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The ultimate Father’s Day present: You.

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POSTED June 17, 2010 2:43 a.m.
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been writing this column for over 30 years now.

A lot of fishing and hunting seasons have come and gone. But a theme that has pretty consistently run through my observations has been all of the values I learned from my parents.

As the old saying goes, “When I was 17 my dad was pretty dumb, but as I got older, Dad got smarter.”

A decade or so ago, I wrote a column for Father’s Day that suggested you give Dad an outdoor gift that would put you afield with him when he used it. I have a lot of great outdoor gifts that my dad gave me over the years — a custom-made pocket knife, my first 22 rifle at age 12, my first shotgun at 13, and a 357 revolver when I graduated college.

Interestingly, it isn’t the gifts that hold the value, but rather the memories of the times he spent teaching me to use them.

This Father’s Day, if your dad is still alive, rejoice in your good fortune and take him outdoors for some quality time together. If you can hunt or fish together, great.

Even if old Dad can’t get up the hills like he used to, you can go to Yosemite and have lunch at the Ahwanee together, or visit one of the many fine Delta restaurants and watch the sun set on the water.

Enjoy old Dad while you can, even though he may seem eternal. Trust me, he’s not.

Little did I know decades ago, that one day old Dad wouldn’t be around for me to reciprocate. While I can no longer go fishing with Dad ever again, if I take my son fishing, or shooting, I can help pass on some of the values Dad gave to me.

Recently, I’ve been noticing all of the advertising in the newspapers and on TV aimed at selling all sorts of Father’s Day gifts.

There are some great gifts to be had out there and I wish all the merchants well, but nonetheless, I sometimes think that we are placing too much emphasis on the material aspects on life and too little on the fact that Father’s Day ought to be a celebration  of how much we appreciate our fathers.

If your father, or husband, is an angler, hunter, or outdoorsman of any sort, let me make a recommendation for a Father’s Day gift.

First, buy him a material sort of gift that pertains to his favorite outdoor pastime — a fishing rod, new hunting vest, binoculars … you get the idea.

Then give him the important gift, the one that no one can give to him but you. Offer to take him out to use his new possession for the first time, or in the case of wives, give him a handwritten weekend pass, exempting him from all household chores for the weekend of his choice, so that he can get out and enjoy his outdoor sport.

Offer to accompany him if he wishes, or for you to stay at home with the kids is what he would prefer.

What the heck, make it an annual tradition. Every Father’s Day he gets a weekend pass.

Such traditions are the glue that holds families together.

When I was a kid, we had nursed an injured hawk back to health and had grown quite fond of him. Dad insisted that we let the hawk go free, even though we would never see him again.

Dad told us that the greatest gift one could give was freedom, even if it hurt to give it.
I don’t think that I’ll ever forget the sight of that hawk as he soared away over the oaks to freedom.

Make this Father’s Day one that he’ll never forget. Give him the gift of yourself.

Until next week,
Tight Lines
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