“This is the best Christmas gift ever. It’s like a reuniting of father and sons.”
I’ll never forget those words from my dad nearly five years ago. The gift he spoke of wasn’t an expensive one, wasn’t the newest fad in technology, wasn’t a piece of sports memorabilia.
The gift was less about what it was and more about what it would do. The gift was a simple Shakespeare Ugly Stick spinning rod and reel. One you can grab for $40 off the shelf at a Walmart, Dick’s or Bass Pro Shops.
What it would do, in the eyes of my dad, was priceless. It meant a chance to spend more time with his son, create new memories; a connection that I hadn’t realized was missing till that Christmas Day.
In the time since, I have spent more time fishing with my dad than anyone else. We’ve been bank beaters, fly fishermen, and most recently river rats. We’ve caught everything from sunfish to bass to pickerel to trout.
We even make our own tackle these days. Hours spent together that otherwise would have been lost to time and a way to make up for lost time.
My dad and I never went fishing together when I was a kid, didn’t spend much time together outside the house. See, he started his own lawn care business in his 40’s. After growing tired of busting his hump for someone else in a machine shop, he decided to bust his hump for himself.
That meant spending long hours from sun up till sun down, six and seven days a week building a business and providing a life for his family. It also meant he would miss my high school baseball games which mom taped on a camcorder for him to watch later. I didn’t get it back then, it made me angry. But looking back on it now I get it, I respect it.
Building that business left little time for his hobbies and passions. One of which was fishing, something he used to do with his dad when he was younger. After learning I had fallen in love with the sport, dad would tell me stories of how he and my granddad would go fly fishing and try to figure out which flies to use to get the trout to rise.
By the time that Christmas morning rolled around, my granddad had passed away which gave even more meaning when dad uttered those words: “It’s like a reuniting of father and sons.” Not only was he holding something that would connect him to his sons, but in a way he was holding something that connected him to his dad.
Our parents pass a lot of things down to us. I’m lucky enough to have had my dad pick something back up from me, something that unites generations of fathers to sons and sons to fathers.
* Jeff Herman is the managing editor at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page . You can read more of his columns here .