Charles McDonald Holt A conversation with Dad… I wrote this six years ago and finally thought I would share.
• Dad: Hey Son, get up; I thought you wanted to go fishing.
• Huh? I do, but you quit on me, and ruined our plans. What time is it anyway? Where are you?
•Dad: I’m sorry Son that my body quit but I didn’t quit. You still owe me a fishing trip and you’re not getting out of it that easy. I wanted so much to get better and buy a boat so we could spend the quality time on the water together that we missed when you were younger.
• I’m sorry Dad I couldn’t buy the boat last year when I wanted. I was going to surprise you this past April though. Roxane and I were on tour with a show that was bringing us home for almost a month. I had these big plans of sneaking into to town and buying that Alweld boat you wanted so much. Then I was going to ask you to take me into town to pick something up for me. You wouldn’t have even figured it out when I asked you to pull in to look at the new boats because we have been looking at so many. That was my plan, it really was. I played the scene over and over in my head how it would play out. We would drive in, get out and start looking and wishing until you spotted the 18ft Alweld Boat with all the gear just like you wanted. The live well, rod box, trolling motor….the big trolling motor not a dinky one, and the Bass fighting chairs that sit up on a deck both on the front and the back. I’ve seen you a thousand times in my dreams looking at that thing and exclaiming “yeap that right there, I could do some damage with that boat on the river”. I can’t describe the look on your face when the salesman would bring us the Title to the boat and wish us well in our Fishing Adventures. I say I can’t describe the look on your face because in every version of my dream you had me wrapped in a bear hug crying.
• Dad: I didn’t know Charles you wanted to do that for me.
• It wasn’t just for you; Mom and I were going with you. I’m not sure if it would have held more than three people at a time all casting rods so I would have taken turns with my Wife so she could experience the anxiety of sitting in the middle of the boat while you’re in the front slinging chunks of metal containing hooks and Mom is in the back doing the same. Sitting in between you two gives a person the same kind of feeling a Goldfish must have when he discovers he has been moved into a blender momentarily while his tank is being cleaned. Anxiety, Anxiety, Anxiety and yes I would relish sitting in the middle again.
•Dad: HaHa, we did get you sometimes didn’t we. How many times did Dottie slap your hat off while making a good cast and then laugh at you for not being man enough not to duck the next time. With all the ducking and diving you did in the middle of that boat it’s a wonder you didn’t turn out to be a professional boxer. Ha Ha it feels good to laugh at that. If I had time I could tell about quit a few shenanigans Dottie and I pulled and going back even further some of the really crazy things my Brothers and I were involved in. He He we even have a piece of Brother Russo’s ear to add to our fishing stories. I’m not sure if we were blessed by God but we were certainly blessed by Brother Russo. He should have learned when something grabs your ear, maybe you should just stand still. Just look at the notch in his ear and know he was marked by a Holt, inadvertently but still the claim to fame. The Holt Clan marked the Man of God and didn’t get eaten by a bear.
• I would love to go down memory lane with you but I need to tell you I’m sorry I didn’t buy the boat. My means of buying it disappeared with the mechanical breakdown I experienced a few months before I was going to buy it. I didn’t tell you about my plans and every time I saw you I knew we were running out of time. You said you were going to come through this and get stronger. We kept making plans to go fishing but you kept getting weaker, I knew I was running out of time but I just didn’t have the money.
•Dad: Don’t be sorry Son, and thank you for wanting to do such a thing. We missed out on so much when you were younger because both of our worlds were turned upside down when God put us together. Much of our time was wasted early on due to bitterness and just not understanding what to do with a boy that needed a Dad. But I grew to love you just as if you were my own. I taught you to Hunt and to Fish and to be Respectful of others. You saw with your own eyes what God can do with a Man like me, and we learned to Pray and trust in God under the same Teachings. We did grow to love each other and I am proud of you.
• I used to tell everyone that as a teenager I was so tired I being told what to do by you that I ran away from home and joined the Army, haha. I wish I had been more of a man and stuck it out instead of running off. I believe I turned out to be a capable man with a lot of good memories but what kind of memories would we be sharing now if I had just stayed? I miss being part of a family and sharing in family memory more than I can say. As I have gotten older I have tried to create opportunities to recapture some of that time but it is lost forever. You were supposed to get better.
•Dad: Son you have made me proud, your Mother is proud and we will always be family.
• Dad, I knew you were dying even though you wouldn’t admit it. I could see it from a distance and I knew it was too late to be the Good Son every Mom and Dad deserves. The only thing I could do with you becoming so weak was to change my name. You and Mom always knew I wanted to be a Bloodline Holt. I have always thought of myself as Holt and most of the general public could see past my given name of McDonald and recognize the Holt in me. The one thing I did, that I hope made you proud was change my name. I went to the Courthouse with Roxane and together we made the legal name change to Holt. When asked why I wanted to change my name I had to explain that I needed to show my Mom and Dad that I Love and Respect them and wanted there to be no mistake that Benny and Dottie Holt are my Mom and Dad. The next uniform I wear will have Holt emblazoned upon my chest. But you are not here to see it.
•Dad: Son of mine, you are Blood, and I am proud of you just as your Mother is. You keep being the man you are, and I will be honored by any name you are known by. You are my Son, I love you and I’m waiting across the river for you. God loves Fishermen.
If I keep on writing a conversation between my Dad and I that only took place in my head I would be writing a book. I can only imagine what Benny really thought of me as his Son. I will try to make him proud of who I am and I will still fulfill my promise to take him fishing. Maybe Mom will let me sit at one end of the boat instead of in the middle. Someone else will have to sit there I will practice what Benny taught me. Scare them but don’t draw blood. I can’t explain how I handle the death of a loved one but it is different. I don’t know how or why I am the way I am. You won’t be engaging me in many conversations about my Dad but I will always be thinking of him. You won’t hear me say his name out loud, accept in the deepest respect and I will demand nothing but respect from others that speak of him. I know what Benny used to be, but God turned him into my Dad. If you were able to sneak up on me fishing the river, that is where you will hear the ongoing argument of what lure to use in such a situation to get the fish to bite. You may find it strange if you don’t see anybody there but me talking to myself but trust me, Benny is there directing and teaching fishing skills that I lack, and Dad knows best. Charles McDonald Holt