Monday, 24 June 2019

C Columns

Outdoors With Dougherty: On Family, Fishing and Getting Spanked

By Dan Dougherty

A new year is now upon us: 2019. How could it be here already? Where have all the years gone? It seems like I was just a young, smooth-faced lad out hunting with my father, but now I'm a “mature,” gray-bearded man hunting with his grandkids.

This year, we spent Thanksgiving out at my son James’s ranch near Hidden Springs. We had an abundance of food and a great time with the kids and grandkids. Jessica, my daughter-in-law, made a wonderful turkey on their Traeger grill. Taking a picture of it reminded me of one family photo I had just recently seen of my grandma’s brother, Joe, and sister, Clara, smiling over a Thanksgiving turkey years ago.

When I was growing up, we did not have very many holiday dinners with relatives. We did not usually have relatives living in the town where Dad was a pastor. When we lived in Pendleton, we would occasionally go to my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson’s house in Portland. Our holidays mostly consisted of immediate family and a couple of church members my parents thought would enjoy a family meal. They were often elderly with no family nearby.

Moving to Caldwell, we came to an area where my mom had many relatives. We had meals in many of their homes throughout the Caldwell, Deer Flat, and Greenleaf areas. They were all an elderly part of the Root connection, but they were lively and fun. I loved hearing their stories about family and faith. I learned about family “Roots” that, previously, I had never known much about.

My grandma had two sisters and five brothers. Her father, Rev. Myron M. Root, had been a Free Methodist minister. All of his sons except my great uncle, Joe, were ministers or missionaries. Uncle Joe was a farmer just outside of Caldwell and was very active in the Deer Flat Free Methodist Church. He had carved his farm out of the sagebrush years earlier. I have a picture of Uncle Joe and Grandpa Johnson ridding the area of jackrabbits. I have my grandpa’s gun, an 1890 octagon-barreled RemingtonPump that shoots .22 longs.

Uncle Joe introduced me to some good fishing spots. I fished with him from junior high up through my college years. On trips into Oregon, I would buy my Oregon day license; Joe always had a yearly one. My first trip in to fish Owyhee Reservoir was through Leslie Gulch. The rock formations and view were beautiful. It was my first experience of seeing bighorn sheep. After a very successful day of catching crappie, we headed home a different way. While traveling on the Three Fingers Loop road, we saw a herd of wild horses and many deer. Later, we stopped and checked out an old mine in the area. A wonderful trip.

We also fished Antelope Reservoir near Jordan Valley. On my first trip in with Joe and his neighbor,we were headed to a spot on the reservoir called Caldwell Point, a section of good fishing water that many Idaho residents frequented. I asked Joe if he ever saw any antelope. He just smiled and pointed. Almost as if on cue, an antelope was running about 20 yards off the driver's side of the pickup. It increased its speed and crossed the road directly in front of us. All I could say was, “Cool!” Joe and his neighbor both laughed. We caught some very nice 14- to 18-inch trout that day.

I fished Antelope for many years after that. During my early years of college, fishing with school friends, we used to see F4 Phantom jets on training runs from Mountain Home streaking low across the sky. Later they were replaced with the impressive F111. My friends and I always caught a bunch of nice fish on those trips. Years ago, during a drought year, Antelope almost became dry, and the fishing was ruined. That has now been quite a while back, and maybe I should check it out again.

In returning home after a day of fishing, my uncle once asked with a smile and a twinkle in his eye ifI was spanked much growing up. With a twinkle in my eye, I responded I never needed one; I was a perfect child. We laughed — we both knew the truth. I then answered, “Only when I needed it!” I explained that the worst punishment for me was when Dad would take me over to the altar at church. We would kneel, and he would lovingly put his arm around me, and we would discuss my errant behavior. Then we both would pray — him first and then me. With tears in his eyes and mine, he would hug me. Seeing the tear in my uncle’s eye as I told the story, I knew he came from a similar background.

I worked in California on my Grandpa Dougherty’s fruit ranch with my older brothers during the summers I was 12 to 15. One day during the summer I was 13, I was helping pick fruit to take to the local pastor. Grandpa knew I would not mind going with him so I could see the pastor's daughter. While working, I asked Grandpa if he spanked my dad. He responded that he did, and that Dad was one stubborn boy. He then asked me if I got spanked. After my affirmative response, he asked, “Why does your dad do it?” I answered, “Because he wants me to be good?” Grandpa said, “Yes, but why?” Being somewhat intuitive and knowing my father, I answered, “Because he loves me.”

Grandpa then went into a speech about the value of love, God, and expectations. The part that stuck in my mind was the relationship he was making between love and correction. He quoted a verse from the Bible that has stuck with me through all these years. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens...” —Hebrews 12:6 (NKJV)

The other day I asked my 9-year-old grandson, Cash, if he got spanked. He responded that he did not get spanked much but instead got thumped on the head. He added that he didn't get thumped so much anymore; now it just took a warning look from his dad to get him to behave. I had to laugh. I told him that growing up, I always referred to a knock on the head as a PAT. It stood for a “Pay Attention Thump.” It only came occasionally when I was little. Later, all my father had to do was give me a warning look like the one my grandson gets from his dad.

I continued by asking Cash why he got thumped, and he said it was because he was doing something wrong. I asked, “Why does your dad care?” He answered, “Because he wants me to be good.” I asked why. He said, “Because he likes me (pause)... He loves me!”

With love as the key value, in this era we still need intergenerational contact and sharing. It is important we share the wisdom of our life experience with the younger ones to help guide them in a positive way on their life journey. This connection helps to give us purpose and keeps us active and relevant.

As I reflect on bygone years, I have to thank the Lord for allowing me to be born into a loving, God-centered family. I was fortunate to have family, friends and relatives to help guide my life. Sadly, that is something many people need, but don’t have. Our commission as Christians is to look for the opportunity to help those people and to support each other. May that become part of your New Year's resolutions this year.


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