Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Last Sunday was decoration where my dad is buried. He didn't spend much time in church. Nature was his cathedral. He loved spending his time outdoors in the woods or on the river.
My brothers and I helped him build a small cabin on the Warrior where our family spent many weekends. We had a small aluminum boat and a bundle of cane fishing poles that we stored above the exposed rafters of the front porch and could be pressed into service at a moments notice. He taught me how to place a trot line across the river to catch a boatload of fat catfish. He also taught me how to fiddle for worms. People look at me strangely when I mention this because they think I'm pulling their legs but it's true. You can go to the banks of the Warrior River and cut down a small sapling tree leaving the stump a few inches above the ground. You then take a flat river rock and scrape it across the stump and within a few minutes, worms the size of small snakes start coming up out of the soft soil. I guess it's the vibration that drives them up but in a few minutes you can have enough worms to bait a trot line.
We had an old BBQ grill made out of river rocks and a big ol' kettle that we used to fry up the catfish and on days when the haul was good we'd eat fried catfish until they were coming out our ears.
My dad was a quite man who went to work early in life and as a result he quit school in the 5th grade. He could read, though not that well, but in the woods he could read signs and he could read the river and tell you which places would be the best place to catch bream, crappy or a bass.
He passed away in May of 1986 after a long illness and I think about him almost every day. I know that if he were alive today, there is nothing that would please him more on this Father's Day than to take a slow ride down the Warrior River, wet a hook - and if the fishing gods were kind enough to smile on us, cook up a mess of kettle fried catfish.
Happy Father's Day

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