Fishing With John

There’s something magic in the time
A man spends with his son,
Establishing relationships
While both of them are young.

I treasure every moment spent,
The memory brings me joy,
Of going camping in the woods
And fishing with my boy.

We’d head out West and we would drive
As fast as we could go
Until we reached the mountain peaks
Of North New Mexico.

We seldom ever took a tent
Or pots and pans and such.
Our bed, a mattress in the back
Of our old pickup truck.

We’d camp at Taos or Eagle Nest,
Red River and Raton,
Or at the lake near Springer,
Ute Park and Cimarron.

We didn’t have a lot of chores
While camped out by a stream.
We feasted on potato chips,
Hamburgers, and ice cream.

We never had a dish to wash.
No clean-up was required.
We ate our food from paper plates,
Then threw them in the fire.

We’d stop and read the markers that
We found along the way
About Black Jack Ketchum’s hanging
And Billy the Kid’s grave.

About a man named Packer, who
Ate human flesh, they say,
To survive a cold, long winter
Back in the early days.

The trails were marked where real cowboys,
On mammoth cattle drives,
Drove a thousand head of cattle
Back when the West was wild.

We’d cross the Colorado line
And camp near Cripple Creek,
Or at Lake City, in full view
Of Uncompahgre Peak.

By day we’d wade the mountain streams
And catch a trout or two,
Worn out and wet, get back to camp
Just as the day was through.

I saw the marvel of tall trees
That seemed to touch the skies,
The mystery of high mountain peaks
Reflected in his eyes.

Success was never measured by
How many fish we’d take
Back to our camp, but by the rocks
We skipped across the lake.

By night we’d sit around the fire
And cook the fish we caught,
Exaggerate their size and talk
About how hard they fought.

About the deer we saw along
The trail we walked that day,
The little fish we caught and how
The big ones got away!

The flickering fire, the failing flame,
The glowing embers red
Reminded us that day was done
And time to go to bed.

We’d climb up in the pickup truck
And sleep and dream, and when
The morning sun lit up the sky
We’d do it all again!

Now in the Autumn of my life
With Spring and Summer spent,
I think about our fishing trips,
And I’m so glad we went.

My sympathy is with the man
Whose race is almost run,
Who has no memories about
Going fishing with his son.