An afternoon with Dad

(Belatedly) posted for Sian’s Storytelling Sunday, a first-Sunday-of-the-month meme. This year’s optional theme is Pick Your Precious. Feel free to join in with your own story—about a souvenir, a family heirloom, a memory, or something completely different.

Every now and again Mom was able to persuade Dad to take several of us kids out with him on a weekend afternoon. I doubt the term “disposable income” was in common use in the early 1960s but, even if it was, I know it never applied to my parents. They needed every dime and more in order to keep our family enterprise on track. So, whatever we did entertainment-wise, it was usually of the no-additional-cost variety. Trips to a nearby playground or a drive to visit with relatives (cousins included, of course!) were our normal diversions.

This month’s story is about an afternoon Dad took us fishing. I was 10 or 11 years old that summer so Dad probably had four or five of us kids with him. If there was a baby or young toddler in the picture at the time, I’m sure he or she stayed home with Mom.

Dad set each of us up with a pole, helped us cast our lines, and showed us how to reel in the line if we were lucky enough to get a bite. Since that didn’t happen in the first few minutes of our fishing adventure, most of us became bored very quickly. But, as usual, Dad had a backup plan. He rescued the poles from each of us in turn and stuck them into his homemade fishing pole holders and sent us off to play. Meantime, he cut a thin branch from a willow tree and made each of us a whistle—they were the hit of the day! My older brother and I were able to make quite a bit of racket with them, but I don’t think our younger siblings ever quite figured out how to make them whistle.

Dad was also keeping an eye on his fishing pole array and noticed that one pole was bent. Investigating, he determined that the hook was stuck on something. That’s how I ended up holding on to the line and wading out into the reservoir in an attempt to free the line. I was NOT enthused about this venture (who knew what all was in that water anyway?) to start with, but I almost ended up needing rescue myself as the bottom dropped off before I reached the end of line. I was scared, but Dad coached me to keep ahold of the fishing line so I could use it to pull myself back up the dropoff. Once that was done, I made a hasty beeline to the shore where Dad finally cut the line, losing a bit of fishing gear in the bargain. And, though I’m sure Dad was as relieved as I was that I was safe and sound, I’m just as sure he had a great time retelling the story at work the next day.

8 thoughts on “An afternoon with Dad

  1. ..and I’m here belatedly after my break to enjoy your lovely story. Thank you so much for adding this one for July. It unfurls so beautifully.

  2. Love reading your childhood memories. I remember that feeling of scrabbling back to safety as fast as possible! Beautifully told story.

  3. There is something in here about your courage and willingness to risk, buoyed up by your Dad’s trust and faith in you … Precious indeed :).

  4. You have such a great memory Wanda, so detailed. One of my brothers can do that. Glad the day ended safely for you all. If my family were recounting this tale it would have taken a very different route…;)

  5. Wanda, Having grown up in a similar financial situation family outing encluded swimming in the Cheasapeak Bay. It was a extremely fun adventure fhat somerimes included grilled hotdogs over anopen fire. These are fun memories thanks for jaring them out. Take care, Bill

  6. This must have been heart-stoppingly scary for you at the time Wanda! I’m so glad your Dad was calm and coached you back out instead of diving in and putting himself in danger too! Beautifully told.

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