Do you love big bluegill?
As many of you know, my son Matt and I had the great experience of fishing at Richmond Mill Lake this past November and, literally, had a father/son fishing trip of a lifetime. The weather was cold for Dixie, but the scenery was great and the fishing spectacular. But between all the bluegills, bass, crappie and pickerel were other things of greater importance...the chance to renew a lifelong relationship with my one and only child.
What most of you don't know is that my son was stricken with leukemia at the age of three, and Linda and I did not know how long we would have him. He needed 5 years of sometimes vicious chemotherapy treatments, treatments that left him a bald, frail and fatigued child that could barely walk. His hand-eye coordination was slow to recover and we were told that he would very likely never be able to have children. But doctors don't know everything, and this past June the miracle of our first grand child came to us with Julia giving birth to Elena Joy. Along the way, Matt emerged as a high-school track and field star with blistering anchor-leg speed that won many relays and established records that still stand. He was a straight-A student and loved to take the local kids fishing at childrens fishing derbies. Through all of this, he remained quiet and focused, departing from all the worldly venues that can ruin our lives and crush our spirit.
This year for Christmas, he gave me a personalized photo book of our fishing trip. He must have known what I was thinking, because I think I gave him the idea in the first place. I just never followed through with it.
I have been blessed to have a son who enjoys the things in life that I do...fishing, food and children! We have shared many times together. Stripers to 30 pounds off the Virginia Coast in January, monster blue catfish in the James and Potomac Rivers, trophy bass in ponds just down the road and now the Richmond Mill experience. He can't wait to hit the hotwater plants locally for some smallmouth bass action, but will take a raincheck on ice fishing! Sooner than we think, Elena Joy will be using a 'micro-light' outfit for bluegills in a local pond. I can't wait!
If I were to die tonight, I know I would not have been cut short of anything I ever desired. My son was instrumental in teaching me how to act like a man and held me accountable for addiction issues. Matt is a quiet man who walks with the Lord. I don't have a lot of money, but I am a very, very rich man.
WHAT A GIFT!!!