Daddy was an avid hunter (pheasants and deer mostly) and an eager fisherman. The outdoors took him away from the stresses of his business, Longenecker Farm Supply, and helped him literally recharge his batteries. I never went hunting with him, but he invited me once or twice on deep-sea fishing trips in my early teens.
Many summers ago, friends from Bosslers’ along with a few relatives chartered a boat and went deep sea fishing in the Atlantic south of the Delaware Bay. Unlike the New Testament disciples who fished with empty nets all night long until they followed the wisdom of Jesus, we PA Dutch fishermen hauled “em in right and left”– starboard and port. And unlike the disciples who had to cast their “nets” on the other side, we had a great catch without switching to a different strategy. Unbelievably, we novice fishermen were rewarded with a net-breaking haul of bass or trout. Somehow the figure of the number 68 (or maybe it was just 65) sticks in my mind as the amount of fish I caught single-handedly that day. Others easily topped my number. No fish tale here!
(I’m the one with the bandanna and sweater on the left side of the boat; Daddy is grinning behind Uncle Paul whose hand is raised.)
Generally, I had a strained relationship with Daddy. The stories of the ill-begotten bike and his unannounced violin purchase on earlier posts underscored his lack of knowledge of relating to me as his oldest daughter and subsequently my resistance to his overtures toward making a satisfactory connection.
But outside the walls of our house, taking walks or catching fish together, such barriers disappeared. These photographs evoke these pleasant memories, times when we were in tune with nature and with each other as father and daughter.
Childhood that place where purity of feeling reigns, was merging into adolescence, where ambiguity begins.
Mary Peacock in The Paper Garden
And that is where I was, the age of ambiguity and change.