Pictures My Dad Gave Me

@singout (980)
United States
February 16, 2009 2:18pm CST
It’s funny, sometimes, how your brain works; how memories seem to act like a video camera where you can see vividly, the movies of the past. However, the brain can also act like a still camera, where life’s moments are caught like a snapshot which will be forever ingrained in a “Psychic Picture Album of Life.” I would now like to open this album and share some of the snapshots my Dad gave me. My video camera will set the scene and at the moment when the picture becomes clearest you will know when the snapshot of life takes place. Miami, Florida was, at one time, a great town in which to live. The scene takes place in Myrick’s trailer park. It was all we could afford at the time. The neighborhood had been experiencing some trouble with a Peeping Tom which no one was able to apprehend. I had just come from my room at the back of the trailer and headed toward the kitchen for something to eat. It was pitch dark outside. Mom was standing at the kitchen sink preparing to cook. It was hot that night and for some reason the kitchen window was opened and didn’t even have a screen on it: Mama screams, Daddy runs, Daddy Dives out the window and just as his feet hang suspended over the sink on his way out (click). Although the Peeping Tom remained unapprehended, there were no more incidences in the neighborhood. Miami can be cold at times during the winter. Even at 40 degrees it feels much colder because of the humidity in the air. Dad was unsuccessfully trying to light a kerosene heater: Five minutes, no success, ten minutes, still no success. The sound of steel scraping on a ripping linoleum floor; a back door quickly opens, and as the heater is suspended in mid air between heaven and earth___(click). We wrapped ourselves in blankets that night. There was a rock-pit near our neighborhood in Opa-Locka, FL. and the air was filled with the wonderful sound of huge bull frogs during the evening. One morning I rose from bed with a determination to catch some of those frogs so we could have frog legs for dinner. One hour, two hours, three hours, one pair of frog legs make it home for Mama to cook. She’s cooking now. The little toes begin to curl up in the frying pan. I want more frogs. I return to the rock pit. One hour, two hours: No more frogs. The aroma was wonderful, and as I looked at the bones in the otherwise empty plate____(click). Dad had eaten both of those frog legs when he came home from work. Marathon, FL. Dad and his brother, Farley, had a special fishing place they called “The Point.” Getting there meant having to drive into a wooded area that didn’t even have a road. Just a path which had been formed by our family car several times prior to our coming on this trip: Wind blowing hard; We’re walking in the dark with a flash light; I’m cold; Dad sees; removes his old navy P-coat; places it on my shoulders; and as his tender hands begin to button it around me____(click). It was almost longer than I was. Years later; I’m now a young man. Dad lives near Homestead now. He and my Mother have been divorced for several years. We loved to fish together. One particular day, we were fishing on a canal about 20 miles away. I noticed that he had remembered to bring our cane poles, a bucket, and small-meshed net. However, I saw no bait. He said he liked to catch bait where we fished because you have better luck fishing when you use the actual food the fish were eating at the fishing spot. That made sense to me so I watched him as he began to slap the cat-tails and grass on the edge of the canal with that net. After catching a few grass shrimp about the size of your pinky fingernail, he said for me to start fishing while he tried to catch some more shrimp. He was after speckled perch (white perch , or Crappy, depending on where you live). The canal ran along the side of a little-used road and switched sides through a pipe running under the road. I was fishing on top of the pipe as the water came through from the other side. With my pole baited with two of those tiny shrimp on a very small hook, I began to feel a tug and I can’t raise the pole: Call for Dad; Dad runs; trips; and as he almost rolls into the water___ (click). Dad gets up; runs to my pole; can’t lift it; grabs net; reaches way down; lifts net; 10 lb bass; and as he looks at the fish, then to me with his mouth wide opened___(click). It was a trophy worth mounting. We are very tired after our exciting day of fishing. We decided to go and take a nap at grandmother’s house not too far away and show her the fish while we are there. She is not home so we wrapped the fish in a piece of aluminum foil, put it in the refrigerator, and hit the sack. After about three hours we awaken to the wonderful smell of cooking food. “Get out of that bed and have some dinner. It’s on the table:” We wash up; go to the table; and as we look at a beautiful meal complete with French fries, iced tea and bass___(click). Need I say more! She never knew. Not too many years pass until we are fishing again. We are now in Dad’s favorite spot to catch barracuda. Again, in Marathon, we drive to a spot which was littered with rusty old barges. Apparently this was a barge grave yard. The barges themselves were partially beached in a very “snaky” looking area. The mosquitoes were very small but extremely hungry. After covering ourselves with repellent, we proceeded to the barges to fish. Barracudas were not biting but the crabs were, and sometimes 2 at a time, so we continued to catch them and put them in a large ice chest. Now blue crabs are noted for their meanness and we both were well aware of their disposition after being caught so we were very careful how we handled them. Dad gets tired of catching crabs so he tells me he is going over to the other end and try to catch some barracuda: Dad walks; the deck of the barge cracks; I look; and just as his head and terrified face are all I can see through a hole in the barge as he is falling___(click). Splash! Before I can get there to help, he emerges just as he went in___ straight up. The thought of those crabs must have been the fuel that propelled those rockets he wore on his feet. After bandaging a few cuts and scrapes we enjoyed a crab feast prepared in every way possible. So, as you go through life, cherish those mental snapshots. Write them down and share them with your family. Life is short so enjoy it with a loved one while you can. There is nothing any sadder than for a child to say to a parent, “let’s do something today, Mom and Dad; I need to start my collection of memories.”
2 people like this
2 responses
@musicman6 (2402)
• United States
12 Aug 09
Yes, and what amazes me is, most of the stuff you forget over the years, but there are some things you don't ever forget, the picture of it stays on your mind as if it were happening right then!
@beachstarz (1092)
• United States
16 Feb 09
Singout that was beautiful!! I loved reading it , and as I read it I was visioning the snapshots my daddy left me. My dad past away, but he is still close in my heart . I have many pictures in my head of us fishing together. That was our favorite thing we shared . He used to sing a little song each time he would fish, and I still sing it whenever I'm fishing. Thanks for sharing your beautiful memmories with us , and for helping me to relive mine ..