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.
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.