Friday, September 26, 2008

Wanted: Masochistic Fish

Spending a few days with my dad, I got him out on the golf course yesterday. Although it was hot, it was one of those rare September days where it was perfectly clear and without any wind. We had the course to ourselves.

Without any discussion, my dad plopped himself in the drivers’ seat of the cart on hole #1. “Well, this should be interesting.” I thought. Snails were at no risk from us, and for a time I marveled at how slowly we meandered the fairways. More than once I was tempted to put my foot on the accelerator, thereby “helping” my dad, but I managed to rebuke the devil and resist. Can you imagine what a scene that would have been? My dad’s at the wheel and I floor it for him. "Here we go, dad! Yahoo!" I imagine the result would have been about the same as if I did that with one of my daughters driving.

Chaos. Danger.

Anyway, I’m certain that driving made him feel useful, something which he has lamented lately. And not only did it force me to slow down and enjoy the day, but if we had hit anything it would have barely ranked on one of those bumper car attractions at theme parks. Besides, how often am I going to do this with my father?

Before returning to Colorado tomorrow, we’ve got one more day of fun left. I’m trying to do things with him that he has long loved in the hope he will be revived by the enjoyment. After telling him that this morning, he said, “I have a hard time doing anything that might be fun or refreshing. I don’t even think about such things.” And I thought, “Yeah, me too.” Now isn’t that a whole ‘nuther subject?

So we’ll go to Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach in an hour or two. He’s been going there since he was a boy, and has taken my brothers and me there many times. It always involves trekking out onto fairly dangerous rocks to gather muscles for fish bait—I’ll be doing that alone this time, of course. But I hope to put a fishing rod in his hands, and I hope some fish find the bait irresistible and impale themselves on the hooks.

“Lord, I need some masochistic fish to visit with my father.”

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