A few nights ago, I thought about “Father’s Day.” I often wake in the wee hours, which are my most fruitful time to contemplate the state of the world. Things such as, did I forget to water my veggie garden or put the trash bin out for collection. The small items require as much thought as the big ones.
The restaurants will be packed to the limit this coming Sunday, and Bass Pro Shop and Amazon will be working overtime until Saturday night. But, of course, it wasn’t always this way.
Like Mother’s day, it wasn’t an official government-sanctioned holiday until the 70s, although the American public has recognized the special day since 1910.
During the second world war, it gained ground because the retailers figured out how to make a few extra bucks by plucking our heartstrings with schmaltzy advertising. As a result, hallmark has sold Billions of cards, and American retailers continue to milk this golden cash cow dry.
Around our house in the 1950s, “Father’s Day” wasn’t considered an extravaganza. My Dad mowed the yard or made repairs on our home, Mom made him a special meatloaf with cornbread, and my sister and I gave him our homemade construction paper cards. Sometimes, he received a gift, but not often. One year Mom purchased a fancy fishing lure for us to give him. Large shiny treble hooks and feathers were sure to make any fish want a bite. Another year, a nice shirt and a pair of fishing sneakers. He never expected much because money was always tight, and folks of his generation weren’t wired like they are now.
In 1969, I gave my Dad a Garcia saltwater fishing reel for ” Father’s Day.” Captian Rick Corn, who owned the Sports Center in Port Aransas, gave me a “poor boy’s” deal, or I could have never afforded such a gift. It was a beautiful bright red and chrome reel, nestled into a padded black leather case. Unfortunately, it was too pretty to use. The saltwater would tarnish the colors and the shining chrome within a few weeks. Then it would be like our other working reels.
For years to come, during our fishing trips into the Gulf, I noticed he never put the reel on a pole. He said it would be a shame to lose it overboard like we had a few others when a 40lb King Fish hits our bait at light speed, and the rod escapes the holder and goes flying into the water. He kept it locked in the storage closet of our family beach house. So I forgot about the reel for many years.
My father passed away in 1996. So when my sister and I sold the beach house in 2001, I ran across the reel in the storage closet; it had never been on a pole. It was as shining and beautiful as it was the day I gave it to him.
Years ago, I passed the reel on to my youngest son, Wes. He knows the family story behind the reel.
He and his family live on South Padre Island, just a short drive from Port Aransas. His home is on a canal that leads to the Gulf. His Blue Wave fishing boat moored to his dock behind his home. As of yet, I have not seen the reel on his rods, so I will assume he treasures the 52-year-old reel as my father did, by not risking its loss in the Gulf. One day, he may pass it on to my grandson, and perhaps he will catch a record-breaking Kingfish with that reel.