Many people have different reminders of significant people in their lives. Looking at a scene in a painting, hearing a song, seeing a particular car, or the smell of a cologne or perfume can set your memory reeling into the visuals of a person who meant much to you. For me, remembering my dad at this Father’s Day time of year is easy to do anytime I see fishing gear and tackle, or simply walking by the water. For me seeing men casting at a beach reminds me of my dad’s love of fishing and the sea. He had great respect for the water and calmness while navigating motor boats across the different tides.
One particular memory for me is when he took me out last minute one day a few decades ago on Peconic Bay on Long Island. We were headed toward Shelter Island in an aluminum boat about 17 feet long. Mostly used for fishing, clamming in the creeks, this boat does not have high sides. We got into the middle of the bay and this summer day there were many bigger boats zooming by. One left very large swells which we were going to encounter momentarily. I must have looked scared – yes I was scared – because my dad smiled and said, “Don’t worry we stay in the middle of the swell and ride it out.” Up! Up over the swells, and down the swells we went four or five times. I envisioned us falling over board – AHHH! Yes, I knew how to swim but one doesn’t want to encounter such a situation if you don’t have to. My dad was in the Navy at the end of WWII and not much scared him on the sea. Not me. I gripped the metal seat so tight my finger tips turned white. I shouted out-loud NO!!!! Which made my father just laugh more! Finally the swells were over. We continued to the side of Shelter Island off shore where we both took a very brief swim and got back in the boat. Heading back home we encountered no swells – Thank God! In times of stress, crisis, and strife – of which I have had a few I clearly remember my dad being calm whether it was happening on the water or land, whether in a boat, or car, or illness. Just stay calm, keep yourself in the middle of things and ride and it through. Thanks dad for the lessons and the memories.