November 22nd, 2004

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Fishing and Camping with Dad

By Dean Vogt, Alaska

When I was a kid, in the 50's and 60's, one of my favorite things to do was to camp, fish and shoot targets. None of these things could really be done, outside of my Scout troop, without mom and dad agreeing to take me and go on a trip.

"Let's go camping and fishing," would be my cry as soon as summer came around. The days were long and it was perfect weather to get out of the heat and up into the mountains. I grew up in Northern California, the real Northern California, up towards the Oregon border. It was great for hunting, fishing and camping back then and still is in quite a few places.

The first thing that would happen when I asked to go fishing and camping was dad would get kind of quiet and act like he didn't hear me ask. When I repeated it again, mom would "shush" me and say we'd talk about it later. Then after some weeks mom and dad and I would go camping and fishing and have a wonderful time, especially dad.

I always wondered why this would happen and they wouldn't really tell me. I found out, at the age of 10, when dad sat me down and told me.

He told me he had all of the camping out he wanted in World War II on Okinawa. He said when he went camping it reminded him of all of the things during WW II, he told himself he would never do again. He promised himself neither he nor any of his family would again sleep on the ground at night, none of them would ever be thirsty, or hungry or bitten by bugs and noises in the night would never frighten him or his family. He told me a lot more than that about his experiences back then, but they aren't things I've ever repeated or told to anyone and I won't now.

I asked him why it always took him so long to decide to go and why he always had a good time after we went. He said it took him a while to convince himself that the things we'd put up with, on purpose, were ok. He said he always had a good time because we all had a good time and that made it okey for him. After he was done telling me the story we went camping and fishing. Dad had a good time. So did I.

I've always remembered dad talking to me that day. Now, more than ever I appreciate the sacrifices he made for me when I was a boy and now more than ever I appreciate the sacrifices he and others made during the war before I was even born.

Every time one of my own kids asks me to go somewhere, whether it's fishing, camping, river rafting or to the mall and I'm feeling a little like, "I don't really want to do this," I remember back to when I was a kid. I take them where they want and need to go and I let them know how lucky I am to be able to be with them. I think about how very small my sacrifices in life are. ~ DV, Alaska


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