Martin Strarup, Jr.
September 19, 1928 July 24, 2007
"On the walk back to my own boat, I wondered if anyone would ever follow my tracks and if they would learn from them the way I had learned from those I followed. Did I leave deep enough tracks? Was my path straight enough or did I venture too often from the straight and narrow into the unknown? Would they hesitate at the hard places and take the easier way around or would they follow where I had gone and succeed as I had? Would they wonder who I was if they did go where I had gone? Would they feel a twinge of sadness when my tracks ended and only theirs remained?"
The above quote is from an article I wrote years ago that was simply entitled Tracks. I thought it was appropriate to use again in this article since I am attributing the tracks in this case to my father who passed away recently. I can only hope that I will someday fit into the tracks he made during his life.
It's a hard thing that a lot of people have already experienced, saying goodbye to their daddy; it was a new experience for me. How do you say goodbye to someone you've known all of your life, someone who taught you the basics of everything you hold dear? It's not easy; it's not easy at all.
I've written before of how I learned from my dad by watching and listening to what he said. I wrote about the red Ambassadeur reels and the Hump lures that he was so fond of fishing with. I've written about floundering with him and having to catch up to him due to my fooling around with crabs and stingrays and other creatures of the bay. I've told the story about how he taught me to run a boat and to navigate West Matagorda Bay with a compass and then turned me loose when I was 13 years old.
I would hope that everyone has the same chance to spend time with his or her dad and I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend almost 50 years with mine. A dad can teach you so much if they have the inclination and patience. And if you have the will and the want to learn from him, you will. I did, and I'm so thankful that I listened to what he had to say and didn't do the typical teen-age thing and consider his wisdom just typical "old man" stuff.
I'm not going to take up a lot of space this month. In order for me to tell all my stories of my adventures with my dad I'd need much more than the two pages our esteemed Editor allows me each month, and besides, I'm not so sure that Dad would want me telling too many of our secrets.
I owe my father for instilling in me a love for boats and for chasing and catching speckled trout and for teaching me that a full cooler of fish is not all that makes a trip successful. I owe him for my ability to know where that buck will be on opening day of deer season and for teaching me the best location to place a deer blind. I owe a great debt to him and I can only hope that he considers that debt paid in full.
Godspeed Daddy. I hope that I made you proud; I hope that I can leave deep enough steps for your grandson to follow and that I will always be as patient with him as you were with me.