As a little girl I loved spending time with my Dad. One of our favorite things to do on vacation was to go fishing.
One of my first memories of fishing was when I was 8 years old, and we were going to fish in Dillon Lake in Colorado.
My Dad and I would get in our ice cold truck before dawn and head to the bait shop and there we would get hot cocoa (Dad had coffee), donuts, and we got our bait of choice to catch our fish. Whatever treat I wanted, I got it - no questions asked.
I remember sitting in the cold truck driving to the lake, waiting for the car to get warm holding my hot cocoa and seeing my breath in the air. I was trying as hard as I could not to spill my drink, but if I did it wouldn't be a big deal. Nothing was a big deal when I was with my Dad.
On the way to the lake we had lofty goals of the fish we were going to catch! Heck, the locals would be lucky if any fish were left by the time we were done! Or so we thought!
We walked and carried our stuff once we found our spot. My Dad would talk to locals to see where we should go, and to get the inside scoop. We always tried for an "edge" if we could. It is the way the fishing community works.
Our mission was simple. Get dinner, which should be rainbow trout and if we didn't then we would have to eat crow with my sister and my mother. "Skunked" as they call it.
We started with red and white bobbers and my Dad would say to me, "You see that thing on the water? It is called a bobber. If it goes down you have a fish and we need to reel it in!" I looked at him as if this was the most fascinating thing I ever heard. I was going to catch my very own fish!!
The concentration of an 8 year old is next to nothing, so I am sure that there was a strategy to get me focused on something and to be quiet so we "don't scare the fish". My Dad was always patient with me, never losing his temper. He understood it really wasn't about the fish at all.
Nothing bit on my bobber so we switched to weights. After what seemed to be an eternity we ended up skunked, and we knew we were going to get a hard time from my Mom and my sister.
All the anticipation was over, we caught 0 fish. Not even a nibble. We walked back to our truck with our shoulders slumped, willing to take the defeat. Then we saw a kid walking up to us with a whole line of trout! We couldn't believe it. It was like God answered our prayers. My Dad asked the kid if he would be willing to sell a few trout to us. The kid (who wasn't much older than me at the time) agreed. We had fish!
We took the trout home, and as with any fisherman that is worth their weight we told a huge fish tale about how we caught these magnificent trout! As Dad would tell the tale to my Mom and sister, he would look at me, smile and wink. No one was the wiser. It was our secret.
The trout on that trip was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. Not because it was fresh trout, but because I spent time with my Dad, just me and him. No work, no school, no chores, no distractions. Just one on one relationship time. The good stuff. The stuff that money can't buy.
I am now 47 years old and I still fish with my Dad occasionally (not as often as I would like), and I now fish with Mark on every vacation. It is just what we do.
My girlfriends will be confused as to why someone like me loves to fish. I often get a "You caught what???" Or "How did you not break a nail?" Or "Don't you get sea sick?" Or "What about your hair?" They just don't get it.
Just like fishing with my father, when I fish with Mark it is our time together without distractions and it is just me and him, him and me. We talk, we tell stories, we dream about the fish we will catch. I wouldn't trade that time for anything in the world, and that is really what fishing for me is all about, and I am so thankful to my father who taught me this tradition and gave me so many wonderful memories.