When it comes to fathers, I've won life's lottery.
My dad is the best. I've said it before and at great length, so I'll not type endlessly here.
I was going through some photos recently and I came across this one of me and these old pics of papa. I've never posted even a teeny bit of my likeness here before, but this one is SOOOOO long ago that I suppose you might not recognize me. This was about 16 or 17 years ago, and Dad and I had been fishing on Lake Cleburne all night. [Yes, I forgive myself for that ugly jacket and that beastly hat. It was cold and it was the only cap I had, and I liked it because it was so immaculately tacky.] We had several fishing poles staged out over the edge of the boat beside each of us. As I cast one line, I said "I'm going to catch a fish with this one tonight." Nothing was biting, but we had a nice night occasionally chatting a bit, and just being still and quiet. It was a lot of fun. In amongst all that not-biting/non-action the fish were doing, we kept seeing a big fish on the depth finder. We stayed for hours and hours knowing that big fish would eventually hit one of the many attractive baits we were dangling. Well, finally about 4 or 5 AM, we gave up. Dad started reeling in his lines, and I picked up that first pole I'd meant to catch a fish on, and I reeled for a while. We talked as I reeled and reeled. Dad had reeled in 2 lines and mine didn't seem like it was ever going to reel in. I said "oh, that's weird, my line is run all the way out and it's at the knot on the end-- it's not winding up at all." Dad said "you've got a fish on that line." With some great effort, we finally got the line reeled in and turns out it was this 18 pound beastie of a catfish on the end. We should have let it go, because any such leviathan would surely be inedible, utterly. We gave it to a relative who cooked it with unsatisfactory results.
Anyhoo, Dad's fish photo was taken when he was in Panama in the army in 1963, a couple years before I was born. I'm hoping this is not an endangered species or something. I liked the toothsome symmetry of Dad's fish photo and mine. The other photo, of course, is of Dad during senior year of high school. Dad's always been a very handsome man, but he's unaffected by it-- not ruined or vain as people so often tend to be. Dad is the all-around smartest person I've ever met, and the kindest and best. He's a good-natured soul, but a phenomenal badass. He's everything that is admirable in a person, and I aspire to be as much like him as possible, even if it's only to say that occasionally a very large fish jumps on my line.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.