Oh, the patience it must have taken for Dad to sit quietly behind the oars as he taught me to fish! For hours he rowed the rented boat close to the St Johns river bank as I made cast after cast trying to hook a lunker lurking under the lily pads. Time after time my poorly cast lure landed in a tree or in the middle of a patch of water plants. Yet again he was forced to pull the boat close enough to disentangle my lure and likely scare away any potential victim of my budding skills. The lessons learned in the bow of those rented row boats were many and varied.
It was when I forgot to bring the water jug from home that I learned others may be depending on you for something really important. Dad had finished the last of the coffee from his battered old green thermos and asked for a drink of water. I reached under the seat and came up with nothing. With a sinking feeling I remembered Dad asking me to be sure and get the water jug from the counter on the way out the door. We were forced to drink river water that day. Not too bad if you're thirsty enough. But I never forgot the water again.
Another day, nothing was biting on the big flashy bass lures we were casting. We had tried everything we had but they were just not interested. I learned the importance of being willing to go back to the basics when Dad suggested we stop at a small island and dig some worms. We had an old coffee can into which we put a hundred or so big fat wiggly worms. Dad unrolled the long cane poles he always brought along and baited up with the worms we had dug. Soon we had a live well full of beautiful panfish. Simply by changing our methods we turned a day of frustration into a day of success.
But the best lesson of all was the patience I saw role modeled before me every time we pulled up to Highland Park Fish Camp. Dad would clamp his 10 horse Mercury outboard onto the transom of one of their moss encrusted wooden rowboats. In those days before trolling motors, if you wanted to fish slowly, you had to row. Knowing the oarsman didn't get to fish much, Dad always volunteered to row leaving me free to fish. It was those countless tangles and mess ups Dad always solved that taught me the lessons of kindness and patience that stand me in good stead even today.
Thanks Dad for your excellent example. May I ever follow in your giant tracks.
Happy Father's Day gentlemen!
Pastor Rich Orrell