The boys paddled in silence. The only sounds were made by the oar rhythmically cutting through the water or the occasional gull as it flew overhead.
It was Jeremy’s idea that they go camping that weekend, just the two of them. It had been a long time since he and his younger brother Sean had spent any quality time together. Jeremy, 19, was away at university these last two years and Sean, 15, was always involved in high school sports.
Mr. Walker had made it an annual tradition to take the boys camping the first weekend of every new year at Lake Morose nearby. It was his way to kick off the new year together with his boys ever since they were small children, and he tried to instill in them the importance of being brothers and friends. They’d go hiking, swimming, and fishing, but the whole point of the weekend was to spend that bonding time together. They told each other scary stories at night or chatted about all their lofty plans for the new year. Sometimes, they even caught a fish. All three looked forward to this calming weekend every year after the hectic holiday season was over.
Last year was the first time they broke the tradition of the annual event. Mr. Walker had been very ill and spent a few weeks in hospital. He never recovered.
This year, the brothers’ camping trip took on a new meaning. They missed their father’s presence during the day when they went fishing and again at night when he would have been relating silly ghost stories to them. But, in a way, continuing the camping tradition allowed memories of their father to live on.
For now, they would paddle on in silence, their thoughts in sync, remembering their dad, and savoring their quality time together.