*Editor’s Note: This is a post by contributing writer, Philip Waldrop.
As far back as I can recall my dad was taking me out fishing, on hikes, hunting, and many other outdoor activities.
Many of my most cherished memories come form time I have spent outdoors with my father and family. Also many of the lessons I learned came from experiences I had while enjoying the wonders of the great outdoors. Most of the stories I share will be from the many fishing and hunting trips we went on over the years. The first of these (below) was the day that taught me dad really knew what he was talking about.
One day while being carried away by the current of the Bear River I learned that my dad really does know best.
It all stared on one of our regular fishing trips to the Bear River. At the time we lived in Evanston, Wyoming and it was easy to take a quick trip over to the Bear River after my dad got off work.
We were having a great time fishing but hadn’t caught any fish yet this particular day. We thought we were going home skunked. I was working the river up stream from my father when my line got snagged. After several attempts to get the line free I decided to wade out to the middle of the river to free my line. What could go wrong? It seemed a simple enough task. I had seen experienced fishermen do the same. However, it was a big river with a strong current and I was a young boy around the age of nine.
As I waded out in the river my father yelled up to me, “Son don’t do that, you will get swept down stream.” I thought to myself, “Dad you don’t know what you’re talking about…I will be fine. It’s just a little water.” As I proceeded into the middle of the river, my dad proceeded to tell me not to do it, and I proceeded not to listen. Suddenly I felt the strangest thing. My feet were being taken off the ground and I was being pulled down scream. The water at this point was far too deep for me to touch the bottom and in a state of panic I let go of the fishing Pole. I started to work my way towards shore and upon reaching it my dad grabbed me out of the water. I was lucky all that really happened was I got a little scared and wet. He reiterated that what I had done was not a good idea. This time I believed him…too late. We followed the river bank down looking for the pole but never retrieved it.
At home several hours later I sat and thought to my self, “Wow, my dad really dose know best!” Remembering this lesson has paid off many other times in my life. On one fishing trip to a river in Louisiana we were sitting just below a dam. My father was about ten feet away from me when I saw a fish that was roughly three feet long. It was just right there, in the calm slow pools at the bank of the river. I walked extremely close to the fish, hovering over it. The fish didn’t seem bothered by me so I decided I was going to catch the fish with my hands. I had done it before and thought it was just another big fish.
As I reached out to catch the fish my dad yelled out to me not to go for the fish! As competitive as we can be about catching fish I could have though, “He just wants this thing for himself.” However, I pause and remembered, dad knows best. I backed out of my plan. When I asked dad why I shouldn’t have tried to catch the fish he said it was an alligator gar. Alligator gars have razor sharp teeth and scales.
It would have torn me up. That was one of the many times I was glad I listened to my dad.