This Woman Chose to Commemorate Her Father After His Death in the Sweetest Way Possible

For years, this father's little fishing cabin played a huge role in his daughter's life. When he passed away and her parents' property was sold, she found a way to keep this legacy in the family.

Cjj16_McKinney4bDeanna McKinney/Country Magazine

As he was growing up, my dad, Kenneth Davenport, fished a lot to provide food for his parents, brother and five sisters. Fishing was in his blood, and he passed his enthusiasm on to his children. We all listened to his advice on how to bait, cast and be patient. Over the years, Dad handed down the same lessons to his grandchildren.

Cjj16_McKinney1Deanna McKinney/Country Magazine
Oh, how Dad, whose nickname was Pete, enjoyed eating his catch! Sometimes my mom, Vivian, came along on fishing trips with us, but her main duty was having the skillet hot and ready for the bass, catfish, goggle-eye, or crappie we brought home.

After 32 years in Bucyrus, a bump in the road with just a post office and a country store, Mom and Dad moved closer to town. They were still in the country, and Dad was even closer to fishing spots on the Big Piney and Little Piney rivers.

In 1995, Dad decided to build a little rustic cabin on his 3-acre property. His brother-in-law had given him some old lumber, and so to make use of it he decided an old-fashioned building would look pretty neat in his backyard near the shade trees and the small pond.

Dad and Mom enjoyed drinking coffee there every morning, and he cleaned a lot of fish on that porch. The Little House became a gathering place for us kids and grandkids when we came to visit. It’s chock-full of precious memories.

Cjj16_McKinney5Deanna McKinney/Country Magazine
During one fishing trip on the Gasconade River, Dad thought he had a big one, but it ended up being a turtle. So he got out his pocketknife to cut his line, but the turtle snapped his knife and took it before going under. I will never forget the look on Dad’s face as he said, “He just took my knife!”

In 2007, my brothers and I took Dad to a new fishing place. He was 77 years old and had so much fun that day. He caught an albino catfish. We suggested having it mounted, but he said, “Nah, I’d rather eat it.”

His last fishing trip was on Labor Day 2013. Dad and I went to a small lake not too far from his house. He had to take several breaks to catch his breath—his body didn’t have the strength and energy it used to have. Still, we had a fun day catching bass and perch.

Dad wasn’t with us very long after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2014. He died on April 10 of that year. He would have turned 84 on April 18.

Cjj16_McKinney3Deanna McKinney/Country Magazine
Over the years, I always told him, “Dad, I would like to have the Little House out by my pond someday.” He replied, “What would you want that old thing for? You’re silly.” But I just couldn’t let it go when Mom sold the property.

So the family got together, took apart the house and moved it 7 miles down the road. Fortunately, we were able to get the walls down without having to dismantle the house piece by piece.

My dad’s Little House now sits about 100 yards from my front door, overlooking a pond that’s stocked with bass, crappie, goggle-eye and perch. Even though Dad thought it was a silly idea!

Cjj16_McKinney2Deanna McKinney/Country Magazine
The place is decorated with all of Dad’s fishing gear and pictures of him with his catch throughout the years. A sign that says “For Pete’s Sake” hangs on the front, in honor of his nickname.

Dad is gone—how we do miss him—but we still have a bit of him down at the Little House. We cherish all those memories of times on the river casting a line together and joking with each other.

His presence is all around us as I gather with my husband, Cecil; our two grown children; our three granddaughers; and my mom and brothers to share a delicious fresh fish fry.

If the opportunity occurs, take someone fishing. Life is too unpredictable to assume there always will be time for one more trip.

Popular Videos

Originally Published in Country