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Dads and Do-Overs

Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he’s a good storyteller for a long time… so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts. Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen… whichever you prefer… and you are receiving a copy because you’re a current customer of Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!



I started out catching fish with a cane pole. Until the day my dad bought me my first true rod and reel.

It was a Zebco 202. She was a beauty.

The joy on my face was matched only by the smile on his. I don’t know who was more excited.

I have cherished memories of when dad would take me out in our little canoe to fish for bass and walleye.


He worked most of the time, so we didn’t get to fish together often. But when we did, it was always a memorable day. I can still see his jitterbug hitting the water… and waiting as dad patiently worked it until he hooked a five-pound bass. My job was to shine the flashlight on it all the way to the boat.

I remember one time when dad and I went to Josie Lake. He baited my line with a little rubber worm complete with preset hooks and a spinner. We caught a load of bass that night. He was so happy.

Unfortunately, those fishing trips were the only times I ever saw my dad happy. While he did have a dry sense of humor, dad rarely smiled. He was not a joyful person. Life had been rough on him.

He wanted a do-over.


Back in 1983, before I left home to serve in a youth ministry in Kansas, I was given a ‘63 Volkswagen station wagon.

Since it was a long drive from Wisconsin to western Kansas, dad insisted on buying new tires. While we were sitting in the tire shop’s waiting room drinking coffee that tasted like it came off the bottom of a cattle rancher’s boot, Harry Chapin’s song, Cat’s in the Cradle, came on the radio.

Dad told me he hated that song. When I asked why, he said it reminded him of all the things he wished he could’ve done differently with us kids. I told him we weren’t dead, yet.

It was right then I vowed that somehow, some way, I was gonna do something special with my dad every year.


And we did. Every year. And those trips typically involved a rod and reel.

But my fondest memories with my dad aren’t from our fishing trips. The memories I hold most dear are from our last few months together, spending time with him every single day.

He’d fall down. I’d go pick him up. I’d patch him up, too, because dad never wanted to go to the doctor. He took a lot of tumbles, but he somehow never got a concussion… even when his head went through both panes of oven glass and dented the steel door.

It didn’t matter how much pain he was in… dad never complained. Ever.

I told him if he had his life to do over again, he should come back as a stunt man. Because I’ve never seen anybody take a fall and not get hurt like he did.

I’m so glad I made that vow to spend time with my dad.


Dad made his own kind of vow too… because shortly before that afternoon at the tire shop, dad gave his life over to the Lord. And what a transformation! My gruff dad was suddenly happy and joyous.

Dad always wanted a do-over. And, in a way, he got it. He chose to start over again with the Lord. Dad not only got a second chance at being a father, but he was also blessed with a second chance by the Father.

I believe that made all the difference.


Dad had a quiet wisdom. He never gave his opinion unless he was asked. He’d just sit back and let everyone else talk it through… even when he knew the answer all along.

He was loved by many.

He helped a lot of people and did a lot of good for various ministries.

He was an amazing grandfather who was adored by his grandkids.

And I miss him terribly.

Dad passed away the morning of July 18th. He was 89 years


I’m so glad he got a second chance.

Take care. Take good care.

P.S. – Here’s a picture of the fish we caught at Josie Lake.


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