James. James. Wake up.
Huh?! (The digital clock radio beside my bed says 4:00.)
We’re going fishing.
For some reason, I had a natural aptitude for catching fish. Some call it luck; I call it a gift. It was something I could do with my dad without having to be apprehensively self-conscious. Beyond that, I really enjoyed it. I’m sure the peace and solidarity it brought us greatly influenced my enjoyment.
We’d scan the water looking for currents, insect populations, minnows, and weed beds. Using this information we’d choose our lures and bait deliberately. Dad would check my knots.
“Hate to lose the big one because of a slippery knot.”
Mostly, fishing was silent. My happiest childhood memories of my dad are wrapped in the most comfortable blanket of silence. Without saying a word, Dad would look over and smile when I caught one. I’d hold the fish up and Dad, like Caesar, would decide the fish’s fate. Little ones and really big ones were released. Small fish are too hard to fillet and the really big ones don’t taste good.
In the turmoil of our strained father-son relationship, fishing was our refuge.
On the day of my wedding celebration, my good friend and former bandmate, Quinn, did the Toast to the Groom. In it, he said he noticed a change in my songwriting when I met Tanya. The music was happier and my lyrics often featured fish or fishing.