Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is special. Spending time with dad in the outdoors can make the day a time to remember.
Father’s Day in the outdoors can be celebrated fishing, or with a picnic in the backyard or at a nearby park. There are many fun activities to be enjoyed with Dad.
Mother’s Day was created first. Then came Father’s Day which was created early in the twentieth century. Celebrated on different days in different countries, Father’s Day is believed to first have been celebrated on July 5, 1908, at the Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont, WV.
Despite support from many churches and the YMCA, it was many years later before the day became official. Although a congressional bill was introduced in 1913, and President Calvin Coolidge supported the day in 1924, it wasn’t until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation and it became a federal holiday.
It was my father, who introduced me to fishing and the outdoors. However, my mother, also loved the outdoors.
Our early fishing trips involved walking several miles down railroad tracks to Big Creek. We couldn’t afford a car. so our feet provided the transportation. We carried poles, other gear, and some snacks.
Most of the fish we caught were small. The fish I landed were little sunfish. Once in a while, I caught one big enough to keep for dinner, but size didn’t matter to me. It was the adventure of the fishing trip that mattered. I spent most of my time exploring the creek bank and the old concrete railroad trestle that spanned the creek. It would have made a good setting for one of those ghost hunter television shows.
The trip to the creek always seemed shorter than the walk back home, especially on a hot summer day. Dad would carry the fish. We never seemed to mind the distance. The trip always was fun, and I looked forward to the next one.
After several years, we bought an old, used bright red Studebaker pickup truck. Then, our fishing horizons expanded. We could drive to ponds, the Wabash River, and eventually my folks saved money for our first fishing vacation at Guy’s Camp on Lake Freeman in north central Indiana. It probably took place over Father’s Day weekend.
At Lake Freeman, Dad taught me how to assemble, put out, and run or check a trot line for fish.
Dad and I, plus the family dog (creatively named Boy), would bait the hooks with chicken livers for catfish, and a few of his special dough balls for carp. He cooked the dough balls and added a small amount of strawberry jello.. It worked.
I still have fond memories of this first vacation fishing trip. I can picture the tiny cabin, the little cove it overlooked, the wooden boat, and the Monon Railroad bridge where anglers tied their boats for night fishing.
There were the “silvers” (white bass). I had never heard of them, but found them exciting. A school of the fish would hit the surface chasing minnows. “The silvers are firing”, my dad would shout. We would try to row to them and throw a bait their way, but the feeding frenzy was over by the time we arrived at the former scene of the “firing”. However, it was exciting, and I can see it vividly in my mind more than a half century later.
Father’s Day today often is about gifts. People think they need to buy Dad something and one of those four dollar cards. Then, take him to a nice restaurant for dinner. That’s OK, but Father’s Day should be about creating memories. If possible, spend time with Dad.
A cookout, a dinner, a trip to the creek or lake shore for bluegill just might create a special memory. And please, leave the smart phone in the car.