Lessons learned when a father takes his son fishing

My dad was a pastor in a small Iowa town. And sometimes, on a Sunday evening in the summer, we’d go fishing. The river and woods on the edge of town were a different kind of church for dad — a respite from the endless meetings and potlucks and hospital calls. But also from the dark cycles of depression that haunted him, that drugs could relieve but never resolve.

We fished just below an old concrete dam — with minnows, for crappie and bass. The first time we went I got bored. Nothing was biting, except mosquitoes. But my interest ignited when we began to catch fish — even little bluegills. The magic of the dipping-then-disappearing bobber, and the sudden, hard tug of the line, soon hooked me on the rocky, burbling miracles of a river.

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