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Jennifer Shirley
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FISHING FROM HEAVEN


It’s about my dad who has been gone now for some 16 years. He was one of those dads who provided for his family so we could have all the things necessary to make us comfortable and live a happy life, but wasn’t a very big participant in the everyday goings on with us kids. Now that I look back on it I don’t think he ever really learned how to be a really good parent from his own parents. I know he loved us kids, he just didn’t know how to show it.   My dad was a funeral director all of his life adult life. He followed the family business and it eventually took its toll on him. The sorrow and the grief that were the heart of his work were more than he could bear and the escape of sitting on the quiet water fishing wasn’t enough to balance it all. He died at age 61.


One of the best memories that all of us kids have with our dad was fishing. He was an avid fisherman and when I would get to go with him it made for some of the best memories I have of him. “Don’t ever sit at the front of the boat, you’ll never catch a thing; hold your mouth just right, here’s how you tie a fisherman’s knot”. I used to love to sit and dig though his numerous tackle boxes. I can still remember that smell of the rod and reel oil. I loved to watch him tie flies, and make his own fishing rods. The memories are sweet when I think back on them. Everything I learned about fishing from him, my son now knows and he is a darned good fisherman too. For that I’m grateful. My older brother was probably the closest to my dad. They spent the most time together fishing.


The name of this piece is “Fishing from Heaven”. I honestly have no idea what it means as far as its representation. I sketched it into my book probably three years ago and it just now came to be. I guess I just hope that my dad finally found the courage to love with abandon and not hold back. To do what he wanted to do, finally. I hope he’s reeling in the fish hand over fist and that he is surrounded by angels.


The angel is maple from Vicki’s tree turned in two parts and adorned with a silver wire halo.


                                                                                                                                - Jennifer Shirley