It doesn’t take a whole lot to become a father. That is just a natural physical act that too often in this day and age ends with conception when the male refuses to take responsibility for his actions and immediately runs and hides, refuses to pay for the birth or subsequent child support and may never be heard from again.
That is not the person who is the focus of Father’s Day.
A real “father” is just that. He is there through the pregnancy and often there at the birth. But that is when the true “fathering” part of the job really begins.
“Dad” is there to support the wife and the children. He, when physically able, helps feed the baby and change the diapers, he makes certain there is food on the table, he plays a major role in how those children turn out and may even be there to watch when son or daughter is playing Little League or does tumbling.
He is there to support the mother in her daily duties, but, more importantly, he is there when he is needed to help the kids with homework, help sons or daughters with problems as they grow up and there to lend advice and guidance and lead by example as the kids approach adulthood.
Ideally, he is there to walk his daughter down the aisle and to show his son what being a real “father” is all about.
Is this a realistic look at the father of today? Yes and no.
Certainly divorce enters in.
Certainly bad health enters in.
Certainly unemployment enters in.
But a real “father” is there when needed.
Dad lends support to all members of the family, whether they are all living together or not. He is there when he is needed for support. He is there when needed for advice. He is even there sometimes when a financial boost is needed.
And he listens. And he remember what it was like to grow up.
Dad becomes happy when there is success within the family and he mourns along with other family members at times of disappointment and loss.
This is the Dad for whom Father’s Day is meant.
And to all those men who are there when needed, in good times and bad, one can only say, and mean from the heart:
Happy Father’s Day!
Driving around on Sunday was proof enough that Colorado’s Free Fishing Day, which was actually the entire weekend, was not quite the overall success that it was last year.
Fewer than the usual number of persons, both young and old, were visible along the White River, area creeks and Lake Avery.
Unfortunately, incredibly high waters on the creeks and river put a real damper on the quality of fishing this year. The waters that are flowing are at near-record or near-flood stages, and that is not conducive to fishing from the banks with a worm or a fly.
Last year was different in the noticeable number of families out taking advantage of the free fishing time afforded by the state.
Children were everywhere along the lakes and rivers and nearby were the obvious parents or guardians, all having a great time and enjoying the beautiful weather.
Made it up to Lake Avery in mid-afternoon on Sunday, and as the black clouds quickly rolled in toward the lake from the north, not a boat was seen on the mirror-like surface of the pre-storm lake.
Then, in about 60 seconds, one could watch the wind roll across the lake.
As the wind — not a breeze — hit, a gentleman and his son were just launching a boat, causing a discussion among our group that setting sail now was probably not a good idea.
As the wind picked up, we hopped back into the car and turned around to head back down the road to County Road 8 when we noticed that indeed the man and his son were pushing off the west-end dock as the hail hit.
And the hail hit hard. It started very small but didn’t take long to get to about pea-sized then about marble-sized. At about that time, it hit us as a wise move to find a bit of cover.
(Yes, I am paranoid as a hail storm with hail about the size of baseballs in the 1980s caused $19,000 worth of damage to my three-month-old $21,000 new car. Because it was less than six months old, the insurance company wouldn’t total the vehicle. So they paid the $19,000 to replace every body panel, every window and every outdoor light on that car. The only thing that didn’t need to be replaced was the Plexiglas sunroof.)
I remember as a young child going fishing with the entire family (often to Trappers Lake), and that was a major chore for the parents because all seven kids and Mom and Dad would try to get in some good fishing time.
But it was during these times that we learned to get out, enjoy the elements, spend family time together and these times were when we learned how to fish. To this day, the remaining four siblings and I enjoy getting out to wet a line.
By the time I was learning to fish, Dad and my oldest brother, Brian, taught me about baiting, casting, catching and cleaning. Mom, when we got back home, taught us all how to cook what was usually trout. And learning to cook trout taught me the basics of how to cook other fish as well — and I think I do pretty well at that, when I can’t talk my spouse into doing it.
I applaud Colorado Parks and Wildlife for having the free fishing day. Yes, they lose some revenue, but they build on the future when people, both young and old, might not otherwise go fishing.
With the Free Fishing Day(s), the CPW is also looking wisely to the future, hoping to increase the Colorado fishermen and women to want to buy licenses, which helps support the CPW.
It’s all a win-win situation with the CPW gaining in the long run and Colorado families gaining immensely through the entire experience.
For those few who did get to take part over the weekend, here’s to hoping that the fishing was good.
For those who didn’t get out on Saturday or Sunday, or who ran into high water and bad weather, better luck next time you have the chance to get out.
And to the CPW, thanks for the free fishing days and hopefully this will remain a tradition.