Daddy Sang Bass ... Mama Sang Tuna
By Kenny Blade
The other day I was watching my daughter watch T.V. She was flipping through the channels and happened upon a show about dolphin training.
If you’re anything like me, other than watching Flipper as a child and checking tuna cans at the supermarket to make certain the manufacturer was being humane to those dolphins not already engaged in splashing tourists at the various water-themed parks across the country, you pay little attention to them. My philosophy is simple: If Capt’n D’s doesn’t offer it in a combo meal, and it’s too big to mount on the living room wall, it isn’t a very important fish.
My Uncle Brock has a bass that flops like it’s washed up on the bank, and sings Christmas songs—all you have to do is clap your hands in its face. He got it at the flea market already mounted. Even Flipper couldn’t sing "O Holy Night" while wearing a tiny Santa hat—and he had his own show. That, my friend, is a fish of note.
For my daughter, seeing a dolphin is almost a religious experience. Has been since she was a tot. As far back as I can remember, she has had two goals in life:
1. Play college basketball; and
2. Train dolphins.
As a dad and sports fanatic, I can see the whole basketball thing. She really is good at the sport. She has always had the face of an angel and the defensive prowess of Oscar Robertson. The same little cherub that crawls up in my lap and cries when kitty won’t play, would sucker punch a Rottweiler and dare that same snarling hell-hound to retaliate. She loves her hoops— that’s for certain—but dolphins put a twinkle in her eye.
The beauty of a dolphin gliding effortlessly through the open waters, always creates an uncontrollable smile on her face. Her love for dolphins has always had one nemesis however: a mortal fear of the ocean.
When your children are small, you tend to be very careful about squashing dreams by unnecessarily throwing reality into the mix. If Gary Coleman had approached his mom and dad about playing the lead role in The Kareem Abdul-Jabar story, they would have coughed up the cash for basketball lessons. I’m certain of that. It’s a parent’s job to instill the belief in their children that the distance between hawking luke-warm brownie batter to siblings from an Easy Bake Oven, to creating award winning pastries as Master Chef at the Ritz-Carlton, is minuscule.
I know that someday her fear of the ocean will meet headlong with her desire to train dolphins. When that time arrives, I have no doubt that she will do as she has always done when faced with a great challenge. She’ll say a little prayer and charge in with the faith of a child who knows her family has her back, and her Savior holds her future.
For now though, I think I’ll sit here silently and watch her watching that dolphin. The glow on her face is only a glimpse of the feature film running in the theater of her mind and heart. She is dreaming of the future. Her future. Of being as free as that dolphin….
Come to think of it, maybe she already has the answer. She sees the ocean. She sees the dolphin. She knows she can’t have one without the other. I can tell by her smile that she’s chosen not to look away from the ocean. She just chooses to focus on the Dolphin.
Kenny Blade is a married father of four who heads the drama ministry at his home church. Kenny's passion for writing is fueled by his desire to bring a smile to the face of those who read his work. If you would like to writer to Kenny, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.