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With many miles between us, I'm seldom with my dad on Father's Day and this year will be no different. Sure, we'll share a cheerful chat on the phone and he will thank me for his card and gift. Nonetheless, we won't feel cheated by the status of a calendar for we have oodles of memories to sustain us.

For us, Father's Day is whenever we are fortunate enough to be together. It's not as often as I'd like but when it happens we have extended visits, not just a few days. Recently I spent an entire month with Dad; each and every day was a joyful celebration! That equals 30 years worth of Father's Days rolled into one get-together, it doesn't get any better than that.

On Father's Day I'll wander down memory lane and smile knowing my dad, at 91 years of age, is doing likewise. We will both reflect on our recent merriment; the majority of which took place at the lake! Yep, if the weather permitted we were up early with hopes it would be the day we'd both catch a "big one!"

I know Dad smirked when he pounded on my bedroom door those early mornings, before the sun even crested the horizon. Startled, my dogs grumbled and growled and I'd finally grumble, too! "I'm awake, Dad, you can stop pounding now!"

"Just wanted to be sure you heard me," he snickered each and every morning.

As usual, our annual fishing marathon began with us keeping score. After a few days we lost count, had no idea who was in the lead, and we didn't care. The fish were biting, our spirits were high, and we were together doing something we both love.

At last, a "big one" did hit; I hooked that channel cat and slowly wrestled him in. He was hefty and beautiful but before he was on solid terra cotta, my line snapped and he was gone in a split second. I whined the rest of the day and Dad teased me about telling fish stories!

Not to be discouraged, we were back at the lake the following morning. On my first cast I hooked another big fella. The fishing line screeched as it was stripped from my reel and I tightened the drag until that little dial would turn no more. I didn't breath, nor did I yell for Dad to come watch the battle. I concentrated! Everything Dad ever taught me about angling raced through my mind like a movie on fast forward. Meanwhile, the reel chattered like it might fly to pieces. Once I'd actually won the skirmish, I hollered for Dad.

"Go get your camera!" Dad ordered as he proudly took the channel cat from my quivering grasp.

Once photos were taken, along with a weigh-in of 10.5 pounds, I finally caught my breath and let out a war whoop that echoed across the lake. Dad smiled as if he'd caught the fish instead of me--that's just what Dad's do--it's their nature.

Our month of memory making took us down pathways abundant with twists, turns, and even a few detours. One perfect afternoon an unexpected storm accompanied by lightening raced our way rapidly. The looming black clouds were ominous. We loaded up our fishing gear and headed home. Once there, we found ourselves milling around the kitchen in need of a good snack.

"Kathy," Dad said, "don't you think we should bake a pan of brownies?"

In translation that meant, Kathy would you bake a pan of brownies? His sweet tooth had been deprived of dessert for at least three days--mercy!

"Sure! You just relax while I mix up a batch."

Dad is a fine cook, but he also enjoys being pampered and out of the kitchen now and then.

I'd barely begun when I heard horse hooves, gunshots, and the voice of John Wayne. It was time for Dad's afternoon western.

I soon popped the brownies in the oven and asked, "How long's it been since you've had icing on your brownies?"

His blue eyes twinkled at the thought. "Way too long!"

While I iced brownies, Dad rode sidekick with John Wayne through the Montana high country. At the next commercial, he dismounted and sauntered into the kitchen to clean out the icing bowl, while I expected to hear the clatter of spurs against the kitchen floor.

"What kind of icing is this? I know it's chocolate but it tastes a little different than usual."

"Dad, it's chocolate mocha. I know Mom made it from time to time."

"Well, if she did, I sure don't remember it!" He left not one smidgen of icing and nearly scraped the finish right off the bowl.

Still smacking his lips, he yanked a recipe card out of a drawer and scribbled detailed instructions for making chocolate mocha icing.

No, the date on a calendar does not determine when I express love, gratitude, and respect for my Dad--I convey those feelings at each and every opportunity. Yet, if we could spend Father's Day together, I'd strive to make it a memorable one. I'd pack a picnic basket that brimmed over with tasty treats for snacking while we fished. And--tucked away at the very bottom would be a special surprise for Dad. What, you ask? Brownies with icing, what else?

Dedicated to Dad with much love -- 2009



Kathleene S. Baker   2009






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