Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Catching The Big One

We sat on the boat off the edge of the buoy line on Lake Oconee. Our boat, encircled in fishing poles, prepared for a catch coming from any direction. The baitfish, which Dad caught with the cast net in his top-secret location earlier in the day, tempted the granddaddy of all Largemouth Bass swimming directly underneath us.

At thirteen years old, my secret ability to catch big fish remained hidden to most of my friends, especially the boys in my class at Conyers Middle School. My glitter fingernail polish covered nails filed down by spinning fishing lines.

My dad spent hours teaching me to cast my Zebco, bought on blue light special at K-Mart. I could hit a designated spot halfway across the cove. My brother was born a champion angler, but I could hold my own while standing on the dock late at night catching brim and catfish.

That day, however, presented a challenge unlike anything I had known before. One of our poles whistled as it bent over and kissed the water. Dad motioned for me to take the fishing pole. I grabbed the pole, planted my bare feet in the boat, buried the pole in my stomach, and pulled. This one was mine.

Dad coached me through the catch. He told me, “Reel it in, girl. Now back off. Steady. Easy. You got ‘em.” As the sun set and the lightening bugs flickered over the lake that summer night, I reached into the net and held up the biggest fish I had ever caught.

“Caroline, you just caught a 9 ½ pound large mouth bass!” We whistled, cheered, and danced our way back to the cabin. To this day, you can find a picture of one Southern eighth grade girl with braces and a bad haircut holding a huge fish beside her sitting on my dad’s desk.

That fish qualified me for my dad’s secret society, known as “The 8 and Above Club.” Only the rare few who had either caught an 8 pound fish or killed an eight point deer could join. I earned my camouflage trucker hat with “The 8↑ Club” printed across the front. I would bet that I am the only member who wore the hat while painting her nails Flamingo pink and wearing Lipsmacker lipgloss that was flavored like Dr. Pepper.

How do fathers shape little girls into who they will become?

Brad Pitt states in People, that “little girls, they just crush me. . . they break my heart.” The birth of his new daughter caused an international stir as the world turned to see how the World’s Sexiest Man would treat his new daughter. No one knows what to expect anymore when it comes to men and daughters. We have lost our standard from which we measure.

As so many of my childhood friends seek husbands or watch the love of their life instantly become the father to their child, the need for a standard arises. As young girls, we needed dads to tell us we were beautiful, dance with us in the kitchen, and take us with him to catch a big fish. Now as young women, we still seek men who will give that to us.

However, only our heavenly Father can give us love that restores and heals. In Zephaniah 3:17, Scripture tells “He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love.” I thank my heavenly Father for a dad who demonstrated that kind of love for me. I also thank my earthly Father for helping me get quiet for a moment to catch a big fish.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

very nicely done.
Ask Daryl Huckabee what it's like to be a distant number two.
-k

6:51 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

what? i just received the ultimate c-town compliment!!!

11:02 AM  

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