“You want me to go fishing with you on Saturday?!” I tried not to groan, but I didn’t quite succeed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind going fishing with Dad, but I was hoping to sleep in. When Dad goes fishing he’s up and going at 4 a.m. and I hate getting up that early! But, being the good daughter that I am, I didn’t say no right away.
“Where are you going?” I hedged.
“There’s a lake I heard about that you can drive to; no hiking.”
Dad knew me well. He knew it’d be more enticing if I didn’t have to hike for hours through the mountains. “You can drive to this lake?”
I must’ve sounded rather incredulous, “Yes, you don’t even have to hike in.” We lived in the Andes Mountains and as you went higher there were fewer roads.
My mind was working. Fishing without the hike--it sounded almost too good to be true. “Sure, I’ll go.” I knew I could curl up in a clump of paramo grass, catch a morning nap and still have plenty of time to fish a little and to read some.
Saturday came and I piled into the truck before 4:30, grumbling about it while Dad happily sang chorus after chorus. What Dad greatly lacks in a singing voice, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm, so I wasn’t able to sleep any before we left the paved roads for the mountain roads.
“Remind me next time to ask about the so-called road before agreeing!!” The road was so rough that my head was coming close to hitting the roof, so I put my seat belt on to keep me anchored down. Right when I thought the road couldn’t get any worse, it did.
“Stop!” I hollered as I grabbed onto both the dashboard and the door arm rest. Dad slammed on the breaks, gripping the steering wheel tight enough his knuckles were white and looked over at me. “You missed a bump back there!”
There was a wicked gleam in his eye when he realized what I’d said. He threw the truck in reverse and backed up fast, swerving crazily from one side of the road to the other, stopped, slid it back into drive, and took off like a mad-man, still swerving from side to side. I was holding on for dear life, screeching and laughing at the same time, begging him to stop.
When he once again slammed on his breaks I wilted onto the seat. “There! Did I get them all that time?” I was still trying to catch my breath so I didn’t respond. “What?! I still missed some?”
He reached to shift back into reverse but I lunged for his hand, “No! Please, no more!” It was hard to talk while laughing so hard, “You got them all!”
At last we topped out onto a plateau and the lake lay before us. “Wow,” Dad stopped the truck and we sat there in awe. Not only was the lake in front of us, but to the right a steep, rocky peak soared high, and best of all, the view of Antisana. “I heard we’d see the mountain on a clear day.”
Dad was soon pulling out his fishing gear, and I grabbed my backpack, anxious to settle into a clump of paramo grass. The peace of the lake enfolded me and I dozed off listening to the breeze blow above me, through the grass.
Along about mid-morning Dad took off hiking, and I gladly picked up my book, knowing he’d be gone for a couple of hours. I knew from past experiences he would find a spot and settle in to read his Bible, he always said he felt closest to God while out there fishing.
The next time I saw Dad he was stopped in the middle of the plateau, standing with his hands raised. At first I thought something was wrong, but when the wind shifted I could hear him singing. He sang all four verses of “How Great Thou Art,” in English and also in Spanish, and my heart joined his in worship and praise.
That’s still how l picture him, wearing his fishing vest and battered felt hat, standing in the middle of the Andes Mountains singing “How Great Thou Art.” Fishing was just a side trip, but connecting with God was the real reason for heading out there.
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