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Father's Day Memories
by Steve McCadams

 Dad's day is about to arrive. When it gets here, take time to salute the guy who has been there in most of your outdoor memories. From sunburns to sunsets, he's been in the picture.

 Pitching that tent on the side of the lake would have been impossible without his patience and guiding hand. You wanted to put it in the low spots but a gray haired gentleman showed you a better place. He anticipated the rain and showed you how to drive the stakes and tighten the ropes.

 On those fishing trips of yesteryear who showed you how to dig the worms and tie on a hook? Who took you by the hand down those backwoods trails to the hidden ponds where big bream awaited your arrival with a hefty appetite?

 It was always his pole that you wanted to fish with too. Regardless of how good your's looked, it seems his was the one that the fish liked best. Perhaps his was being fished by someone with more patience at times, come to think of it.

 He untangled your lines and retied when you snagged the trees and lost. The same guy help you unhook a spiny catfish and showed you the proper way to hold him when you caught one again.

 When the bull in the farmer's pasture threatened it was dad who kept you close and provided security in an insecure world. He held the fence as your short legs attempted to climb and cross enroute to the pond deep in the pasture.
 A thousand questions you asked and a thousand answers he gave. From the deep bellow of a bullfrog to the shrill cry of the whippoorwill; dad was there to steady you and teach the sounds of the great outdoors and all its creatures.

 It's a special day for the man who cheered you on down the bases and gave you your first bat and glove. Your pitching partner, fishing and hunting buddy, all wrapped up in one.

 When you fell he was there to catch you and help you back on the road to growing up. If you hurt, so did he. You didn't know it then, but you do now.

 The first shotgun and that finicky first squirrel high up in the hickories. Dad was there with you and when you squeezed the trigger there was a little bit of him shooting too.

 Teaching you the do's and don'ts. Making sure you had fun but stayed safe and understood the responsibilities that come with fishing and hunting. Hopefully, a few of the lessons still linger.

 Taking less than the limit and understanding the limitations of the resources. Dad showed you those things and taught by example.

 Old hunting coats, faded photographs and torn and tattered boots help bring back the memories. There was old "Buster, Sam and Rip", the liver spotted pointer, a long haired setter and a Labrador as black as the night. All loving companions and part of the family that live today in scrapbooks
of times come and gone.

 Look deep in the pockets of a bird hunter's vest and you'll find an old pipe whose briarwood gives off the scent of some Prince Albert. Maybe a paper shotgun shell or two is hiding in the game pouch where the quail of a long day's walk were carried home for supper.

 Remember who guided you around the briar thickets and called you when the dogs pointed. Ole' dad walked slow and let you catch up and told you your shot was on its mark. Years later you knew you missed but the gentle man at your side made you feel 10-feet tall.

 So tip your hat to the man who made you what you are today. If he's still with you there's time to tell him you love him and several ways to show it.

 If dad is only in the memories then rejoice the good times you had and cast a distant eye toward the sunset over the lake where fish flop, birds head to roost and bobwhites whistle a solemn serenade.
 You might find his legacy lives on in the great outdoors where memories return every sunrise.

Steve McCadams
  is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area and host of The Outdoor Channel's television series  IN-PURSUIT. 




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