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There are Many Ways to Say "I Love You"
My father and conversation, mixed like water and oil. I learned in time, however, that there were more profound ways to convey ideas. As a young boy, I remember going fishing with my father somewhere in upstate N.Y. It was my introduction to the things men do and anticipation lingered like the smell of cut grass. I remember the trip was made longer by the lack of conversation and so I counted cows for hours to pass the time. Somewhere along the way, we stopped and my father bought me the fishing pole, which I would use to tame great fish. It must have been expensive because he kept reading the price tag as though it were his newspaper.
Upon arriving at our destination we launched the small boat and made way for the middle of the lake. We anchored both the boat and our reslove and readied ourselves for the business at hand. Ocasionally my father would cast a smile my way as he prepared the equipment that would conquer the demon fish. When he had finished, he spoke with short instruction " just push this button and throw her in. "
My eyes followed the journey of my rod and reel as they sliced through the cold, morning air and came to rest, precisley where intended. Without hesitation, the lake swallowed up my equipment and carried it to the bottom of the abyss. I turned to find my fathers face and the approval that can only come from such a place. His eyes, however, were locked upon the very place that swallowed up my expensive rod and they did not move from there. In time, he turned and found my eyes, then cast the smile that would affirm and seal, forever, a job done according to instruction. As I waited for him to follow suit, I wondered of the day, of monster fish and the men who come to hunt them. I wondered of my rod and reel and how long it would take them to find the big fish. As my father prepared his own rod, the rod that would follow mine, that would seek wonder from the deep and return it to us, my attention shifted to the sight of his rod slicing the waters surface and sinking to the bottom of the lake.
We did not catch any fish that day. We ate sandwiches and surveyed the wild as men who sit in silence do. Then we began the return trek home, just as we had come. Free of conversation, counting cows and wondering of fish that seem smarter than the men who hunt them. Today, I remember fishing with my father. I remember conversations we didn' have. Most of all, I remember the way he said, "I love you". It has lasted a lifetime.