Main Menu

The Sassy Sandpiper: Yo, Dad!

By M.R. WILSON, TB Reporter

The father-daughter love is part of the circle of life.

Today we honor fathers and father figures. We might buy a rose for the mamas, too, because without them there’d be no papas.

I actually called my father “Papa” in his later years. Softer and gentler than “Dad.”

My fondest memories of my father are those of our fishing trips to Snug Harbor, the quiet little inlet of Tampa Bay off Gandy Bridge in the early to mid-1960s (not to be confused with today’s posh waterfront development). My folks were divorced. Dad would roll up in his white Corvair early on a weekend morning. He’d cook bacon-and-egg breakfasts for my brother Dan and me; then we’d set off. We rented a wood rowboat and got a bucket of live shrimp. I learned how to bait a hook and brave a painful tail-smack from feisty crustaceans. We caught grunt, drum, bass, trout, redfish, sheep’s head, yellow jack, and ladyfish.

Fishing with Father

Those things I took from the sea:

Tiny. Babies.

I returned what I’d taken

to foam.


Not Father; no, he

from the waves

six speckled trout took,

at least one of which nourished me here.


Fathers provide.

Daughters give back.


Even the rest

from quick-sliced fillets

I fed to pelicans

a feast.


Fathers provide.

Daughters give back.

—MRW, 1980


Dad worked as an “instrument technician” with various companies, performing skilled assembly work on things called “potentiometers.” I thought that sounded very sophisticated. For a year or two, he owned a bait and tackle shop near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I think it was one of the happiest times of his life.

Dad walked me down the aisle in my white lace wedding gown. He shared my grief when Mom, Granny and Dan died; he wept for joy when I gave him good news about a medical procedure. He accompanied me during a chemotherapy consultation.

Important stuff. I’m grateful.

Fathers provide.

                                                                                             Daughters give back.

I’m not certain what I gave back, but I am certain my Dad and I loved each other. His life with my mother failed, but nobody tried to sabotage my relationship with him, an enormous blessing. Mom often said, “You take after your father,” and I have the sneaking suspicion she probably meant the resemblance didn’t stop with my sense of humor and swamp-green eyes.

Back to the love, which brings me to a couple of Honorable Mentions. I won’t name names because I bet you know and admire men like these:

The rock star fishing with his little man at the Weedon Island Preserve; the dad losing contact with his kids and finding them again via social media; a single father taking a 5-year-old on an epic journey through the Rocky Mountains; a public figure easing upheaval in his girls’ lives; the self-made man becoming a registered architect-engineer through home study; the artist-intellectual-musician holding down three jobs to pay child support; a bishop leaving the Church to better tend his flock.

                        Fathers provide.

                        Daughters give back.

(The accompanying photo is of Jack Wilson, courtesy of M.R. Wilson)

Columns | The Sassy Sandpiper | Holidays | Father’s Day | TB Reporter

#Columns #TheSassySandpiper #Holidays #Father’s Day #TBReporter

The Sassy Sandpiper:  Yo, Dad!
Article Name
The Sassy Sandpiper: Yo, Dad!
The father-daughter love is part of the circle of life.
Publisher Name
Tampa Bay Reporter
Publisher Logo

Comments are Closed