When I was about 11- years-old I saw my dad quietly puttering around in the garage. He didn’t often have time for that, being in the airforce in the l960s.
There seemed to be a lot of tensions and a lot of courses on the Voo Doos — precursor to the F-18 fighter jets - that he had to take as a Corporal. After all, the world was heading towards the Israeli 6 Day War - although no one really knew that at the time. If they did, it was not voiced, verbalized or beaten to rhetorical death by the media. Me and my friends were always proud of our dads ‘protecting’ the world, and would argue about whose dad was going to go to war one day. Of course, we didn’t have a clue what we were talking about.
Back that Sunday afternoon in the garage I was very careful not to make him mad; my mother and sister were top of the list in engaging him in angry tirades and I was too shy, hiding out in my room when voices got too loud.
But that day he was mellowed out, looking into a mental box of some kind - or was that a mental box? It caught my eye. It had one drawer on top that held jewel like glittering baubles and feathers.
My dad, Tap, a nick name for Eddie - don’t ask me - was always gentle with me, but like a volcano that could erupt at any moment, it wasn’t a kind of gentle easily trusted. But he was happy with this little tin box and so I wanted to know more about it.
“Fly fish tackle box”, he said, mesmerized by the same glittering light dance I was. I just looked at them -in their little cribs, one in one at a time. An array of dancing strings of color. For fishing?
I’ve often wondered whatever happened to that beautiful box full of color and dance and history of my dad. It disappeared and I wasn’t on it enough as a topic of concern to watch out for it, leaving the premises of his soul. I would like to have it now.
He obviously loved it - fly fishing - at some point in his life. But, I never saw him go away to do it.
There was only once he mentioned a trip to me, when we went back to Fort Frances, his home town which he hated. We were in Rainy River and he talked about Sleeping Giant park. I wanted to go there. So, I went to the library to find out about it. My dad never mentioned personal stuﬀ to me, so I was kind of excited.
But we never went there. And he never got there on his own. I guess, grown up life got in the way, his way.
As I think about all this in my 60s, I hope grown life doesn’t get so much in my way that I don’t get a chance to fly fish someday, somewhere.
I want to know about it.