Saturday, June 15, 2013

a grandfather's gift

this morning i was searching through some old photos of rick, trying to find something to post for father's day, when i unexpectedly came across this precious picture.

grandfather and grandson.


and it immediately inspired me.

how could it not?

though i'm not sure who snapped it, this picture captures the beginning of a great love.  rick has such fond memories of fishing with his grandfather. the love of fishing was a gift kenneth elliott generously gave to his grandson.  rick's stories range from the sweet remembrance of sitting side by side on a dock to the mischievous teen years when rick would wickedly drive his grandfather's old green pickup truck around the parking lot near their fishing spot.  (prior to having his license, that is).

one of my favorite stories is the time when rick did just that: drove the truck around the lot while his grandfather was occupied down on the dock.  however, by the time rick circled back to the original parking spot, it was no longer available. oops! (probably not the teenaged rick's exact word choice).  but, young (license-less) rick was forced to park his grandpa's old green pickup elsewhere.

when his grandfather came up to the lot later that afternoon, he scratched his head saying, "well, i don't quite remember parking the truck over you rick?" he looked sideways at his sheepish grandson, making it clear he was fully aware of what had transpired.  rick is almost certain his grandfather knew, but he chose to say nothing more on the matter.

because that was rick's grandfather, a man of few words, but great tenderness.  he taught rick not only to fish, but how to be gentle.  he modeled for him the beauty of quiet strength and necessary restraint even in manhood...especially in manhood.

what an incredible gift in a man.

what an incredible gift in a father.

and what a beautiful thing to watch the gifts of one generation pass down to the next... and then on yet again.

if you know our family today, you know how much my husband and kids love to fish.  it is one of their favorite things to do together.  i wish rick's grandfather, who is now gone, could know what a wonderful treasure he has given our family.  this is more than fishing, this is legacy. and as we celebrate father's day this weekend, isn't that what every man blessed with offspring desires to leave: something to be remembered by and something to inspire future generations with.  i would guess rick's grandfather never once analyzed his actions or attempted to manipulate or make up a legacy.  he was just simply spending time with his grandson because he enjoyed it.  the most beautiful legacies are usually that simple.

i have watched my husband and sons standing out in the  shirtless under the georgia hot sitting close on the perched even on laughing out teasing and taunting each  having deep  saying nothing at

it's what they do.

i don't really fish.  i take the pictures.  when they fish, i photograph.  and though sometimes they duck their heads and whine a bit, i am thankful for the collection of photos i've taken in these many, many years of watching my family fish together.

and it goes without saying, that this gift of fishing which has passed down in our family is really the gift of time.  the gift of a father hanging out with his children, making himself available and teaching them the love of something simple. something which requires stillness, strength and great patience.  not given in a lecture or a lesson, but offered up in the reeling and the untangling and the casting and the catching -- and maybe even more in the not catching--moments shoulder to shoulder on the shoreline.

lately, i have been dropping my own son off at the lake nearby.  he often goes alone.  my quiet son, his kayak and a fishing pole.  this great grandson of kenneth elliot needs little more.  a few days ago i insisted on sending him with a peanut butter sandwich.  he rolled his eyes, but accepted my meager saran wrapped offering.  when his dad can't go out with him, ty snaps photos of the fish and texts them to rick.  they discuss the fishing day over dinner, analyzing the success or failure.  i tease them, saying the fish must have been hungry when the catch is good or too full to eat when the catch is lacking. because it's really all about the cooperation of the fish, isn't it? "stick to photography mom, not fishing," tyler will say to me.

they ignore my teasing and talk on about technique. my boy spends a lot of time out on the water.  he's a pretty social kid, but his pole is company enough when he's out on the dock or in his boat.  he's quiet.  he's content. he's a kid truly at peace. even at 15, he already has the gift of rick's grandfather in him. tyler's middle name, just likes his dad's, is elliott.  both my husband and my oldest son are named after rick's grandfather, kenneth elliott.  a man who loved to sit quietly on the dock and fish. a man who never said much but had much impact on his grandson and great grandchildren in a way he probably never even knew.

perhaps even tonight you are preparing a little gift for that special dad or grandfather or husband in your life.  i know these kind of occasions always get me kind of worked up thinking about the gift i'm going to give. but tonight i write not as a gift-giver, but as a gift-receiver. many years ago, rick's grandfather gave him a gift, and in doing so, he gave me one as well.  thank you grandpa elliott!

i wish he could see them now.  i think he'd like nothing more than to sit right there on the dock with them...and perhaps from his place up in heaven, that's exactly what he's doing.

"for the LORD is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations." ~ psalm 100:5

happy father's day to the dads, to the grandfathers, 
and to the generations of men 
who continue to cast countless blessings on us all!


this year we've even added in some ice fishing -- a first!

this would be the famous "duck and avoid" i was referring to in my post.  
it is usually followed by a "mooooooom stoooop."


Paige said...

Love this!! Hank too loves to fish like his dad and is handing it down to John David:). Nothing in the world much like a dad and his son fishing:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Jody, for the great blog. I too, had the wonderful experience of fishing with my dad, Ken Elliott. He was a wonderful Dad!!! He was the most patient person I have ever known. In all of my years growing up as his daugter, I never saw him angry. He was very honest and always did his best to do what was right. Happy Father's Day Rick!
Aunt Barb

Aus said...

Brilliant post Jody - thanks for having family!

hugs - aus and co.