*I recently came across this recollection in an old folder--a small, recorded memory from my twenties.
The first time I went fishing with my dad as when we were in the Y Indian Guides. He was Big Buffalo and I was Little Buffalo. We had itinerant Pow-Wows at the teepees of other friends and their dads. I don't remember a single discussion from any of those meetings except planning the big summer trip, which would be a weekend at a lake in Wisconsin. After that was decided someone pounded a drum. The next thing I knew we were driving in our white Ford station wagon that had a crank wheel roll down back window. Looking out the back, I couldn't wait for this stage of childhood to end.
One kid threw up in the back of the car in the middle of a discussion about who stayed up late to see Johnny Carson. I had, and just before the puke flew, I spied my dad's eye in the rear view mirror. Then we pulled over to clean up the mess.
We parked the car, unloaded our things, and later, walked down a hill toward the water. I had a bamboo fishing rod and we had in our possession a full can of worms. Under the canopy of trees, while negotiating exactly who would hook the worms, I swung the poll over my shoulder and hooked my dad behind the ear. With perfect calm he unhooked himself and we continued toward the lake. We fed the fish all day and caught nothing.
Later that night he went out for drinks with some of the other guys' dads and as he tucked me in to my bunk he asked if there was anything I wanted. Chocolate milk, I said, in the night air, dark and cool, where my dad's face reflected the hallway light. He sighed and met my request before meeting his own taste for beer.
The next time we went fishing was about twelve years later. We chartered a boat and towed for trout, coho and chinook in the waters off Port Washington. My best friend Al was there with his dad and Uncle Sid. All three men, veterans of the Second World War. Our only catch that day was a coho salmon that came in on my line. We had it smoked and wanted to give it my mom for her second wedding but the smokehouse lost it. So they replaced it, and for free, threw in another smoked fish. I told this to my dad over the phone and he said that sounded like a good deal.