Today was Father's Day here in the United
States - forgive me, I don't know if other
countries celebrate the day, or have a different
way to honor their fathers. For the most
part the holiday here is 'commercial' - but
still, if it allows families to recognize dad
for even one special day it has value.
For many of us 'older' folks, our dads have
passed on and I'm sure some of us shared
the memories of dad today, especially
during our growing-up years.
I fished with my dad - and mom too. They both
enjoyed freshwater fishing and kept a boat
somewhere on Lake Huron or Lake Michigan for
years. There was perch fishing, catfishing,
small mouth bass, and trolling for the salmon
in Lake Michigan off the beach at Frankfort.
My dad had been a commercial fisherman, and I
think he was the happiest during those years.
It was hard work, darn hard work and long hours
during difficult times, especially the war years.
My dad was a fly fisher as well, but I was not
invited to fly fish with him. He had one fly
fishing buddy, a neighbor, Arthur Seaholm.
Actually I was a kid at the time, and Mr.
Seaholm was an older, Swedish gentleman, who
probably thought girls shouldn't be fly fishers
anyway. It was a different time, and there were
always certain social customs and manners to be
My grandfather taught me to fly fish. I had a
lot of help over the years, but it was grandfather
who was the beginning. He called me 'pumpkin,'
and I was allowed to accompany him in his jaunts
to the 'woods.' That could on any given day
include a trip to the fish-house down on the
lake for smoked fish, somewhere in the woods
for berry picking, mushroom hunting or fishing!
My grandfather is long gone; my dad passed May
I know for sure my grandfather knew how much
I appreciated his wonderful attention those
many summers I spent with him and my grandmother
in Rogers City, Michigan. He was very kind and
loving to a kid, who could be a pain in the neck
with so many questions. In fact I learned much
of what has become so valuable to me as a human
being from the two of them. Their influence was
European to be sure. Grandfather immigrated with
his brothers from Germany, grandmother came from
Holland with her whole family who settled around
I don't believe their manners and courtesy were
any different than their neighbors or folks of
their ages at that time. But it was a time when
those things were important. Not just important,
very important - if you didn't have manners and
courtesy you were nothing.
My husband, (you know him as JC or Castwell) and I were
talking about the coarseness of our society. How
much the language has deteriorated, use of
four-letter words, loss of respect for our elders,
overuse of sex to sell anything, violence in
everything and we wonder why we have problems in
schools, on the streets, road rage, child abuse,
all of it...
There was a time, not all that long ago when
"please" and "thank you" were always said.
When you were invited for dinner you took
something (or at least offered) and if you
had been a house guest, a thank-you note - along
with a small gift - were sent when you returned
home. In case you missed that day in charm
school, it was called a "bread and butter gift."
Now someone can be rowed down a river for a free day
of guided fishing and not even bother to say
"thanks" much less anything else. How very sad.
I hope that wasn't you.
Correspondence may not be totally dead, email
seems to get through quite well - but the art
of conversation is not doing well at all. In
fact, I wonder how many people actually carry
on conversations with neighbors or folks they
don't work with, or that isn't work related.
I suspect a lot of folks would come to our
Chat Room, but they are afraid they don't have
anything to say. If they fly fish or tie flies
how could they not have something to talk about?
But they've forgotten how. We have the always on,
in-your-face television to thank for that.
When is the last time you sat down and wrote a
letter? Writing on the computer can count - but
not an email. This has to be a real letter, stamp,
in the mail.
Now you are asking yourself, why is she asking that?
Because if you still have a father alive, I
would like you to consider writing him a letter.
You've probably discovered the 'old man' isn't
half as dumb as you once thought, and you may
even realize he taught you some very good things.
If you were lucky enough to have a dad teach you
fishing or any outdoor skills that warrants a
letter. If you now understand he really was
trying to teach you right from wrong, you better
let him know you figured it out while you can.
If he set an example of caring for family and
home for you to follow - start writing.
We are not immortal. Life continues on, but we
lose those we love - and sometimes much before
we are ready.
Maybe you did something wonderful for your dad
for Father's Day. Whatever you did, it will not
compare to a simple letter, thanking dad for
who and what is he.
It is called courtesy, honor and respect. ~ DLB
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