In December of last year, we visited Michigan with my two kids and wife, Trang. It was Trang's first time to meet the family, and while there we visited Dad's grave on a snowy, but lovely day. Trang fell instantly in love with Mom and my one wish while there is that she would have had the opportunity to meet Dad in person. Since our return, I have been telling stories about Dad, trying to give her and the kids more of a sense of what kind of person, father, and grandfather he was.
One memory of Dad surfaced after we left the cemetery on that snowy day and drove past Sugarloaf Lake. When I was around 12 or 13, Dad took me fishing on Sugarloaf. We purchased some bait (nightcrawlers) and rented a boat at the little store on the lake. We fished for hours with minimal results and when the bait was running out, decided to head back. I pulled in my pole and Dad instructed me to row back leisurely while he trolled with the last worm. Not far from the dock he had a big bite and after a brief struggle pulled in a large bass (later turned out to be 15+ in). We got pretty excited and Dad quietly told me to row really slow as he threw out his line with about one third of a worm attached to a single hook on the harness. He said he wanted to get the big brother of the fish he had just caught. Sure enough, a few seconds later something big hit the line, and this time the struggle lasted awhile. As Dad maneuvered the fish to the side of the boat we could see it was quite a bit larger than the previous one. As he pulled it out, to me it looked like nothing short of a monster (later turned out 18+ in.)! What I remember most over these many years is how happy Dad was to catch those fish the he did. On the way home he kept saying, wow, we caught those on the last nightcrawler! I remember he made me feel very much part of it by praising my calm and patient rowing.
I was fortunate to have a handful of good times fishing with Dad, but this on in particular stands out in my memory.
- Dan Bush