Except this time, there was one minor difference. This time, the teacher, the Daddy, the mentor, was the guest. The passenger. The "buddy" who was asked to go fishing. Mims has never been very good about being the follower. The one who walks a step behind. The one not in charge. But that day, as today, he was all of those things.
That day after their return, well into the latter part of the day, a conversation about his day transpired. As we moved back and forth on the glider, the words of emotion came tumbling out of Mims and I just sat, rocked, and listened.
But then, Zach attains his driver's license. And suddenly there is not a pond, a lake, a mine hole, or swimming hole that he doesn't hit a lick at. The little tug boat comes back out of retirement, and man alive, the places that little boat has been in the past year. Zach and his buds's go everywhere and anywhere with that boat. Load it up in the back of somebody's truck and they are off, for their next adventure.
Never thinking his Daddy would be very interested in going out in that little tug boat, not when he had a nice fancy bass boat here at the house, Zach never asked his Daddy to go with him. And then he did. As they pulled out that Easter Sunday morning, it was the first time with son driving and Daddy as passenger.
Now obviously, there were some Easter Sunrise services going on, and as part of the story, this of course was relayed back to me. As they road down Attapulgus HWY, in Big Black, with that tug boat hanging out the back, they happened upon one of those services. Big Black itself is not all that loud, but the huge tires are, and it sure was quiet until they rode by all those people on that church lawn in their Sunday best, looking like the second coming of Fred Sanford in that pick up truck with the boat cocked sideways in the back.
But the sentiment is what got me during that conversation. Mims relayed all the memories of taking Zach here and there, but said he never thought about how strange it was going to be to sit on the other side of a vehicle and have his son, take him fishing. That as they drove, he would glance over at Zach every now and again and wonder where had all the time gone and how in the world did we get to this place so fast. Where was that three year old little boy, who jumped off porches in cowboy boots, that he met when we first moved here, or the five year old who pumped his skinny little legs as hard as they would go when he played tee-ball, and the seven year old who jumped to the sky on his bike ramps.
Mims is not much for mush and gush. But I could tell those feelings had been weighing on him for the better part of that day. So this morning when I saw them pulling out, I wondered, would today feel the same for Mims, or would this, too, be old school by now, and just the way it is supposed to be.
As I walked back inside, and went about my chores for the morning, my mind drifted back to his Sanford and Son reference from a couple of months ago. And it wasn't long before I caught myself humming the theme song, and smiling to myself thinking about those big old tires bouncing up and down, all the way down Attapulgus Hwy, one more time.