A Giant Leap of Faith
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The Magical Moments

The Magical Moments

Practicing with my new Zebco fishing pole
Practicing with my new Zebco fishing pole

Awakening to a light dusting of snow, the spring weather didn’t seem to be cooperating with the first day of trout season. However, it didn’t stop the avid fishermen from staking out their spots on the watery spot at the crack of dawn. Hours later my father rowed our small aluminum boat, with me and my mother aboard, to a leftover spot. Dressed in several layers of clothes, I sat shivering as a kid on the metal bench. Looking over the side, I wondered if the fish were frozen in the lake or if it was too cold for them to be hungry.

We weren’t in our secluded place long enough to even get bored before something magical happened. The jerking motion I felt coming from underneath the glistening water tugged at my emotions, as well as my fishing pole. I wasn’t sure what was trying to get my attention at the other end of the pole, but whatever it was, there was no doubt in my mind that it was trying to pull me in with it. I knew I needed my dad’s strong hands to help me bring in my catch. His eyes were filled with excitement as we shared in the anticipation of what was to become my favorite father-daughter childhood memory.

My dad kept bragging that it was going to be a big one. I beamed from ear to ear as he helped me reel in my trophy. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if it turned out to be a mucky, large tree branch attacking my fishing pole. Being able to spend this rare moment of time with my dad was enough for me.

I giggled hard as my dad finally yanked the fish right out of the water, like pulling a loose tooth. The silvery, rainbow-colored fish bounced around our small boat while Dad tried to pull the hook out of its mouth. We kept trying to remember to quiet down, so we wouldn’t scare all the other hungry, cold fish away.

As we headed back to the dock, Dad proudly shared my news with all the fishermen we passed who had been camped out since sunrise on the water. He wanted my big fish weighed as soon as possible. There was a lot of commotion being made over how I, a young girl, made my debut as a fisherman. At the store by the lake, I was surprised to learn that my fish was the biggest one caught for that first day of trout season.

The dad who took me fishing that day was one of four fathers who have come and gone throughout my life as the result of adoption, divorce, and remarriage. Even as I have struggled with feelings of being abandoned numerous times, my favorite childhood memory was one thing no one could take away from me. My “fishing dad” left me with a lasting impression of what I have always truly longed for in a father.

Years later as an adult, I pictured myself sitting on a weather-worn log overlooking that same crystal-clear water. I have needed to come back to a place I’ve dreamed about so many times in my life. The beauty of nature was still as breathtaking as ever. The mountains that almost touched the sky looked as though they are sprinkled with powdered sugar, and the peaceful lake gently danced over the rocky shores at my feet. I felt God was “leading me beside still waters to restore my soul.”

Even through the tears, regrets, and the disappointments over the years, I try not to let go of those good memories of my dad’s strong hands helping his little girl catch her very first fish. The same way I held onto my fishing pole bobbing over the water, trustingly, I hold on to my hope and faith through the eyes of a child. I feel God’s reassuring hands wrapping gently around mine as I experience not only the magical moments of life but also its challenges.

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  • dave says:

    Beautiful , well done Jo. I love you

  • Kali says:

    I love this post. Thank you for being my true friend. We need to go fishing sometimes together.

    Love you enough


  • What a wonderful story and you share it your very unique fashion. One can feel the excitement and the elements of nature. This is a fantastic memory for you.

  • Camilla Hudson says:

    I really enjoyed this blog. It brought back memories of me and my dad in a boat. We would spend from sun up to sun down in a boat, fishing. Many a day I came home blistered from the sun but I loved every minute of our time together. I was always “Daddy’s little girl” and even though he has been gone for years, I still am. Those times together were so meaningful to me. I will never forget.
    Thanks for this blog. I can see it all in my mind and I’m with you… enjoying it also. Fisherwomen know what it’s all about.

  • Linda Willis says:

    This is the best yet! I Love it JoAnne…and I love you my dear friend!

  • Jeff Hancock says:

    Very good story, JoAnne!

  • Leigh says:

    I think this one is my favorite! The happiness and excitement…great memories.

  • That is truly a beautiful memory, and congrats to you for having caught the biggest fish of the day! Wow!! It’s a wonderful lesson to hold on to the sweet memories despite later events. xo

  • I’m so glad you have such a warm (emotion-wise if not temperature-wise!) and intimate memory with your fishing dad. So cool that a young girl on her first fishing trip made the catch of the day 🙂

    This story is a beautiful metaphor, too.

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  1. Well written! Thanks for sharing I really connected with this one. Peace and Love!
  2. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  3. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  4. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  5. I love you❤