(This article is actually a reprint of an article I wrote for Outdoor News and published June 4, 1999.  After my mother and father-in-law moved into assisted living quarters we cleaned out their house and found this.  Amazing the things important to family and thought to share it with you here as we move closer to Father’s Day!)

Sometimes you don’t know the real value of a gift until after you’ve received it.  During last yea’s bass opener, Erik and Chad, my two boys and I headed to the north end of Big Sauk Lake, a lake that’s been my playground since my dad took me there.

From water skiing to fishing, hunting bluebills in the late fall to spearing suckers in the spring Sauk was a new friend then and an old friend now. Back then my dad and I waded the shores in search of bass.  Now I’m the dad and we’ve traded hip boots for state-of-the-art gear.  But the bass still swim its shallows. 

This day started like many before.  Breakfast and a hhug for mom then it’s “let’s fish!”

I ride shotgun now since Erik has his safety permit.  Up the lake we cruise to a shallow bay.  I watch as two youngsters cast.  I watch the two of them stand shoulder to shoulder casting plastic worms to the bank.

Erik throws next to shore into a thick mat of duck week and I think “wasted cast, too shallow!”  But then the line moved to the left and Erik set up.  The fish literally exploded and powered down the shore.  All Erik could do was hang on and let the drag slip.

Chad screamed “I’ll get the net!”  In moments the fish got closer and Erik yelled “get him now!”  Chad caught the fish in the net and after high fives and wows, the fish weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces.  But now came my Father’s Day gift.  Erik said “Let’s take a picture and get her back in the water!”  We took photos and he put her back.

I lost my dad last August but the lessons he learned from his father and taught me have been passed on to the next generation.  Some things change but the values learned in the great outdoors remain forever.

Erik and Chad benefit from the time dad invested in me.  The experiences will continue and the boys will grow.  I’m proud of them!

Thanks for the greatest Father’s Day gift guys!

--1 picture was then and the 2nd taken recently at Border View Lodge.  The years have passed and I’m still so proud of both boys!-


Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!