Chesapeake Outdoors By C.D. Dollar
Vol. 9, No. 24
June 14-20, 2001
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Thanks, Dad, for more than you can ever know

Reflecting upon the impact my father had on my life is not only daunting, it is downright unattainable, perhaps even silly, particularly within the confines of this column. However, my editor, bless her journalistic instincts, thought that such an endeavor would make a nice Father’s Day piece.

Like many father-son relationships, ours was one of ebbs and flows, where the tensions of growing up and taking responsibility for one’s actions are met with encouraging praise, but occasionally, and generally justified, stiff rebukes. In the last 15 years or so, however, our relationship evolved, allowing us to joke as friends, share ideas and suggestions, even criticisms, with the growing acknowledgment that I wasn’t a boy anymore full of frivolous talk. I was a man with thoughts and perspectives uniquely my own.

My father’s world centered on the free exchange of ideas, which didn’t prevent him from thinking he was right a majority of the time. In nearly all situations he was. He spent his entire academic career as a professor of humanities and later dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Anne Arundel Community College. When he died, my family was flooded with e-mails and letters from friends, former lacrosse players he coached and students who, much to their delight and rarely their regret, had taken one of his classes.

In many ways my father was a simple man, despite his impressive intellect fostered through years of reading classic literature, philosophy and obscure treatises. Pretentious people with unsound or useless agendas were a waste of his energy, and if you failed to submit an idea or put forth an honest effort, my father had no time for you. His students and players quickly recognized that, and if they had an ounce of sense, they listened and learned. The deeply personal sentiments of the scores of people who sent me notes proved that they heard him.

His simple nature was revealed on the water. When we went fishing, he wasn’t consumed with the pursuit of trophy rockfish or teeth-gnashing blues. He liked catching spot, and he loved frying them up with eggs in a cast iron skillet for a mid-morning meal. A hook, sinker and some bait were all it took, and I think he appreciated the spot’s unpretentiousness.

On a recent night, I listened as the Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees honored my father with emeritus status as a dean and professor. I heard of his contributions to the college over the last 35 years and swelled with quiet pride. As I sat there I was awash with memories of lessons he taught me about integrity, perseverance and the self-gratifying reward of hard work. He also taught me how to keep learning and questioning. I reflected about how he encouraged me, in ways both tangible and not, to pursue my writing and guiding career.

But I mainly thought how I wanted to go fishing for spot with him just one last time and fry them up with a couple eggs.

Fish Are Biting

Michael Bogdon of Annapolis took home $10,000 for winning the Sixth Annual Maryland Watermen’s Association Rockfish Tournament, which was based out of Rock Hall last weekend, with a rockfish of 21.4 pounds and 373&Mac218;8 inches.

DNR’s fishing report says that trolling and chumming have been producing keeper rockfish from Rock Hall to the Bay Bridge, with the Gas Docks hot right now for those anglers chumming. Capt. Bart Jaeger and his party scored some hefty spot and croaker bottom fishing between Tolly and Thomas points, but overall the action is sporadic at best. Severn River’s Capt. B reports that fat white perch are taking grass shrimp around structure.

Mollie, Dave and Will did well on an Eastern Shore farm pond for largemouth bass, although algae carpeted the surface. The heat wave shouldn’t help that situation.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly