Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

June 16, 2012


Originally posted on March 11th, 2010

My Father loved to fish. No, I mean he really loved to fish.

My folks split when I was 3, and I don't ever remember him living at home. When I was 5 he left California and moved back to Wisconsin where he and my Mother were from. From that point forward, I only saw him during the Summers, and it was over those summers that my father taught me how to fish. I never really loved it the way he did, but I loved spending the time with him, and I learned to love the peace and serenity of the experience. He'd wake me up at 4:30 in the morning so that we could be at the lake before sunrise. We'd load up the trunk of the car with our fishing gear, and coolers containing sandwiches and cans of Pepsi. Dad was a Pepsi guy.

We'd fight our way through the swarms of mosquitoes that would fog the air in the moments just before dawn, and if we timed it just right, we'd be gliding into the middle of the lake just as the sun poked it's nose over the horizon.We had a "gentleman's agreement". I would bait my hook and catch the fish, but he had to take them off and clean them. It worked. I'm sure deep inside he wished that I would man-up and do it myself, instead of yelling "Gross!" and running away like a little sissy-boy. But he never said anything. He in his quiet way, allowed me to be the little person that I was.

I was certainly a different kind of son than my brother Gordon, who is 14 years my senior, and Dad really wasn't sure what to make of or do with me. Interestingly, for all the gaps in our alien relationship, I never had to wonder if he loved me. He really didn't understand me at all, but he loved me anyway and I knew it. A lot of kids don't get that, I'm grateful I did. Even if that understanding was in many ways, marginal.

Dad was a man's man. President of his Senior Class. He was keen on, and excelled at many sports, loved hunting as well as fishing, served in the Navy, and always cried during the national anthem. In fact I saw my Father cry on many occasions. I suppose that's where my brother and I get the propensity for waterworks.

He was charming, handsome, and had more friends than he could count- until he pushed most of them away. He was the life of the party, loved to tell jokes and was good at it too. I remember the jokes. "Why are Dolly Parton's feet so small?" "Because nothing grows well in the shade." When he was content there was a twinkle in his hazel eyes that endeared you to him, and when he was in pain there was a profound sorrow there, you understood couldn't be fixed.

He was an alcoholic who was prone to gamble, and had two failed marriages. He loved to garden with my stepmother Muriel, and made a mean Boiled Dinner. And the best BBQ ever. Some of these things I remember, but most of it I learned from other people. You see, our Summer's were brief, and the time we spent on a boat in the middle of the lake, was quiet time. It's funny. I loved him too, and yet I never really knew him.

When I was 18 he had 3 strokes in 2 days. He'd already suffered a myriad of health catastrophes, including several heart attacks and arterial sclerosis. The strokes left him unable to speak, and with the exception of a short period of time that he managed with a walker, he didn't walk for the last 6 years of his life. He spent those last years in a Veteran's home where they took exceptionally good care of him, and once in a while his fishing buddies would come and get him for the afternoon. Somehow they'd manage to get him into the boat, and take him fishing. Fisherman are a resilient lot.

He's buried at the veterans cemetery in King, Wisconsin on a chain of lakes there. He'd like that very much. By pure coincidence, my dear friend Cherrie vacationed on that same chain of lakes as a little girl with her family, and it was the place in this world most precious to her father. I honestly didn't realize that first year we rented a cottage up there, that we were only minutes from where my father was buried. That was 7 years ago now, and every year I say to Cherrie "Hey lets go have lunch with my Dad. We'll pack a big lunch and make a picnic out of it."

We have the best of intentions,we do, but we never make it there. Some people may think its odd that I don't ever feel guilty about that, but I don't. Maybe it's because I know he's not there. That's only where the remains of his body lie. His spirit on the other hand, is with me all week long. In the whispering pines, in the coo of the barred owl who echoes across the woods "Who cooks for you?", and in the tranquility of the glassine lake. Especially at night.

Cherrie and I will run from the cottage, through the swarms of mosquitoes that fog the air in the moments just before sunset, down to the lake and hop in our canoe, so that we can be right in the middle of the water when the sky goes from blood-orange to pitch black. As we glide across the tree-rimmed, marl bottomed lake, I swear that at any given moment I can catch a glimpse of him on his boat. He's got his fishing hat on, his pole is in the water, and a Pepsi is resting next to him on the seat.

It is still and peaceful, and it is so very good to see him.


CinMalin said...

...and with that, he'll always be your Dad. :o) Touching story Michael. I'm calling my Dad tonight!

Dan said...

That was a truly touching story. Reminded me so much of my own Dad. Thanks for sharing.

crissy said...

Truly a touching story! I love hearing such story like this...

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MyrtleHernandez said...

Nice story..i like it..thank you for sharing..

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Lucille29 said...

very nice blog..very touching..

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Rainy's Critters said...

This story reminds me of my grandfather. He really loved to go fishing,though he didn't drink pepsi, but didn't like it if you caught more fish then him.

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!