Saturday I finally got to go do a little fishing. It was nice to be enticing trout to take a fly and feeling them tug on the line and make a straight rod bend. The weather was perfect for standing in a cold spring-fed creek and I’m good in the way of fishing therapy for at least another couple of days.
But, one of the best parts of this fishing trip was on Saturday evening when I took my four-year old grandson to the river for his very first time. He was armed with his first trout fishing permit and his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle trout net and one of my rod and reel outfits.
He really didn’t have any of the casting stuff down and even struggled with the reeling. But he did a fine job of netting fish.
This is his very first trout ever. I helped him quite a bit but he loved the experience.
Later he got a fish almost completely in and handed me the rod so he could go get his net.
This kid has a fish-tention span of about thirty seconds. He was walking around playing with rocks, talking to people, finding fish guts to examine and all sorts of other things other than learning to fish.
I get pretty impatient. I even thought taking him fishing wasn’t going to work out. But, standing there in the water, I remembered being in that same spot I was standing in on Saturday fifty years ago.
I fished there with dad, Grandpa and lots of other people. I fished there with my buddy George and my pastor from when I was a kid. I had seen a lot of water flow down that river.
I saw a little boy that must have bugged the tar out of his mom and dad that had grown into a gray-bearded old geezer. But this old geezer had a head full of memories, memories of cold water and hot sun, pink-sided fish leaping from the water and the satisfaction of being a part of the noise the water makes as it rolls over the rocks.
It became apparent that I needed to relax and let this boy splashing around making noise and doing all sorts of stuff that isn’t fishing enjoy himself.
This boy needed to be able to look back on this day and be happy.
It isn’t easy to make great memories sometimes. It seems like it is important to try to wedge them in between a lot of “Hey, stop that!” and “Get back over here” and you begin to wonder if there is going to be anything good to get from all this effort except for the thrill of it being over and done.
So, in the midst of all the moments of frustration and thinking this kid was not going to pay attention to any of this fishing stuff, he had moments of reeling in his first trout, netting his first fish, feeling the impossible cold of the water when he fell in on a hot summer day, flinging fish guts into the water and numerous other things that I hope invade his memory someday when he is older and he steps into the water with a fly rod in his hand.
I hope he finds what I have found. I hope he can tie on a fly and let it drift in the current as his mind slows down and the racing thoughts ease into sluggish waves of contentment that linger and ease into each other covering the weight of the world and the worries of tomorrow.
I want to remember that taking this boy fishing isn’t about me. It is about crafting moments he can pluck from his memory when he needs them that bring a smile to his face.
Looking back at the pictures from Saturday, all the chaos of taking this guy to the river melts away and the memories of our success stand tall above it all.
These are the things I want to come racing back to him long after I am gone and he hears the word “Grandpa”.
There are a lot of things I want him to remember. I want him to remember me for being a godly man, for being a good man. But I also want him to remember that I was willing to share my time doing what means so much to me.
I’m going to rest up tonight. I need to store a lot of energy for our next adventure hitting the trout stream.