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Frye: Another chapter in a fishing life

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Call it a Freudian park job.

I was meeting my family in Cranberry. My oldest son, Derek, a college junior, was leaving from there for school, his fall break over. My wife, Mandy, and I were taking our youngest, Tyler, a high school senior, to meet with the chairman of the music department at a university he's considering.

They were running late, I was early and feeling the effects of having slept just five hours the night before. I pulled into a strip mall, figuring I'd nap while I waited. Settling in, I realized that I had parked in front of a Babies “R” Us.

I saw a very pregnant woman — good golly, how did she fit behind the wheel? — along with a couple pushing a stroller.

Do they have any idea what they're in for, I wondered?

I didn't. When Derek was born, someone told me “your life's really going to change now.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I know.”

I didn't have a clue.

You can budget for car seats, plan for diapers and learn to pack Cheerios on every trip. But nothing prepares you for the depths of love children bring.

One experience fishing with Tyler always reminds me of that.

He's not the die-hard outdoorsman his brother and I are these days. He's a drummer who gave up hunting when it conflicted with marching band season, though he still gets a fishing license, loves to kayak and likes to shoot on occasion.

But there was a day when he was much younger that I intended to fish alone. It was a weekend, and I was looking forward to some serious angling, without having to constantly untangle lines or unhook tiny bluegills. Pulling out of the driveway, though, I saw Tyler on the porch steps. He was sobbing.

I stopped in front of the house and asked my wife what was wrong.

“He knows you're going fishing, and he wants to go with you,” she said.

I looked at the tears on his toddler face and couldn't bear it.

“Get your stuff,” I said. “You can go.”

I don't recall where we went, or if we caught anything. But we spent the day together, and I'm so glad.

Now that little fishing buddy is only months away from moving on. Sure, we'll have spring and fall breaks, holidays and summers. But soon, I'll be the one on the porch steps, trying to hold back tears as Tyler prepares to pull away.

The fact that that's how things are supposed to work won't make it any less wrenching.

He'll follow his brother out the door, and I'll go cast a line alone. My serious fishing time is nearly here — ready or not.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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