A memory on Father's Day

This year for Father's Day I recalled a good memory from 1983 when we spent our summers on a lake in Maine. The bass fishing was amazing thanks to our little two seat boat called the BASS TRACKER. It had a very small electric trolling motor on the front and a 2 or 3 horse gas engine on the back.

When the fishing was over we would need to take everything off the boat and up to the house. It was at minimum a two trip deal if you were alone. There was a cart to get the car battery and all the gear to the house but the gas motor had to be carried by hand in an upright position. My dad made this VERY clear. If you tip or tilt the engine (as in lay it down in the cart) the gas will move around and some other bad things will happen. I can't recall exactly what he told me but he was making it clear that he wanted it carried upright so I did what he said.

On this occasion my sister and I came back near sundown. I was taking items off the boat and asked her to hold the engine upright so I could save time. Normally I would take it to the shore and lean it on a tree. She refused to help so I decided since I was alone in the venture to try something new. There was a little fin on the bottom of the thing that would fit in between the boards of the dock. This provided great stability on a left to right basis but I was fooling myself into believing it would not tilt forward or back.

As was to be expected in shortcutting a job... Disaster. A moment later as I was pulling the tackle box out of the boat I heard the splash that let me know I had screwed up. The engine was upside down underwater! I yelled maybe even screamed because I was mad at not being helped and I was scared shitless that the engine was ruined.

The bonding experience that took place over the next few hours has stuck with me to this day. He took the engine apart and I learned all about the parts and pieces. When it was finally put back together and it started up on the second pull I was relieved. What started as a scary experience for me was turned into a real great evening because my dad took the time to show me that things are fixable. If I wasn't only 15 I'm sure we would have had a beer or two that night.

Recently I had a constant leak of fuel out of my dirtbike. It took two full carburetor teardowns to find a little piece of dirt blocking a needle but in the end I fixed it. I didn't make the connection of this recent experience to the Sears outboard fix with dad in 1983 until I got most of the way through writing this.

Fathers day for me can only be about remembering the past because there is no more now. In 1992 we scattered dad's ashes on the lake from the very dock the engine fell from and if there is an afterlife I'd like to think he's fishing with a surface lure and enjoying a cold Ballantine Ale today.

Happy Fathers Day everybody