Happy birthday to my dad today. I won’t embarrass him by revealing his age. I’ll just say he’s older than I am, which should probably come as no surprise.
My dad is responsible for many of my better habits and qualities. He’s the one who taught me to always work hard and do my best. He taught me to be a gentleman. He showed me how to look at a problem from all angles before trying to fix it. And he’s the guy who introduced me to the outdoors.
He didn’t get to take me fishing, hunting or camping as often as he wanted to, I’m sure, because he did work very hard when I was growing up. But when we did get the chance to get outside, we did it right. We went deep into the backcountry, far from any roads or other humans, and we explored every nook and cranny of those mountains the entire time we were out there in the wilds.
He taught me how to catch a fish with a worm, and then he taught me how to use spinners and other lures. When I was old enough to be less of a danger with a fly rod, he taught me how to cast one of those, too.
He also taught me how to shoot shotguns, rifles and bows. Both of us enjoyed hunting with bows more than any other method, and he set up a 3D archery course in his lower pasture. When we couldn’t get out into the hills for a long adventure, we could at least spend an hour or two practicing with our bows.
Now that I’m grown with a family of my own, as well as a job I work hard at thanks to Dad’s teaching, I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I’d like. I do try to pass down his wisdom and sense of adventure to my own kids, though.
Here’s to you, Dad. Thanks for giving me the gift of a love of nature. I hope to be able to come share it with you again soon.