I was listening to my favorite radio show this morning, Seize the Day with Gus Lloyd, and he mentioned that he had gone fishing in Wyoming over the weekend. For the rest of the ride home, I thought about my favorite fishing memory and how much it meant to me, still means to me. I grew up spending my summers on the water with my grandfather. I have many fond memories of jumping off the dock with my cousins, crabbing with Granddad (the subject of my first book), and going fishing. Often, my father would join us if it wasn’t a weekday or if he and mom had taken off from work and were down at Grandma’s with us for a few days. Fishing was a past time that we all enjoyed, and I still enjoy it today.
I don’t recall a whole lot about fishing with my grandfather. We mostly crabbed, and those memories flood my mind whenever I think about my time with him. However, I do remember how much fun we had with our rods and reels and that showing off our catch was always a big photo op! We would lay out the fish side by side in the back yard and proudly stand next to our bounty and pose for the camera. My mother’s photo albums contain many pictures of my dad and me posing with our row of shimmering, silver fish glistening in the sunlight.
Several years ago, my parents went out west with us to the home in Colorado that Ken and I share with several friends and family members. Though my father wasn’t overly fond of the serpentine climbs that took us up into the Rockies, he thought that the area was one of the most beautiful places he had ever been to. And who could argue with that? I’ve been all around the world and have seldom seen anything more beautiful than the Alpine Loop above Lake City and Silverton, Colorado.
This particular trip took place over Father’s Day weekend, and I had planned a present for my dad that I hoped he would not only enjoy but cherish for many years to come. Taking the whole family into Crested Butte, I announced that Ken, Mom, and the girls would spend the afternoon browsing in the shops while Dad and I took private fly fishing lessons. Dad was so surprised! He and I went into the guide’s shop and fitted ourselves with all of the proper gear for fly fishing and marveled at all of the flashy colors on the whimsical lures. Never before had we fished with anything quite like those fancy flyers that were before our eyes. We spent the next few hours with our guide learning all of the proper techniques for casting and hooking the fish that we were sure would make a hearty feast at least one night of our vacation.
Every morning and every evening for the next week, Dad and I trekked down to the Lake Fork River and stood in silence casting our lines. What a peaceful and beautiful experience it was. Every now and then one of us spoke, but for the most part, we enjoyed the tranquility as we cast our lines and hoped for a bite. Alas, we never did have the trout dinner of which we all dreamed. I don’t know if it was our technique, our timing, or our choice of location, but we were never able to hook up with a fish, excuse the pun. We did, however, witness a stunning bobcat as it came out of the woods and slinked down to the river for a cool drink. After a few minutes, she looked up at us with her lazy gaze and then bent back down for another sip before padding back into the trees. Dad and I looked at each other and smiled. No, there were no fish, but there was a story, and week of memories that neither of us will ever forget.
Never again have I passed by the Lake Fork on our way to our cabin that I haven’t smiled at the fly fishers as they cast their long lines into the rushing water. I can still close my eyes and see the sun glinting off of the wet rocks as it filtered through the pines and aspens, the sparkling, gem-like light reflecting off of the stream, and the smile on my dad’s face as his line swished back and forth in search of a fish. There are few times in life when we have the opportunity to just be with someone we love, not talking or watching a movie or being part of the crowd, but just being together enjoying the shared moment and each other’s company. I’m not sure I’ve ever had any other similar experience with anyone, and I think it’s the closest thing to Heaven that I have ever felt.
Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s next mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.