Happy Daddy's Day, Dad
By Eddie Jones
Honor your father and your mother…. Exodus 20:12
Dad never much cared for sailboats. He was a motorboat man with a special affection for outboards that were in disrepair. To my knowledge, Dad never had an outboard motor that ran for an entire afternoon, but that never stopped him from taking a chance on an overused, under-serviced Johnson. Those hot, windless days we spent on the water watching Dad tinker on his outboard helped to plant within me a love for the sea that not even trash in a carburetor can kill.
When I was eight-years-old I was sure my father was the greatest man alive. He was a tall, lanky fellow with shoulders so broad he could carry me around like a lightweight jacket. He taught me to bait my own hook, and when he thought I was a pretty fair fisherman, he took me with him to the coast where we share a small tent on Topsail Island. Early in the morning, as the sun erupted beneath the horizon, we'd cast our lines past the breakers and at night I'd haul my sleeping bag onto the pier to nap at the heels of my father. Dad wasn't the best fisherman, but he sure loved to fish and while I never learned to love fishing the way Dad did, I always loved fishing with him.
A few years before he died, Dad gave up fishing. Said they didn't bite like they used to. Dad came to like his satellite dish and cable box, and hearing from his boy when I was safely back home.
I thought of Dad on my last sailboat delivery to the Bahamas. I was about to end my 3-hour watch when the trolling line sang out in that octave that lets you know it's a big one. There may be plenty of fish in the ocean, but nobody likes losing one when you're hungry, and we were too thrilled with the prospect of fresh seafood to toy with that fish. We brought him alongside gaffed him and killed him and let the tuna soak in lemon while we celebrated our catch with high-fives. I can't remember the last time a fish tasted that good. Dad would have loved it.
So here's to Dad and fathers everywhere, both in heaven and on earth, who push us to find our passion and explore the potential that lies within us. Happy Daddy's Day, Dad. I miss you.
Copyright © 2013 Eddie Jones. Used by permission.
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Eddie's young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, Eddie's first middle grade novel in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina.
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