Father’s Day is a good day for memories. Many of my memories with dad were made on the water, fishing.
Daddy and Mama loved to fish. There was no better pastime for them than a captured day or afternoon with a bait in the water. Time spent fishing was expected to supplement the food supply, so it was serious business as well as fun. They didn’t play at fishing; they worked at fishing. While others went to the lake or the beach to swim, we went to fish. As the youngest of the kids, I was along for the ride, sometimes a disappointment in my lack of engagement with the sport.
Dad worked hard, and he kept up his equipment, but it was never top of the line. The boats and motors he had were used, and they sometimes failed to provide the best service. That didn’t stop him from fishing, though.
One time, we were out on the bay when a storm started brewing. The clouds steadily built through the morning. We fished on. The wind picked up slightly. We fished on. Finally, Daddy tried to crank the motor, but nothing happened. He jiggled wires and checked the gas, but the motor remained silent. All the while, boats were passing us on their way to the landing to get out of the coming rain. We were getting a little anxious as daddy tinkered with the motor, and we urged him to flag down another boat. This was well before the time of cell phones, and our boat did not have a radio. Daddy continued to work on the motor until the last boat in sight neared our position. At last he conceded defeat, and we flagged down the boat. They towed us in shortly before the storm broke.
Fishing adventures continued through my childhood. They were riddled with laughter, and mishaps. We faced ebb tides and flat tires, sunburns and snakes. I learned to identify the different varieties of fish common in our locale, and I experienced the beauty of the creation of God. I could bait my own hook and rig my own tackle, and I practiced the give and take necessary when multiple people are fishing on a boat. I learned to be quiet and to observe, to listen and follow safety rules. Sometimes we caught fish, and sometimes we didn’t. I still wonder if dad would not have caught more fish if he hadn’t included us in the outings.
The outings brought us together as a family, and we grew up with happy memories. Daddy never had a fancy boat or expensive riggings, but he invested what he had in growing children. I didn’t always appreciate the treasure he provided in these outings. Now, though, I do love to drop a hook in the water and wait for a bite.
As I think back on this Father’s Day, I am thankful. Thankful for a good dad. Thankful for good memories. Thankful that he sacrificed to keep his family with him. Thankful that he was willing to put up with a bunch of kids while he tried to fish.
Daddy’s example prepared a foundation for me to trust God with my life. His faithfulness was a picture for me of the faithfulness of God.
This Father’s Day, not all children have happy memories of their earthly father. I wish they did. I can tell you, however, that there is a Father Who is faithful, and merciful, and kind. His arms are open.
Psalm 127: 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
1 Thessalonians 2:10-1210 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.