Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paying tribute our way

Zac hoists the bass he caught on the Monongahela River in West Virginia on June 24.
MAHFS photo by Mac Arnold

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS Editor

I've recently returned from West Virginia where the family held services on June 24 for my deceased father-in-law Fred McCauley.

It went as well as something like that can go. A somber event where tears and laughs were shared while friends and family recalled memories of the once hard-working coal miner.

Many of the discussions of him centered around bass fishing, which was his passion until his last breath. He died Feb. 28 after falling into the Monongahela River while fishing along a dock in Star City, W.Va. His body wasn't found until June 7.

So now the closure can begin.

My son Zac, 8, and I wanted to pay tribute our own way by doing a little bass fishing ourselves before the service.

After a slow morning where all we got were rolling waves courtesy of the bass tournament anglers and their fancy boats and a couple small hits on our lines, I was treated to watching Zac battle a fish.

It all unfolded in front of me.

"Dad, I think I got a fish," he shouted and then leaned back in the front seat of the canoe with both hands on his fishing pole.

"Reel that baby in," I instructed him. "Don't let off the pressure."

And just like that, after the shimmering fish made a few laps out in front of us, he lowered the bass into the canoe.

It was awesome.

A perfect tribute.

His papi would have enjoyed the moment for sure but likely would have told him, "Now, catch a bigger one."

Me? I was just happy we didn't get skunked.


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