The boys spent their first real time fishing this weekend (they’ve been ice fishing but not summer fishing). It was an event that really resonated with them. Last night before bed Finn threw his usual thousand question at me. This time, they were about the trip and the people with whom we spent time. Then there were the usual whys and hows. He told me this trip is one he will always remember and followed it up with “is there a fishing trip you remember when you were my age?”
For whatever reason, a trip that Tate Richards took me on jumped right to mind. As I explained to Finn how he took me to Ft. Randall and we fished the river, my phone alerted me that “Today is Tate’s birthday.” And yes, Finn and I were up at midnight working on an art project creating book covers.
Anyway, that message and moment sent a chill down my spine.
I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about Tate as I remember the many things he did for me. I’m grateful for everything he taught and showed me. Tate had many gifts. At this point in my life, I’m thankful for his ability to use humor in difficult situations while still maintaining the ability to teach a life lesson rooted in integrity.
Many years after that fishing trip I found myself as a young adult sitting on Tate’s patio. We were talking about a particularly difficult time in my life. In a moment of conversation most people would find awkward and try to dance around the issue, Tate left me laughing – happy with myself and the content in the direction I was headed.
This is a bit of a random rant but I feel it deserving. I didn’t set out this morning to write a piece on what it takes to be a great father or man, but as my squat pen rests, snug as a gun, I can’t help but think if every father could give just a fraction of what Tate did to this world and our children, society would be better positioned to flourish. He showed us careful listening and words with purpose matter.
Enjoy your birthday, my friend. Thanks for all that you did for me. I speak confidently on behalf of many others when I say your words and actions carry on. I’ll have another frosty malt today in your honor.