Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Things that Go Unsaid

The culmination of memories and interactions that compose the relationships of our lives can be a labyrinth of emotions along a time line of momentous ups and downs.  And for me, like many others who got it from their fathers, find this to be unequivocally true about the one who tattooed the love of fishing on my soul.

Although the grandkids have softened him up a little, the school of hard knocks still resonates from my dad.  Feelings just get in the way and cramp his all-business demeanor.  He's a man of few words, unless you piss him off, and smiles are rare souvenirs from special occasions.  Add that to the cultural brouhaha of motherland ideals versus American teenage angst and I toast my recent years with a heavy cocktail of old memories. 


Pre-me
The underpainting isn't pretty.  Very few are.  But it's the highlights that bring it all together to please the mind's eye.  And between my dad and I, the crowning points of our relationship have always come from fishing.  My entire life has been saturated by it.  If we weren't fishing, we were talking about it.  The long winded and sometimes quite animated dinner table conversations about our pursuits took precedence over politics, sports, and news.  Though they would eliciting some rolling of the eyes from mom, I knew she was always glad to see him so happy.



The last time we fished together was a distant memory.  Work, physical limitations and other priorities kept us on different schedules, so when we found a free couple of hours out of the blue, I eagerly followed him to the same spot we had been going to for over 15 years.  Tossing minnows out from the same bank flooded my mind with fond retrospect.  

And although he would never express such simple reminiscent pleasantries, between declaring his disgust for not being able to keep the rat reds or dink flounder, I caught him holding a good long smile.  



He didn't have to say anything. Sometimes, the things that go unsaid are written on people's faces.

It was nice to fish with you too, dad.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Rob. Reminds me of fishing with my late grandfather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post and even more so that you got to visit good memories of your own.

      Delete
  2. Rob, youve brought tears to my eyes. My father and I.... we have grown distant over the passed few years. But, the one thing we can always talk about, is fishing. He and I fished for so many years together, laughed quite a few times... But, with his love life troubles, my work life, and the whole "teenage disgust" thing...we barely have time anymore for anything anymore. He and I though, every time we get together for even a moment, we talk fishing. Even though it is me bringing it up, I love getting tips from him. I love getting to express my enjoyment in kayak fishing, and I actually feel like....he might be proud of me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dustin, that connection is an amazing thing. We all share it with someone one way or another. I'm glad that you still have it with your dad. And I'm sure he is proud of you, even if it never gets said.

      On another note, I really appreciate you taking to time to write your comment. It's nice to have someone I don't even know relate and share back. Thanks and take care.

      Delete
    2. No, sir, I should be thanking you. People like you and Kevin, with your amazing blogs, pictures, and care toward newer yakkers are what got me into the sport. I love looking at your photos, and I would love to meet you at a Boondoggle sometime and learn from you about fish printing. I appreciate the time youve put into this blog, and the dedication you have to the sport

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful post Rob. I echo Dustin's sentiments, but from a slightly different situation. My dad and I have drifted apart too, only it's caused by dementia and the devastating way it ravages the human mind, and robs the victim of any interest in the things they once loved. These days he will not fish and it's doubtful he ever will again.

    Sadly, my dad doesn't know a whole lot to say to me anymore in our brief, daily conversations. Usually it's, "Catching any fish?" or "Doing any fishing?" Even that gives me comfort as it conjures up images of years gone by and lets me know in special ways, he remembers too. Thanks again Rob!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Pam! Although I'm sorry to hear about his situation, it's good to hear that you have a little something to hold on to.

      I really appreciate to thoughtful comment. Best of luck.

      Delete
    2. Pam: I can empathize with you maam. My mother works in a nursing home, and witnesses what dementia does on a daily basis. She fears often about Alzheimer's and I don't know what I'd do if it effected her. However, I think that it is just those little words that show that your father still cares, and always will. I know that as my father ages and begins to forget, I will always cherish those memories of him getting catfish off my line, giving me tips, and of course, the few pictures I have ever taken of him. Please take care maam

      Delete
  4. Rob and Dustin,

    You're both so right. I didn't mean to be a "debbie-downer" for those reading. I'm so glad to still have that much of him and we spent SO many days fishing together. He is where my obsession started and I'm so thankful it did!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So, when you going to take your younger brother fishing?!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The memories Grew up brookie fishing in the mountains of NY. I still remember me dad piggybacking me across the stream so we could fish the hole from the best side. The man was a natural a born trout fisherman. He read the stream like a road map .

    I sure do miss him

    Thanks for the memory jolt Rob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed, thank you for sharing your memory with me. It's beautiful how we all have these little glimmers from the past that we can all relate to.

      Thanks for checking out my blog as well. Your comment is very appreciated.

      Delete
  7. This brought back the days of aluminum boats, sardines with crackers and catfishing with my dad. He was more like my best friend than my father and our fishing trips were always to great.

    He's been gone for 13 years and on occasion after a successful hunting or fishing trip I will start driving toward his house to show and tell just as a sinking feeling lands in stomach...I would give anything for one more day on the water with him.

    Thanks for the time travel Rob.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for sharing that Shane. I'm glad my little story sparks so many great memories!

    ReplyDelete