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Being with Dad: a faith-based story from the Story Powerline
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 by Glen A Hinshaw

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting with Dad, Mom and my sister Arlene in church. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1950 when I was nine years old. Faith and fishing had a lot to do with my destiny. My early childhood experiences in the outdoors gave focus for what would become my life’s work as a wildlife conservation officer.

I started fishing with a stick and string when the water from the garden hose created a miniature stream in a row of our Victory Garden. I caught my first fish at Sloan’s Lake when I was three years old and I had an adult fishing license by the time I was eight, following Dad on the river. Dad showed me how to read the water and cast my line to where fish waited for food to drift by.

Dad always set a good example for me.

He asked for permission to fish or hunt on private land. He had a way of being granted permission; maybe because he had been a farmer and spoke their language. After a successful fishing trip we went to the ranch house and showed our catch and offered the rancher some of our fish. Dad had me give him the fish. As a result we sometimes went home without our full bag limits. We did the same thing when we went pheasant hunting. Dad sent Christmas cards and made friends with many landowners. He didn’t take them for granted. I was learning from dad how to get along with people.

Dad was a postal letter carrier who could walk the legs off a good horse.

I went on my first backpack trip to Rainbow Lake west of Walden, Colorado when I was nine years old. Dad carried all our gear. Our mission was to find high country lakes and streams loaded with lunker trout.

When we reached the lake, we pitched our pup tent, cut fir boughs to soften the ground (no foam or air mattress), and gathered firewood (no gas stove).

We caught fish for supper.

Dad taught me how to build a campfire. When it burned down to hot coals, we rolled our fish in corn meal, salted, and fried them. After supper we washed dishes and went back to fishing.

When a thunderstorm came over the Divide, we got into our tent and talked about fishing and life. When darkness came we crawled into our army surplus sleeping bags. The rain poured down, lightning flashed and lit our tent like a lantern. Thunder echoed off the surrounding peaks and shook the ground.

Dad wasn’t scared so why should I be?

The falling rain lulled me off to sleep. This was the life for me!

As a youth I focused on fishing, but now what I value the most is that fishing was not a matter of catching fish, but more a matter of being with Dad.

I was fortunate to have a dad who was a good role model and loved the outdoors with respect and awe. He introduced me to the great outdoors and I would come to dedicate myself to protecting it. He taught me the hunting, fishing, and woodsman skills that I used and built upon throughout my life. He was also a role model of honesty and integrity, the foundation of sportsmanship: what a man is when no one is watching.

Dads and moms aren’t our only role models.

Big brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, teachers and friends can be good role models, too. Who looks to you as a role model?

A prayer for today

Lord, in my life you’ve given me good role models and bad role models. I pray for good judgment to recognize which is which, to refuse to imitate the bad role models, and to follow and give you thanks for the good role models. And help me remember to be a good role model myself even when it looks like no one is watching. Amen.

Resource: This story is excerpted from Echoes From the Mountains: The Life and Adventures of a Colorado Wildlife Officer, by Glen A. Hinshaw on Amazon

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