A Wasted Day Fishing???
A father and son view the time they've spent together very differently.
In the faint light
of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and
made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little
half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box
toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph
album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for
the source that had drawn him here.
It began with the fond recollection of
the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a
photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently
opened the long-buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories.
Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the
past was more alive in his heart than his present aloneness.
Setting aside one of
the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal
from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it
before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth
always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white
Opening the yellowed
pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an
unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that
spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy
who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had
grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the
attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and
carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.
Entry after entry
stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener
feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was
accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of
those days were far different from his own. But how different?
Reminded that he had
kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he
closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the
cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to
keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the
wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted
stairway that led to the den.
Opening a glass
cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal.
Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each
other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold,
while his son's was tattered and the name "Jimmy" had been nearly
scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters,
as though he could restore what had been worn way with time and use.
As he opened his
journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out
because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat
handwriting were these words:
Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a
With a deep sigh and
a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for
the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the
Went fishing with my dad. Best day of my life!