One Proud Papa

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 17:14 -- Elissa

She made her way through the treacherous grass forest. Step after step, she journeyed as quickly as her short legs could take her. Jeans became drenched from the knee down as the dew from the sun's morning rise grabbed onto them for dear life.

This was an adventure.

Not just any adventure, but the adventure of a tiny four-year-old, stumbling and tripping as she made her way from the white pick-up truck to the lake that lay ahead of her. The adventure of getting powdered doughnuts for breakfast. The adventure of hearing insect chatter like she has never heard before. The adventure of going to a place that not only had a lake, but horses that whinnied playfully into the morning air. The adventure of observing nature's vast presence: the birds, the flowing green trees, and the water on the lake rippling through the sun's mighty reflection. She could not get enough of its beauty...until she stepped into a groundhog hole and fell face first onto the ground. That's when a withered yet strong hand helped her up.

"Watch your step, squirt," he would say, "We don't want to take you home without catching any fish!"

This was the adventure of learning my grandfather's favorite past-time.

Which was fishing. Fishing was his favorite past-time. If he was still alive today, it would still be his favorite past-time. Now, his legacy lives on through me.

He has taught me everything I know when it comes to putting on a squriming grub, to casting, to reeling in a fish. Well, what about taking off a fish? Nah, that was too disgusting. I did not find sticking my tiny, tender, little thumb into the boney mouth of a flippity floppity fish just to rip out the hook. I believed that to be a man's job. So I would take my rod over to my grandpa, look at him with pleading blue eyes, and ask,

"Papa, would you please take off the fish?"

There seemed to be something more when I fished. I felt..different, more relaxed, at ease, peaceful. When my life was in this everlasting hurrican of stress, I felt calm if I had that trustworthy rod in my hand. I had an atmosphere of confidence. Or maybe, I just felt connected to my grandpa.

Yeah, that's it. I felt connected to the person who has been gone for almost seven years. The person who has not seen me grown into a 

Photographer.

Musician.

An honor student.

Reporter.

A leader.

A soloist.

An aunt of three nephews.

A bookworm.

A young woman.

A lover...

Of fishing.

It almost...no, it is unfair. Completely, ireevocably unfair that I can accomplish so much or achieve beyond any of my or my parents' expectations and the one person I want to make proud of me

is dead.

He can't see the things his granddaughter has done. He can't see the pictures she has created. He can't read her news articles in the school newspaper. He can't give her that yearned pat on the back when she comes up after her last band solo of her senior year and say, "That was the best damn solo I ever heard," even if she played it terribly.

Yet I sit here, with that tranquil sense of calmness next to a different lake with the same memories, fishing. I cast like my Papa used to cast, flawlessly with the occastional, "Where did my hook go?!" and finding it in the tree behind me. I even gained the bravery to take the fish off the hook! And yes, even with these new things I have learned, I still find one thing missing: my Papa right beside me. But instead of sitting next to me, he resides in the heart, where he stands tall with a grin on his face, watching me reel in my catch, as he says, "That's the best damn fish I have ever seen."

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