I've fly-fished for trout in Idaho's famous Silver Creek. I've deep-sea fished on a yacht in Hong Kong Harbor. I've spearfished for cod in Peru. And I've battled gigantic marlin off Florida's Gold Coast.
However, my favorite fishing memories are those days of being a kid sitting on a dock with nothing but a plastic fishing rod and an empty coffee can filled with worms.
As a young boy, I spent virtually all my summers at a beautiful camp in Maine located on the Saco River. For two whole months, I'd ride horses, canoe in British Columbia, climb Mt. Washington, kayak in Lovell Pond and camp out at Sebago Lake. It was during those amazing summers that I first developed my love for fishing.
Being single in Manhattan during my late 20's put fishing on hold for quite some time. It really came down to making choices. Should I go to a friend's new nightclub with a bunch of models or go to bed early so I can wake up at 4:00 am and go fishing? Spend a week in the Caribbean golfing with buddies or freeze to death by myself in Montana? Eat canapes on a terrace in Paris or munch on stale beef jerky and gorp while patching holes in my leaky tent?
You can imagine which decisions I chose.
But recently I've rekindled my love of fishing.
Why? Because my father-in-law LOVES to fish.
As many of you sadly know, BossLady's father was recently diagnosed with inoperable bile duct cancer and has been given only 3-6 months to live. Ever since we heard the devastating news, we've been flying out to Texas practically every weekend to not only spend time with him but also to create new memories for all of us. Particularly the Peanut.
My FIL has worked six days a week for his entire life The only time he ever took a vacation was to spend time with family or go on a church convention. He's a noble man who truly believes that idle hands are the devil's tools. In fact, before we sent him and his wife to Italy this year as a 50th wedding anniversary present, he hadn't been on a vacation or left the country in over twenty-five years!
In one of life's ironic twists, my father-in-law's cancer has sadly given him time to do the things that are purely for his sole enjoyment. And, more than anything else, he enjoys spending his remaining time on the planet fishing.
So every weekend, we rent this awesome pontoon boat and go fishing together. My FIL spends days setting up our fishing gear; my MIL and the Peanut prepare the food; BossLady and I are in charge of stocking up on live bait, lures, and beef jerky at the local Wal-Mart.
It's been great spending all this time together fishing as a family. I love seeing my FIL so energized and focused on catching fish. I love watching BossLady lay out on the boat as she works on her tan. I love watching the Peanut give names to all the fish that we catch ("hello, Marlin! Hi, Nemo!") And personally I love that this opportunity is giving me a chance to rekindle my long-lost love affair with fishing.
This past weekend, we finally got Peanut her own fishing pole. She was so excited that she not only slept with it but she also spent the entire morning practicing her casting in the swimming pool. Now, as any parent will tell you, a great part of the joy in being a parent lies in seeing your child go through new life experiences. You see wonderful things through their eyes and, in the process, you tend to experience life in a completely different way. Moments like that are so life-affirming that it almost makes you forget about all the whining, the tantrums, and the ongoing battle over taking a bath.
And while I've always been a believer that ALL kids are cute, I have to say, in all seriousness, have you ever seen anything cuter in your life than my daughter in her fishing gear? Christ, it's like looking at bunch of newborn kittens kissing a unicorn underneath a rainbow!
I've always believed that life is short so I've tended to take a very carpe diem approach to life. So far, I think I've succeeded. I've traveled to 51 countries all over the world and have experienced so many incredible adventures during the course of my lifetime. However, maybe it's due to my father-in-law's illness or my approaching 40th birthday but lately I've decided to add a few more things to my life list.
To start off, I've decided to start kayaking in the Hudson River every weekend, take cooking classes, and volunteer at a place that tutors adult illiterates.
See, I have this theory that, too frequently, we take the easy way out in life and are content with the daily status quo. And c'mon. Let's face it. We're a lazy nation. As Dennis Miller once said, we're the only nation in the entire world that can cook food in a microwave and yell, "faster! faster!"
But more importantly...what are YOU going to do? Tell me something you've always wanted to do but have continued to put off. It doesn't have to be anything grand. Just tell me something that you've always wanted to do during your lifetime. Now, get off your ass and do it. Put it here in the comments so you can come back and remind yourself of your promise.
Because not only is life short but let's face it, there's nothing on TV these days anyway!