Under the Tree

"Josh, wake up, it's Christmas!"

A body stirred under the blanket and then took off for the door, feet sliding and skidding all the way. 

"Christmas, it's Christmas!" 

"Wow! Did Santa empty his sack here?"

Josh's mom tucked her feet under her and watched while he tore through ribbon, tape and wrapping paper. 

"Look at all the fishing gear!"

"Josh, did you miss one, that one in the corner?" 

As Josh was making a bee line for the corner, the doorbell rang.

"I got it mom."

"Who is it?" 

"Uncle Dave and he's got presents!"

Josh was lifted up in the air, "you're getting big!" 

"Big enough to go fishing?" 

"Yep, that's why I'm here."

Josh's mom nodded. 

"I don't have a rod."

"You forget about that corner?" 

Josh grabbed the box from the corner and looked at the tag, "but this says it's from dad," he looked at his uncle. 

"Last rod he made, knew he might not make your first trip, so he wanted you to have this." 

Josh quietly tore off the paper, and pulled the rod tube from the box.  The cap was spun off and the pieces assembled. 

Josh threaded the line as he'd been taught. His uncle helped him with the leader and tied on a piece of yarn. "You remember what your dad taught you?" 

"Elbow on the shelf, stop the rod, follow through." 

Before heading out, Josh stopped to read the inscription on the handle, " 

"For my son, my hand is on your hand, your cast is my cast, love Dad." 

"Uncle Dave, you think he can see us?" 

"I'm certain he's smiling right now. Now let's see if he was right about this rod." 

The air was still, the morning light shone gold, and line sailed through the guides on a Christmas morning. 



-Stuart Van Dorn