Wakeelah Cocroft-Aldridge, IL

Senior Writer

Formerly a High school Teacher, Wakeelah holds a BA in English and an MAED with Curriculum Technology. She is currently a Freelancer / Columnist. Her work includes education writing, magazine articles, creative writing, and, at times, taking on project management roles. Through her column, she interviews, transcribes, and authors profiles of gospel music artists. Her goals are (but are not limited to) devising children’s novels, mysteries, screenplays, songs, and continuing to pen poetry and shape stories. Wakeelah looks forward to working with storytellers to transform their stories into tangible memories.

As a Story Terrace writer, Wakeelah interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

The Comfortable Conversation

“Why aren’t you guys talking?” My sister glared at us, exasperated.

We were fishing partners – my grandfather and me. While we were fishing, we learned how to have a conversation without a peep. We didn’t even have to open our mouths. I guess it was something only we understood.

Our fishing days began with my sisters and me accompanying Daddy (we’d lovingly call him) on his fishing trips. Without trying, we’d make his life difficult – losing his car keys, leaving the car door open causing the battery to die, getting our lines tangled, or making him pull our hooks out of trees.

Daddy would respond with such patience: finding the car keys, securing a battery jump, and untangling or cutting the line to respool the reel. We eventually got some fishing in.

On into my adulthood, it whittled down to me and him. I just kept on doing a lot of the same things, except for losing his car keys and running the battery down – and I drove. Despite these things, that gracious, loving man would respond with the same patience.

After we got past my fishing follies, we would fish and settle into our routine of comfortable silence. We were talking to each other, having great conversation – we just weren’t moving our lips. A peace settled on us like plush blankets. We understood… this was our dialogue.

One of my sisters came with us on this occasion. She couldn’t sit still. “Why aren’t you guys moving? Don’t you walk? Why aren’t you guys talking?”

I shook my head.

Daddy chuckled. “Why don’t you sit down and fish?” His admonishment was softened by the warmth and humor in his voice as he combed through his tackle box.

She sighed. “I’m going for a walk.” Her footsteps could be heard traipsing through the high reeds.

Daddy kept chuckling and I joined him in quiet laughter as I watched her head toward the castle-like structure at the far end of the reservoir. I looked over at him exploring his tackle box. Our rods were cast, bobbers resting on the waves.

What my sister didn’t know was that Daddy and I were talking. She reached her destination as we settled back into our routine, back into the comfortable silence that surrounded us. With the sun overhead, we waited for the fish to bite – or not – and continued our conversation.

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