FISHING WITH MY DAD by Tom Quinlan My dad passed away last year at the age of 93. The last few years of his life were difficult due to health issues which he﷯ faced without complaint. But, the hardest time of his life happened many years ago when knee problems prevented him from enjoying his favorite hobby fishing. My earliest memories are filled with going out fishing with this big strong guy. He always owned 18-20 foot open boats with an outboard motor. He also went fishing with his friends from the fire department on bigger boats they would charter. I remember him coming home proudly showing his family the big strippers and blue fish he caught. My mother had all sorts of special cooking methods for his catch and we would all sit around the kitchen table listening to him tell us about his fishing adventures. On his own boats he always had special “fishing holes” that he studied for years that always produced fish. He showed me how to bait a hook, what lures or bait to use and most of all how to sit quiet which was not easy for a young boy. In his seventies, now retired with plenty of time to fish, he developed bad knee problems. He was not able to get aboard his small boat and no longer able to go out on charter trips with his friends. I don’t know how to explain it but he seemed to grow very old once he was not longer able to fish. I tried to keep his spirits up by taking him out on piers and bridges fishing where he could get around. I could see that he appreciated my efforts and tried to look like he was having fun but standing or sitting on firm concrete in a fixed spot was not his idea of real fishing. Watching him trying not to look at fishing boats of all sizes full of people having a great day go by was sad. I said to my wife after one of our fishing trips on a pier that it seemed like the light went out of his eyes. When Walt Schulz told me about his plans and showed me his drawings for Pilar and how people who are paralyzed and those with mobility problems could actually get aboard, use the head and go fishing I instantly thought of my Dad. I wish that we could have had Pilar for him to go fishing. Although maybe I wouldn’t have understood how important what seems like a small thing like fishing is to so many people unless I had seen my father’s hurt.