- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

HOUMA, La. (AP) - For some, there’s no greater bond than that between a father and his son.

Timothy Kahler, a local veteran, had spent the last 23 years searching for his son, Jason, who he had last seen when Jason was nine years old. After falling out with Jason’s mother, Timothy lost contact after the son was told his father had died. Once he learned that his father was alive, Jason was told his father wanted nothing to do with him - unaware of Timothy’s decades long search.

The search ended earlier this month when he found where Jason worked in Kentucky and got in touch with him.

They met for the first time, along with Jason’s son and Timothy’s grandson Aaron, on Thursday in Houma.

“Soon as we got out of the car, things just fell right back into place like it should be. You don’t miss a beat on it. It’s a great feeling to be able to put your arms around your dad and be able to say ‘Hey, this is why I’m here,’” Jason said.

For Timothy, it brought back the memory of the boy he’d seen all those years ago.

“When I saw him for the first time, all I saw was that little 9-year-old boy I had in my arms when I was a young man. To lose somebody for that many years and to search all your life and to wonder what happened to the little boy you went fishing with when you were a young father and as an older father finding out that he’s ok. There’s no way you could even describe the feeling that it gave me,” he said. “All I know is a part of my life had been brought back to me.”

Since reuniting, their time together has been spent by Timothy showing his son and grandson all that Louisiana has to offer, but the chance to fish in weather far different from Kentucky’s was a plus.

“It’s 18 degrees in Kentucky, snow. No one wants to see that. Why not come down here where it’s 75 and fish?” Jason said.

Their first day together was spent at the Regional Military Museum where Jason was presented with the cap his father wore during his time in the military, that he remembered seeing him leave wearing when he was younger.

The two also exchanged other memories from their shared pasts. The quilt that Jason remembered from days spent on the sofa with his grandmother and the soda, Ale-8-One, made in Winchester, Ky., that Timothy remembered drinking.

But they also made new memories, including Jason’s first time eating raw oysters.

“It looked a little slimy, but it was pretty good. It impressed me. I thought it’d be something like an egg,” he said. “It was like a wad of snot, but with a bunch of other men around.”

Timothy laughed, “There was every breed of man around you could think of, saying ‘Go on, eat it.’”

Now, that they’ve found each other again, both agreed that they wouldn’t lose contact again and were looking for somewhere between Louisiana and Kentucky that they could both move to so they could see each other on a daily basis.

“Since the moment I put my arms around him, my life has totally changed. . It proves love is stronger than anything in this world. Twenty-three years is a long time and he won’t do another minute without me,” Timothy said.

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