Saturday, August 8, 2015

"You have given me everything I need."

Retirement isn't 'all about us'. In its essence it means we are of a certain age. Everyone around us has also reached a certain age. Friends are our reflection, children are our soul and parents our conscience. Frail, reflective on their accomplishments and worrisome of what they have not given and what they can still give, parents are the embodiment of love. They forever give.

My father is still alive at 89 and I wonder, if I will be so lucky to be present, what he would say on his deathbed. Would he feel he failed us in any way? Would he be proud of us? Would he rest that we are okay?

Death becomes personal and selfish. We feel a great loss, I imagine. We can never be truly prepared. But, honestly, we only think of ourselves. Our loss.

Perhaps this is why I was so touched by my cousin's simple remark. "Dad, you have given me everything I need." I had to turn away in fear tears would stream down my cheeks. I had no words. But isn't that the most cherished thing a child could say to a parent? A gift beyond measure. A gift that would allow them to pass feeling proud and fulfilled.

My family is a proud clan of fishermen. We enjoy line caught fish as often as beef or chicken. My uncle, Doc as everyone called him, was the master of all fishermen. It was befitting that after his funeral we enjoyed pan fried pickerel cheeks.

The legacy has been picked up by my cousin, his son, Cary. This recipe handed down by my uncle and tweaked by my cousin will be my 'go to' way to prepare walleye.

Pan Fried Walleye

walleye fillets
panko bread crumbs
slightly beaten egg
salt, pepper

Dredge fish fillets in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Dip in beaten egg thinned with a bit of milk and dredge in panko bread crumbs. Pan fry in butter that has been heated to bubbling. Turn once and serve.