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My Father Loved The Lakes May 8, 2012

Posted by Tom Wells in Tom's Posts.

My father loved the lakes. They were his go-to place to get away with his family.  He loved fishing, but it wasn’t the sport of fishing he loved. He didn’t have a tackle box the size of a suitcase and he never had a fancy rod and reel.  His style of fishing was a reflection of his personality, straightforward and uncomplicated. Put a worm on a hook and catch a fish. For Delbert Wells, fishing was an excuse to spend time with his friends and family.

Through the 70’s and 80’s, every major 3-day holiday was a time to go to our home away from home, Santa Margarita Lake.  The number one activity at the lake was as you can guess, fishing. Dad would “get up at the crack of dawn,” which often wasn’t as close to sunrise as it sounds, but it was the coolest time of the day.  He’d take whichever of his kids he could wake up then and we’d go out on a boat with his best friends Dick and Roy (oh, the stories to be told from these two).  We’d go out on the lake when the water surface was smooth as glass, and we’d start fishing their favorite coves, working our way further and further back to where only boats could go.

Dad, Dick and Roy would spend the morning telling their stories that I never got tired of hearing, even if I didn’t always fully understand them.  It was more about the way those three interacted that was the entertaining part.  Roy was the comedian, Dick was the grumpy old man and my dad was the straight man with the deadpan delivery. Occasionally there was the excitement and interruption of bringing a fish on board, but mostly it was about the time together alone on the lake.  Dad was always there and ready to help us kids take care of our bait and help us land the bluegill and catfish. He wasn’t the one telling the most stories, and for those of you who knew him, that is saying something. But he was inseparable from those mornings.

Starting with the marina at the front of the lake, there are 13 floating boat docks tethered to the shore where the bathrooms for the anglers are.  Most of the docks are around the wider main body of the lake, but the last one is located way back in a long finger we called the narrows. It was the landmark that signified the unofficial end of the morning fishing trip.  The old timers to the lake called it Pier 13, where dad and the rest of us went to unload the morning’s coffee and other beverages before heading back off the lake ahead of the afternoon heat.


On our way to pier 13

This weekend we went back to Pier 13.  As in the years past we had one large boat like the one Roy owned and we had a rented aluminum outboard boat like the ones dad and Dick would have shared in renting.  As you see from the pictures, there was a large group there, including dad in an unassuming container. We toasted our goodbyes to dad where some of our fondest memories of him will always be.  He will forever be inseparable from that place and our final tribute means he will be there at Pier 13 in body and spirit forever.


Arriving as a group at Pier 13, Margarita Lake CA.


I’m on the right. This is just after we tosted goodbye.


1. Nick T.Chan - May 9, 2012

Hi Tom,

Nick T.Chan here. I’ve backtracked to here from my writer’s group blog.

Firstly, my condolences on the loss of your father. I’ve recently lost my grandmother (the main reason I haven’t yet updated the post on my WOTF experiences: as soon as I returned, my wife’s grandfather and then my grandmother died, with two hospital trips in-between for my daughter) and it’s a hard, hard thing, no matter the circumstances.

With Kathy Wentworth’s death, my follow-up is obviously going to change, but I’ll attempt to get it done as soon as possible.

One thing I’ll note from your blog is that posting a story here counts as first publication. My take is that if you can’t get a story published, trunk it for later revision, keep it until you find a suitable market that does love it (and sometimes the market won’t exist for quite a while) or put it to Kindle. Sometimes a story isn’t meant to be at a particular point in time for any number of reasons.



2. Tom Wells - May 10, 2012

Thanks Nick and my condolences to you too.

Not to worry about my story here as a first publication for it. It isn’t a finished work fully. I’ve been reading through it with my kids and I can see some areas that need to have minor adjustments for flow. I am only posting it as a solicitation for feedback. Also, I don’t plan on a tradiional route for the story. I will e-publish it on Smashwords and Kindle when it’s ready.

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