What I Caught

A common theme among some of my recent posts is that this blog is helping me pursue my dreams, but I want to talk about someone else’s dreams for a minute: my dad’s.

My dad was born and raised in New Orleans. When it came time for him to choose a career, he became a commercial fisherman. This was his dream job. He met my mom and they worked on his boat together for a bit. Not much time passed before a little blessing was bestowed upon them. Me. A couple years later, my brother was born. My parents were well on their way to completing our family. Changes were on the horizon. My dad’s dream job was no longer bringing in enough income to support us, but my dad’s goal for his future may have shifted.

My dad tells me stories from his glory days, every now and then. His face lights up and he enjoys telling those tales. I enjoy listening to them. He was known as “Wild Bill” in the bayous, even had a bayou named after him. (There’s an old map to prove it.) An alligator almost got him once. “Turf wars” took place out there on the water. Certain rules existed. Dealing with people who threatened his way of life took place daily. He taught and learned valuable lessons that can be applied on sea and on land. Because of these stories, my dad has retained a sort of mythical status to me. The way I imagine it, he was his own brand of pirate back then.

He talks about some things that happened after I was born but before I can remember, too. I would play in the picking box of his boat. My first fish was caught there. It was a big, ol’ red fish. When he talks about these times, a different type of pride shines out of his face.

Once my brother was a little older, we moved away from the coast of Louisiana. My dad couldn’t pursue his dream anymore, but his actions over the years show that he found a new dream: taking care of his family. Another kiddo was born a few years after the move. My mom worked for a while, then switched it up to be a stay at home mom. My dad’s work ethic didn’t shudder. He provided for us, and I’ve always had what I needed and most times a little more.

I’ve never seen him show any sort of resentment about leaving the fishing business. He has reared us kids into three responsible adults, and seems to be proud of us. Even still, listening to him talk about the days of old, I could tell that was still where his passion lies. He would take me fishing on a regular basis when I was growing up, and we meet up to go every now and then now that I’m an adult. I’m not as passionate about fishing as he is, but I certainly do enjoy it. Part of that is credited to his influence, and maybe part of it is in my blood.

Recently, my dad moved back to New Orleans to once again pursue his dream. My youngest brother turned 18 last year, and I guess my dad figured it was time. When he was talking about his plans, I could see the fire in his eyes and hear the joy in his voice. I also spoke with him a few days ago on the phone. He was exhausted, but ecstatic. That’s when someone knows for sure they’re in the right place, I think. I told him how happy I was for him that he was finally getting to go back to do what he loved, because I wanted to make sure he knows. I also appreciate all the time he committed to me and my brothers while we were growing up. The plan is for my mom to follow him down, once everything is in place.

My dad is turning 50 this year, and he’s living proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. I’m proud of him and the example he’s setting for me. I love him a lot, and though I will miss him, I wish him the best in his endeavors. May he create a bunch more adventures and tales to tell.

Find out All About Patience (the inspiration for this post.)

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