In my family the expression, "The time has come to go to Sears," is a rite of passage of sorts. I took my eldest daughter Ale to Sears when she was around 13. I found a solid looking woman in the bra department and asked her, "Can you please help my daughter with her first bra?"
As a little boy I always wanted an electric train. But my parents were never able to afford one. When we first arrived in Vancouver I thought that buying my daughters a slot car set would help me get the electric train out of my system. Within hours the dust in the shag carpet made the cars useless and both my daughters showed no interest. As a father there was not much else I could do with my daughters that could be deemed a rite of passage. The closest was going to the York House Father & Daughter Dinner Dance with Ale. I went two years in a row and had to listen to Mr. Murchie (that Mr Murchie) talk about the communist plots, all headed by Alderman Rankin, that were festering in our city.
In Argentina I never ate fish except an un-fishy pejerrey and merlusa on Fridays. I never developed a taste for fish or fishing. In Vancouver I learned from writer Ben Metcalf that fishing was the manly thing to do, it was one of the last remnants of male chauvinism. One never made any jokes about it.
Vancouver Magazine art director Rick Staehling talked about fly fishing and fly tying. I felt left out even though I had no interest in fishing.
To my amazement Rebecca got excited about fishing when we arrived at my friend Howard Houston's Lake Buchanan property in Texas a few weeks back. Rebecca asked Howard to teach her to fish.
We first tried by going out on the lake in Howard's pontoon boat. There were no bites. From the dock Rebecca was more lucky and she bagged five carp. She felt sorry for the fish so she let them go. This was a sacrifice as Rebecca, unlike her meat eating grandfather, is keen on fish, be it cooked or raw.
From Howard's living room window I watched Howard bond with Rebecca and then for hours on end Rebecca fished on her own, never losing her confidence and interest.
I am most grateful to Howard for the moments of pleasure as I gazed out of the window. It was far more fun than going to Sears. I wonder what Rebecca would think about playing with an electric train. And Hilary, her mother, whom I didn't take to Sears (Rosemary did) I am sure will handle future rites of passage.
And I cannot stop from thinking of being in Mr Marshall's civics course at St. Ed's in Austin, sometime in 1960 with Howard sitting nearby. How was I to know that someday Howard would teach my granddaughter to fish?
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