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There are Many Ways to Say "I Love You"

Updated on December 9, 2012

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.


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    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 

      7 years ago


      I understand. Was it difficult communicating with your dad throughout his lifetime? Were the two of you close? Did you feel loved and appreciated or did you feel kind or empty inside and cheated? Did you ever come to realize why your dad was wired the way he was? If you did come to an understanding of why your dad was the way he was, did that knowledge help you in any way?

      Sorry, Arb, I don't mean to pry, but if you don't mind answering these questions I would sure like to hear what you have to say. I have always been interested in the father/son dynamic and you have such an interesting and engaging personality, I just would like to know more...hope you don't mind.

      Better run, but give my best to the Misses!

      P.S. In what region of Oregon do you reside? I lived in Eugene for a while and loved it and to this day the Florence area has a very special place in my heart.

      Best wishes - L.R.

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from oregon

      Hi lone ranger! Thanks for the read and yes,he remained stoic. I suppose, as are most of us, I am the residue of both father and mother.She was his opposite and I, a little of both.

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 

      7 years ago

      Sorry the fish didn't cooperate, Arb.

      I'm curious, did your dad remain this stoic throughout his life?

      You seem to be warm and engaging, so how did you come to be this way?

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      8 years ago from Lagos

      So sweet a story with happy ending. So your father loved you then you must be lucky. If i had been around i would have given him a big hug cos he laid the foundation. Not everybody is opportuned to have such privilege as you had. Be blessed

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      It gives me a big lump in my throat, Alan. What a precious tribute to your Dad and that moment of bonding.

      I certainly miss you!

    • arb profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from oregon

      I suppose the things that really matter are truely, simple. Unfortunately, the complicated things keep us from where we ought to be. I look forward to reading your work and adding another friend to my life. It brightens the day where shadow seeks its way.

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      Your perceptions and interpretations of the seemingly simple things in life are wonderful! I am a fan!


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