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Thread: Memories

  1. #1


    Recently I stood on the back porch of the family cabin in Creede CO looking down at the Rio Grande. My mind flashed to the 50 plus years of memories from the beauty of the valley, family memories of the cabin itself and fly fishing the river...

    I felt myself transported back to carrying a lunch sack and two cold Coors to my dad as he stood in the rushing waters of the river, magically waving his fly rod with the line circling his head like a lion tamer at work. Watching intently for that magic moment when he would draw up suddenly, tight to a flashing weaving fish. Lighting up as he motioned me forward, the rod bent and bouncing as he handed it to my eight year old hands. The fish eventually laying in the water at my feet. But the best part of that memory is sitting next to my dad as he relaxed on the river bank eating his lunch, the smell of the beer in my nose, feeling Dad really and truly relax. He would smile in contentment and you could feel his tension melt as he hugged me close and sighed in satisfaction.

    I felt myself as a boy of ten standing in the river, the bite of the icy water thru jeans and converse tennis shoes (after all If i wouldn't stop growing so fast waders wouldn't be a waste of money) the pull of a trout throbbing thru my spinning rod. The unbounded pride as dad came back to check on me and being able to show him 8 trout on my stringer ( and yes I cringe now about the stringer but that was 1972 and catch and release was a concept that hadn't yet reached its prime) Dad was laughing when he saw my stringer, I assumed that was with pride, even though it was many years later when I learned that Dad happened to know the stocking truck had dumped that very morning right where He had told me to stand and fish.

    I felt myself as a boy of twelve with my very first fly rod reacting to a strike only to realize that he has two trout hooked at the same time, trying to land them both and deciding the only way was to back myself into the trees beside the river far enough to beach them and being shocked when that actually worked.

    I felt myself as a boy of thirteen throbbing with adrenaline as I tried not cry at the tragic feel of Tippet suddenly snapping against the weight of one of my first truly obscenely large trout and not quite winning that emotional struggle. Which quickly morphed to the memory of a 56 year old man fighting down the urge to cry as a truly obscenely large trout had pulled hard enough to separate the braided loop connector from the leader, followed by a massive rush of adrenaline as I realized that the now unattached loop connector was in reach on the surface of the water. Seeing my hand reach out as if in slow motion to grab hold of it... .... feeling the power of the fish suddenly flash up the leader to my hand and trying to hold the line tight enough to catch the fish but not so tight that the leader would break. As a second violent rush of energy from the fish terminated in a loud pop leaving me trying doubly hard not to cry again. Winning that battle by just a hair, but still emotionally raw enough that I had to respond with a terse "TOO SOON" when my wife tried to joke about who could lose the same fish twice within just a few seconds. What can I say timing isn't always her strongest suit.

    I felt myself as a proud father handing my sons a fly rod taught to a powerful trout fighting against the throb of the river cushioned by a bamboo rod. Of an even prouder dad as I watched from a distance as my sons learned to make picture perfect casts to sipping risers in barley moving waters. Watching for the soft slow smile of happiness to cross their face as they released these shinning fish back into the mirrored pool they had come out of.

    I felt the warm glow of a backpack campfire shared between a father and son, the bond strong in that moment but realizing how thin that bond can become as Sons reach late adolescents and are stirred by the urge to rebel from family and authority. Thanking God for the moment of time shared and the memory of short lived truces for fishing and campfires.

    I remembered a stolen moment watching my youngest son walk across the meadow toward the river with my aging and sick father. Feeling from a distance the anticipation and camaraderie of fishing partners ready for a day of fishing and remembering my own such trips with him but being in awe of the fact that it was a grandfather sharing a bond with a grandson. And not being able to hold the tears back on those emotions regardless of how much I tried.

    That lead me to remember one of my last phone calls from my dad as he let me know the good news was he had made it down to the river to fish today ... ... the bad news was that the chemo had left him to weak to fish after he had gotten there. The catch in his voice as he spoke made the tears well in my eyes. I remained upbeat as I told him he would get another chance ... ... yet the hot tears on my checks as I hung up ... left no doubt that neither one of us actually believed it.

    So here I stood staring at the mighty Rio Grande warm and flushed with a life time of memories stirring in my soul. I strung my rod with so so many past conversations echoing in my mind and in my heart, and started on the long walk to the river, visualizing my son "pooh bears" walk with my dad ... ... but today time had healed enough wounds that I smiled at the memories and felt the gentle touch of Dad on my shoulder even 14 years after his passing. By the time I reached the water I had heard a long conversation from him about what he thought about the recent changes in my life and what he wanted me to work on in the upcoming months, after all dads never really change , they are all about what you can and should become... ... with the ever so occasional compliment of who you are. Apologies to my two sons as I am afraid I fit that fatherly role to a "t" ... .... but I am truly proud of you, let's just hope I remember to tell you that face to face.

    When my second cast drew a slashing strike on my big bobbing dry fly, I heard my Dad say with excitement ... ... Son today is going to be a catching day ... ... not a fishing day ... ... and so it became. I settled into a lovely trance of flowing water, rising fish and memories of a fly fishing life ... ... and as the best moment of the day I felt a heart level, sun drenched, massive hug from my father.

    And for that hug I thank god ... ... with all my heart and soul... ... and my daddy for sharing his love.

    For those who made it to the bottom ... ... well thank you but this excessive in excess was for my own memories... ... but thank you for sharing.

    For those of you who have noticed I have been quiet for a while, well I didn't go mute just silent. Got married again, retired early, bought an Elk hunting and fishing outfitter business in the Creede area and live there six months of the year and bought a cabin near the Toccoa in the mineral Bluff area of GA for the other 6 months. Either I am crazy or lucky as hell, I will let you know when I figure it out.

  2. #2 plankowner
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    boreal forest of Alaska
    Good times are in front of you ... still (8->}

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