted at the sound of the engine every time we had to rev it to keep it from stalling, and eyes as big and bright as marbles as he craned his tiny head to see everything he could on this new adventure.
This was the first time Rorick had been on a boat of any kind. After a short while, he became bolder and walked laps around the center-console of the skiff while stopping in front of me when passing by to eat a bite or two of his mango snacks mom packed up for him. The sky was a dusky slate blue with stains of water-colored sunset streaking through the thin cloud layer. Although his mother had prepared him for the trip by misting him with some bug spray, the bugs were not too bad out on the water. In the cooling evening air, all the elements seemed to be harmonizing to lull my boy off to sleep. This of course only prompted him to be wide awake and begin randomly laughing at my father who, of course, was delighted to capture the moment on camera.
We lapped the lake, our lures in tow, marking fish and making conversation, but no, we did not catch any fish. We enjoyed the beauty of God’s blue lake and each other’s company and, despite a lack of adventurous developments, made memories that will last far longer than a fish dinner.
The way out here can be full of hard work and busy schedules, but it’s times like these that are important to capitalize on. It can be easy to flop back in a chair and claim there isn’t time to go out for a boat ride or cast a line, but relationships are like real ships in that you’ll never get anywhere by not sailing. The way out here, we take the time to get that boat out and to be out with each other. Three generations of Hill men cruised the waters of Duck Harbor the other night; not a fish was hooked but nobody left the lake unhappy.
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