3/22/09 - Daddy's Girl

I don’t remember the first time my Dad took me fishing. I just know that it was always there. An activity that bound us, gave us some common ground and allowed him to connect to me, even when he didn’t really understand much about me or the things I did.

I remember standing on the rocky banks of rivers, The Poudre and The Platte mostly, with the sun bearing down on my then small shoulders, dutifully throwing cast after cast. Following his footsteps diligently so as not to make too much noise or stumble myself right into the water.

I remember him stopping at some clearing where I wouldn’t get my line stuck in the branches as I clumsily reached back, ready to use my entire force of will to propel that lure into the perfect spot. So perfect that I was sure I’d have a fish hooked before he had a chance to resume his foraging upstream. He would get me set up with lure, point out the sweet spots, watch me cast a few times and then carry on, looking for his own quiet spot to whisk his flies back and forth in perfect 10 and 2 rhythm.

That was always my least favorite part of our forays into angler communion. Watching him walk away from me. Leaving me alone on the riverbank. I just wanted to spend more time with my Dad. I didn’t care that there was little conversation. I just wanted him to keep teaching, to keep being there. And watching him walk away from me, even though I knew he wouldn’t be much further than 10 or 20 yards was like getting taken on the most wonderful date you could imagine and then being left to dine at the 5-star restaurant alone.

I worked hard on that time on the riverbank. I worked hard to catch a fish that would make him come running back to help me reel it in. I worked hard to perfect my lurching casts. I worked hard on being quiet even though I longed to sit and chuck perfect stones into the soft river. I worked hard on being a daughter that loved fishing.

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