A Father and Son Go Fishing During covid-19: the next one hit wonder country song

Times are strange. I feel like I’m watching a movie. When I check the news feed before closing my eyes at night—which, let me just stress, that’s a bad idea—nothing feels real. With every article, every update, thousands more cases have been confirmed with hundreds more deaths right behind. Story after story, photo after photo reveals a world that seems so distant to me as I shelter with my family tucked away in the mountains. I don’t take for granted where we are amidst what feels like the world falling apart around us, things that seemed so permanent and stable are crashing to pieces. We decided the best thing for our family and to help stop the spread of the covid-19 virus during this time is to "shelter-in-place" in a secluded home that our extremely generous friends have offered to us. This house we’ve retreated to sits in a valley. It’s as if the rolling peaks are the walls of our fortress, protecting us from the disease that is slowly yet steadily infiltrating the rest of the world. 

We’ve been here for almost two weeks but it feels much longer. It's becoming our home away from home. We’ve gotten into a rhythm of school and play and family time that has been sweet and precious. We’ve hiked and explored, witnessed wildlife wake up after its winter sleep, found spring in the trees blooming the prettiest of flowers, I’ve drank way too much Coke and coffee and the kids have eaten way too much popcorn and ice cream (because apparently a global pandemic calls for over-caffeinating and sugar highs), and Travis and Theo went fishing one night.

I stood on the porch, gazing a little longer than I usually would have as Travis and Theo walked side by side down the driveway, father holding his pole, son carrying the net over his shoulder, and I marveled at the simplicity and beauty of the moment. My husband of almost 15 years, my boy who grew inside of me only six short years ago, the mental picture I was capturing could’ve come straight out of a country song. They crossed the street to walk through the field where the cows graze the other half of the year to the river on the other side. As they became two little dots below the towering mountains above I hoped they would catch something, if not a trout then maybe a crawdad or a salamander. But even if they didn’t, I hoped more than anything it would be a special time for father and son, a memory they could tuck away for a long time. 

For the next hour or so hour I sat on the porch swing, Coke in hand, and watched the sun slowly set behind the mountains, Anna and Owen playing “puppies” in the yard with our gracious host. Then when I didn't think they would ever return I saw those two little dots reappear out from the trees. For the five minutes it took them to cross the field and the street and walk up the driveway, I eagerly anticipated hearing all about their discoveries and time together.  

“We caught two fish! We caught two fish! And I netted them!” Theo’s little voice rang out as he climbed the stairs to the porch. His smile beamed across his face and said it all. He was so proud of his accomplishment. He was so proud to have been with his daddy the last few hours. His enthusiasm was contagious. My smile grew as I listened to him share about the two rainbow trout Travis caught and how his daddy couldn’t have done it without his expert netter. 

A few days later as I was working with Theo on his phonics lesson he was prompted to write a secret letter to someone in his family. He knew exactly who that would be. He dictated as I wrote the message for him to copy. Stopping every now and then to giggle he finished copying his letter with the most precious picture of his daddy and him fishing below. He folded it up, and tiptoeing into the bedroom he placed his beloved message on Travis’s pillow. If you know Theo then you know he can’t keep a secret for the life of him, so he immediately told Travis there may or may not be something waiting for him. Those next few moments of the sweet interaction between father and son held such simplistic beauty. I witnessed love and joy and goodness and gentleness—fruits that are so needed during this time. 
Times really are really, really strange--I cannot emphasize "really" enough. While my family is secluded in a beautiful place it doesn’t take away from the fact that our life, along with everyone else's, has been upended (aside from "sheltering-in-place", toilet paper being sold out everywhere, and the fear of catching this virus, I mean, I went from drinking soda only once in a blue moon to consuming a can a day), my kids still bicker like siblings do, I still, if not more, get irritable, we miss our friends and community terribly, and we wonder, as I know everyone does, what the future holds. 

So I share this story of Travis and Theo fishing because it may not have happened had life not drastically changed in the last month. Sure, there would have been other fishing outings, but I appreciate that moment more with the heartfelt letter written after because of what’s going on in the world. I watched them walk away toward the river, imagining they were in a country song, but really, more so just captivated by a father and a son enjoying one another and God’s creation that continues to go on. Spring still blooming, birds still singing, and life still happening, it just looks a little different now. And if it’s allowing me to slow down and delight in the simplistic beauty that still is and watch the things that I thought were permanent and stable come crashing down so that all that remains are heavenly things, like love and joy and goodness and gentleness, then praise God. 


  1. What a beautiful picture and memory to treasure forever. Thankful for the gifts in this very strange season. 💛

    1. Yes, very thankful for these gifts during this time. Love and hugs to you and your family, Sylvia!