With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, I know that many people will be thinking of their fathers. I hope that you are able to spend some quality time with your father on his special day. For those of us whose fathers have passed on, it will be our memories of time spent with them that will come to mind. For me, most of those memories will be from times that we shared in the outdoors--days that he or I caught a large fish, quail hunting experiences or just the times spent together on our way to or from an outdoor adventure. I know that the times we shared have had a lasting effect on me.
I still quail hunt, sometimes with my dad’s old 16-gauge Model 12 Winchester pump shotgun. I still clean my guns the way he taught me after each use, knowing that he would turn over in his grave if I let any rust appear on any gun--“If you don’t take care of what you have, you’ll never have anything.” I can report that neither the little brown glass bottle nor the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 powder solvent have changed in the past five decades. It’s nice that a few things haven’t.
I still bass fish in ponds, now with my son, and use mostly the same type of lures that my dad and I used. Every time that I fasten a Heddon “Lucky 13″ onto my line, I think of my dad, who preferred it above all others. It’s a beefy plug (wooden then, now plastic) with three sets of treble hooks. It can be cast a great distance and will catch large bass as well as some that are barely bigger than the lure. Other favorites were and are the Rebel Minnow, plastic worms and H & H spinners. My own children now kid me about my antique lures, tackle box and the rod and reel from my childhood, all of which I still use. My Heddon glass rod was salvaged from a fishing neighbor’s trash pile about 45 years ago. My father said it was a good one; I guess I’m not ever going to wear it out.
My father’s influence on my life is not unique. Most children value the time spent with their father, whether or not they realize it at the time. Outdoor activities are a great way to create lasting memories with children, and Missourians are blessed with abundant public land and water for recreation. Get out there and enjoy it and . . . have a happy Father’s Day!