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In the Tacklebox

We live very near to Lake Macatawa, and the rumor has it that there are fish swimming in that lake.  I’m not much of a fisherman.  Tell the truth: I don’t know what I’m doing.  My son doesn’t know this.  All he knows is that my silence on such matters must mean that I’m holding out on him.

The short walk down my road to the Fire Dock (thusly named because it used to be the place where water fire trucks could refill when they were in need of water in a hurry) is a nice time to chat with Alex and discuss the finer points of walking down a busy road without getting hit by a car.  We made the journey recently on bike.  The tackle box was bungeed to my bike and I held the rod in my left hand while trying to manage the road and the care of Alex with the right.

When we reached the Fire Dock I got his rod ready to go and sat down to watch the boats go by and enjoy my son quickly learning more about the sport than I know.  I sat on the bench and looked through the few things in my son’s tacklebox: some hooks, bobbers, weights, fake worms, pliers, flashlight, emergency rain poncho, and a knife.

The knife was a small lockblade with the name and address of an Oklahoma car dealership printed on the side.  My mind suddenly drifted back to where I had gotten it.  My father gave it to me.  I must have been in college.  He asked me if I had a knife in my pocket.  I told him no.  English/Music majors didn’t have much need for a pocketknife.  He reached into his pocket and gave it to me.

It’s one of the very few things I can think of that he ever gave me that was his.  I must have treasured it because I still have it.  It’s not much use to me…sits in my son’s tacklebox and gets opened and shut 5-6 times a year down at the Fire Dock.  While I don’t know much about fishing, the knife stands as a reminder to me.  I want to give my son and daughter more than a knife.  I want to give them my time, my energy, my stories, my love, and my faith.  I want them to know me and the God I love.

There are many things we pass on to our children…things we probably inherited from our parents: receding hairlines come to mind.  Some of them require counseling; some of them are to be celebrated.  I’m sure I’ll pass along both kinds to my kids.  Just this, though: I want to do some of them very intentionally – like spending time fishing: enough time fishing so that my son realizes I don’t have a clue.

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