Yesterday at Walmart we encountered a young father who was preparing to take his son on his first fishing trip. I thought about fishing for the rest of the day! Like Captain Ramius in one of my favorite movies, I miss the peace of fishing.
Some of my earliest and best childhood memories are of fishing with my dad. Mom didn’t seem to like fishing but I was born for it. I liked being outside. I didn’t mind getting dirty. It didn’t bother me to hook a worm. And although I could “chatter like a magpie” according to my dad, I could also sit quietly for long periods of time and just reflect on the beauty of the water. So we fished together anywhere and anytime we could. We gleaned a lot of dinners that way and Mom was appreciative.
The only regret I have with regard to fishing is that Dad never let me go deep-sea fishing. That was strictly for men, not women, and certainly not girls. He went a few times when we lived in CA, but the fish was left at Gran’s café for her to cook. Mom didn’t want to deal with that much fish!
By the time we moved to Oklahoma Dad had sons and friends and other relatives to fish with. He went out in a boat, which frightened me, and he often fished with a trot line, which I found boring. So I seldom went fishing any more.
One of my fondest memories of Dad is the day he brought home a 40+ pound catfish from Lake Texoma. He had it in the back of the pickup and he just told us to “go see what I caught”. I think our startled reactions and subsequent squealing pleased him more than the actual catch.
During our years as young parents Gary and I attempted to fish a few times, but we were never that successful at fishing or convincing our girls to enjoy it. Only Robert developed an affinity for it and even belonged to a fishing club for a while. Ironically though, it wasn’t the fishing that fascinated him, but the creation of the “flies” used in trout fishing.
For a couple of years I worked with a woman who loved fishing so much that she usually fished on a nearby pond for an hour each morning before she went to work. It was her way of meditating and preparing for our hectic days at the advertising agency. I often envied her peaceful morning ritual.
As I was reading my Bible this morning I thought about how many references there are in the New Testament to fishing and fish. Most of the disciples were fishermen. They went out in boats, often at night, and cast nets to catch fish. It was exhausting and dangerous work. Many times hours of casting their nets resulted in little or no fish. So I don’t think it was coincidental that Jesus called fishermen to help him preach the gospel and told Peter and Andrew he would make them “fishers of men”. I like to think that their ability to work long hard hours, get dirty, wait patiently, and try again after failure served them well as disciples.
I’m not likely to go fishing any time soon. I’m not comfortable sitting or standing for hours and I’ve replaced my fishing pole with a camera. But sometimes when I see someone casting their line in the water, I miss the peace of fishing.