I have eaten fresh two-pound lobster that I caught myself, boiled to perfection and served with real butter on a picnic table at the Portland Lobster House an hour after the lobster left the Portland Harbor.
I have eaten a $150 Wagyu beef ribeye topped with caviar prepared in Chicago’s Roka Akor Steak House by a chef wearing a spotless toque blanch. The list, quite frankly, goes on and on in more states and years than even I can remember. You can tell by looking at me.
But my favorite meal, or should I say “meals”, were simple. Many were at home prepared by my wife, my mom and my grandmother. There was this one, though, that well…you had to be there to understand.
These meals were dished out by a man wearing a big blue safari helmet on his head. They were served on the hot seat of a 14-foot aluminum DuraCraft boat in fine fishing establishments like the Cafe Bussey, Bistro de ‘Arbonne and Bend a la Toledo. The dish?
A big hunk of slightly melted rat cheese, red wax rind still attached. A sleeve of Premium saltine crackers. A freshly peeled home-grown Big Boy tomato with a pinch of salt and pepper. A full can of Armour Star Vienna Sausage. And with each bite, comes the slight fishy fragrance of bream or crappie, diluted by the washing of our hands in lake water right beside the boat.
Chopped judges couldn’t even comprehend. Emeril couldn’t kick it up a notch. And Whole Foods could never stock it at any price.
Perhaps, though, it wasn’t the culinary elements involved at all, but the fact that Dad and I were out fishing together. It doesn’t get any better than that. Thanks, Dad, for all the time you spent on me and my family. Especially teaching me how to fish and eat good. Happy Father’s Day. I miss you.
Dad was always full of good advice. Spit on your cricket. The big fish are always on the other side of the boat. Don’t hit the side of the boat with your paddle. But he also knew and shared this:
Good Fathers: Love the Lord. Love your wife. Love your children. Put them first in everything you do so that you may be happy and prosper as well. Work hard. Teach and live by word and example. Nothing else matters.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6