Fishing with Papa

Fishing with Papa


While phone-chatting with my son David about Memorable Purposes, he said, “A precious memorable purpose for me is Dad’s and my last fishing trip, that I didn’t anticipate would be his last trip to Lake Amistad.” (Lake Amistad Dam. near Del Rio, Texas, where the Ward family vacation home has been located since the 50’s.)  “But, as usual, I hoped that Dad could catch a big one.  We had caught a 5 and a 7-pound catfish. One more drop line to check and that would be it for this trip.  And, what do you know, but there was a big one on the line. We both worked hard at getting it into the net and then into the live well. Dad could not have been more excited. When we got it home and weighed it, 35 pounds.   We both just laughed and laughed at our luck as we cleaned and fileted cat fish for freezer bags. Dad really loved to fish on that lake.” 

“What a great story, David. Have you ever heard my fishing with Papa story?” David had not. 

Jim and I married in June of 1955 and one of Jim’s biggest desires was to show me where his family fished. That fall, we drove southwest from Waco through the beautiful hill country of Texas toward Del Rio until there were no trees (a town by that name as well) except mesquite scrubby trees, and nothing but space, big gorgeous sky, huge rocks, goats, marvelous scenery from hilltops. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then, Jim turned onto a road that didn’t resemble a road but a path.  It had been a long time since he had made this trip, and not ever alone. I wondered if he knew where he was going.  We drove for miles on that bumpy, unpaved road, over dried-up creek beds. It was evening and deer were            crisscrossing in front of our car.  I had never seen live deer. I wondered if there could possibly be people living here and a place to spend the night. Jim finally recognized some landmarks and found their cabin. Relieved, we joined his parents and grandpa who had arrived a few days earlier. 

The next morning, I found myself in a small fishing boat, life preserver around my waist, with Jim and his paternal grandpa—Papa Ward—who was 93 years old. I considered myself an on-looker. Jim handed Papa Ward a baited fishing pole, then got busy with other preparations for baiting the ‘trot lines’ as they call them.  Very quickly, I noticed that Papa Ward’s line was dipping, but his old hands couldn’t feel it. “You have a bite”, I said, but because he couldn’t see it, I helped him pull his line in.  Jim took a nice sized fish off and put it in the live well.  The bait was gone and Jim was at the other end of the boat, so I gritted my teeth and gingerly picked out a fat worm to re-bait Papa’s hook.  Another un-felt line; another nice sized crappie.  But Papa wanted to catch a catfish, which he said needed a minnow. Yuk!! I bit my tongue and got busy doing what needed to be done for Papa. I treasure the memory more than fishing.

Memorable Purposes: I was having a severe Diverticulitis flare up; I was miserable!   Staying home was not an option, my office helper was on vacation.  Being by myself, wearing three hats that day, Manager, Service Manager and Sales.... I was extremely busy.

A customer pulled into the car lot that morning totally frazzled, she had just been in an accident close by. I was able to calm her down, call her insurance company, get her vehicle towed to a body shop and contacted both of her sisters from out of town. They both got there within a couple hours. This all put me hours behind schedule!

I got out of my head, and was able to love and serve the customer. Forgetting all about my pain and focusing TOTALLY on her. She will never forget that terrible experience and someone coming to her aid, and I will never forget it because of the blessing I received. God is good. Thanks for letting me share my Memorable Purpose story. B.

Memorable Purposes was awesome. People always say “Don’t live in the past, but I firmly believe that the past can help us with the present and also with our future. We do not want to compound past mistakes and keep repeating them, so it is good to remember how we handled the problems. H.

 Group Purposes also become memorable as our siblings’ most memorable one was regarding tough decisions about Mom’s future care. This story appeared in the May 24, 2020 blog—Making Room For Mom. We had all gathered in Ohio from five states to break up housekeeping for Mom who was 93, and decide how she would be cared for.  

When Mom quit driving at 93, mobile and quite lucid, we six needed to make other living arrangements for her.  The option of staying in her home would hinge on hiring someone to live with her.  To that, she strongly objected, declaring, “I want to live with my children”. Not an easy option since we were scattered over 5 states.  A designer circuit-assisted-living was set up where mom would live with each of her six children for a couple of months, then be delivered by car to the next residence. Our non-complaining, non-critical, easy-to-live-with-Mom became the traveling Mom. Her request to live with her children was feasible and satisfactory to everyone.  An unexpected bonus of the transfers was extra opportunities for sib visits. Because of that arrangement, each of us has benefitted with warm experiences in our homes with her. Her sense of humor never left her and we particularly enjoy sharing her one-liners, such as when David, the youngest, said “Mom you are in such good health, I’ve decided to make you a beneficiary of my will.”  She quickly came back with, “Well, then, I’m going to watch your spending.” We celebrated her 100th birthday together and she lived to 101.

Our sibling reunion is hosted this year by nephew Jim and his wife, Beth. All five of us will gather including, Kay, who is my travelling companion, and David’s wife, Joyce. Sister Jane is 95, brother John, 94, I’m next at 90, Mac is 89 and David 84. We love being together. I’m confident that it will become a Memorable Purpose for reminiscing the rest of our lives.

If you have a personal or group Memorable Purpose to share, please email me.  We can always do a second follow-up. Many readers have shared that reading others’ stories has encouraged them. Memories that are not shared are eventually lost forever.

Thank you for your prayers and concern for me in recovering from eight weeks of Shingles and managing continuing Postherpetic neuralgia (where the Shingles were) which could last months or forever. As planned for months, I will have spinal surgery the last part of April. The same surgery was done successfully on the other side four years ago. Blogs may be missing for several weeks.

  Thank you, Lord, for the magnificent gift of memories that flood our minds.

 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21 NIV.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Ps. 143:8.

 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is…to encourage, then give encouragement …Rom 12:6,8 NIV.

…be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. I Tim. 17,18 NIV.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom. 15:13 NIV.