Father and adult son on beach

The Best Gift this Father’s Day

June 18, 2020 by Hunter Swanson

He played catch with us in the backyard, taught us to drive stick, and walked us down the aisle. He helped us up when we scraped our knees and cheered us on when started going again. He has shaped the very foundation of who we are today. Dad.

So what do we get him this Father’s Day?

Most of my gifts have been influenced by a very specific moment – my first memory. I am peering over the railing of the deep sea charter boat Western Pride out of Newport Landing to catch a glimpse of the sand bass I’d been struggling to reel in with a rod twice as big as me for the past five minutes, and my dad is cheering beside me every second. I was four.

Thirty years later and that moment is still my happy place.

Since then I have gotten him all sorts of fishing-themed gifts. A tie in the shape of a rainbow trout, new tackle box with colorful lures, a “Gone Fishin’” singing bass plaque, even a few trips out to sea with my brother and me. Each one met with the same mustached smile, an excited glean in his eyes, and eager anticipation for the next oceanic adventure.

But as I look to this coming Father’s Day and ask myself what to get my dad, I realize something. The smile that stretches his greying mustache ear to ear spreads not because of the gift he opens, but because of the experience it promises to bring. A new memory of sea salt and diesel, of fish scales and rolling waves, of bent rods and childish laughter. A moment remembered by the heart.

So this Father’s Day, think back to what experiences your dad has given you. What memories are etched into the lining of your heart causing it to skip a beat every time it crosses your mind? Give your dad the gift he has given to you.

Give him a happy place.

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