US ON FATHER'S DAY
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
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.
said, "don't you think we should bake a pan of brownies?"
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
"What kind of
icing is this? I know it's chocolate but it tastes a little different than
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.
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