Gone Fishin’

5:00 AM Saturday morning the alarm clock goes off. My hand starts instinctively slapping at buttons, “Make it stop! Make it stop!” Just as I start to drift back into the depths of some remote dreamworld I am once again disturbed, only this time my brain is wondering, “What is that noise!?… Oh yeah. Geez. I must be out of my damn mind.” This time I’m awake enough to remember that I’ve agreed to go fishing with my dad today. Great.

I stumble out of bed, get dressed and get the all important coffee brewing. After that I have a couple bowls of Frosted Flakes (Public, NYSE:K) and my first cup of coffee. The baby wakes up during this time so I get to change her diaper and love on her a bit. I then take her to her mother and kiss them both goodbye. I fix a large coffee in a to-go cup and look out the window just in time to see my dad pull up.

I climb into my dad’s old Dodge Ram pickup truck and we’re off to Chumuckla, FL to a fishing lake. Where’s that you ask? Thought you’d never ask. Just check it out on Google Maps. It’s one of those “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” little towns. Here’s a link to their town website if you wanted to get a sense for the place. If it’s any indication of the content you’ll find there they have links to Redneck Parade Links, The Farmer’s Opry, The Chumuckla Goat Farm and Coon Hill Cemetery right on the front page. Seriously folks, you can’t make this up. Not only that, but the website is optimized for dial-up connections. 🙂 Oh goody.

Well, my dad and I both live in Pensacola, FL and it’s about an hour drive to Chumuckla so we had some pretty decent conversation on the way there. When we were getting into the town we actually passed The Farmer’s Opry and my dad commented, “I’ve heard they have a pretty good crowd there on some Friday nights. They sing and have dinner and whatnot.” After a few minutes of reflection I responded, “Well I hear the KKK have a pretty good crowd on some Friday nights too, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.” We both had a good laugh. My dad has always liked my sense of humor… even if he doesn’t necessarily like or approve I think he loves me enough to laugh anyway.

We pass through the center of town, which consisted of a country store, a Tom Thumb gas station, a church and a school then we were on to some farmlands. We drove through some back roads and then my dad cut through the side of what looked like some guys yard. We proceeded down a “path.” It wasn’t really a dirt road. That would imply a well-defined “road.” This was just a beaten path where you could see vehicles had passed before time after time, but weeds and grass still grew up in the center. Trees, vines and weeds grew up around us as we drove through some woods and past a trailer. After several turns and bumps we approached what looked like a hunting lodge of sorts by a lake and were greeted by two yellow labs barking at the tires. We just drove on past them and on down to the lake, finding our way to an overturned metal boat on the opposite side.

FLASHBACK…. Go back in time about 15 years ago. I was just a teenager then. It was the last time my dad and I went fishing. Yeah, you get the picture now. I’m not a fisher. I’m a programmer. Anyway, my dad told me the last time we went fishing it was at a lake much like this one up here in Chumuckla. Interesting. FASTFORWARD.

The day went good or bad… depending on what you were looking for. The weather was an absolute joy. It was chilly in the morning. The sky was crystal blue and the sun was shining. There was a mist floating over the top of the lake. It was a beautiful site… really. It warmed up as the day went on and stayed just as beautiful. What’s that you ask? We’re supposed to be fishing? Yeah, we cast out our lines. And reeled them in. And cast them out. And reeled them in again. I guess it wasn’t really a great day for catching fish. In fact it turned out to be much like that last time we came up here together and went fishing. We did… well I did… catch one fish. It was a one pound bass. I was so excited when I hooked it I thought I was going to yank the poor things head off. Anyway, my dad was very proud of me and I could tell that he just wanted me to catch some more.

The thing I loved about that Saturday was spending the day with my dad. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. When I lived at home we used to spend time in the back yard in our hot tub after a long day and talk for an hour or two about life or things that were bothering us. Or whenever we’d drive somewhere together we’d have a chance to talk about things. Even if we weren’t talking we were spending time together. It was a time for father and son to bond and really build our relationship. We don’t get that much anymore since I’ve grown up and become a father myself. I miss it and am glad I got to experience it again.

Now as exciting as catching that one fish was I’m still not hooked on fishing altogether. I’d much rather be blogging and scrobbling from the comfort of my office chair. On the return trip my dad asked me, “You care anything about fishing on the river.” To which I answered, “You bet!”