It was the first time in his life that my son left the house alone for his first fishing excursion of the new season. That is, the first trip of the year has usually been a father and son event. This year, however, his mother and I had made plans to venture out of town with another couple that morning, so Jordan loaded his tackle into my truck and headed off to try out a new-found fishery at a church member's farm lake.
We hadn't been gone from home an hour before the cell phone rang. It was Junior Fish Hunter on the line, and I could tell he was shaking.
"Dad -- I was reeling in that big spinner bait -- you know -- you've got one just like it -- and something followed it all the way to the bank and splashed me! I don't know what it was, but it was big!"
"Slow down, Son," I answered. "Just keep doing what you're doing. They are probably really hungry and fairly easy to annoy. Just keep throwing that spinner bait. That should stir 'em up on a muggy day like today."
He said he loved me and that he'd check in later and ended the call.
Later turned out to be about 10 minutes.
"Dad -- I did what you said and kept throwing that spinner bait and I just caught the biggest bass I have ever caught," he screamed. "It's big."
"Big enough to get it mounted -- that big?" I queried.
"No," he answered. "But it is big. Probably over 22 inches long and I don't know how heavy. Not big enough around to be full of eggs, but it's pretty big."
"O.K. Get back to fishing and we'll see you later," I said.
"O.K. Bye. Love you!" was what I heard just before the line went dead once again. A half-hour later he phoned again to tell me he had landed "about seven" keepers since we had talked last, and that he was having a great time.
"Wish you were here!" he added.
My eyes moistened. My head spun. I started to tremble. I felt as if I might have a seizure or a crying fit or something worse. My little boy had grown into a young man and was out there fishing the first day of the season -- WITHOUT ME!
One of our traveling companions grabbed the phone and called Jordan to tell him we were sitting on the side of the road and that I was crying and that it might be best if he didn't call anymore because it was having an adverse effect on dear old dad and on our plans for the day.
I finally reigned my emotions in and got back on the road, trying to keep my mind off that little lake; trying to keep the van pointed in the right direction, struggling with the wheel every time we passed a river or lake or stream -- or puddle for that matter. But it was tough. The twitch in my casting elbow just kept getting worse.
Later in the day we received another call. This time, it was Jordan calling to report he had finished fishing for the day. Total count: 15 keepers, most around three pounds and many of which ended up back in the lake to be caught another day.
All-in-all, he had a great day at the lake. And he was able to share it with the young grandson of the church member who owns the lake. I guess you'd say he was passing on the blessing.
I'd like to say I taught him everything he knows, but that wouldn't be altogether true.
He learned a lot from his momma, too.