Friday Classic: Her Old Man
He’s peering skeptically from behind a boulder at a shin-deep seam that looks to be another of his son-in-law’s eccentricities. The koi pond back home in Florida looks more promising. Fishing? Sure, he loves fishing, been doing it all his life. 360 degrees of Gulf Stream blue horizon, a mile of water under the boat, dorado big enough to feed the family for a week… what’s not to like? But what’s this meager ribbon of water have to do with fishing?
“Ahhh, it’s gorgeous here” he’d said while we sat on the tailgate rigging up. As though on cue, two sandhill cranes rasped and cawed their way overhead, then disappeared into the morning mist of an adjacent pasture.
“Great just to get out of the house really” he’d continued, gently trying to diffuse expectations and insulate me from future disappointment. It was a sweet preamble, well meant and gratefully received. Now that we’re in the water though, such sentiment is moot. He’s my father-in-law and we’re fishing on my home turf. The fishing matters.
“Flip your bug upstream and let it float on down. Nothing to it,” I coach.
“And you think there’s a fish in there?”
“Right by the bank.”
“Fish don’t need water in the Rockies?”
His rod arcs from 3 to 9 and 9 to 3 but does the trick. When the water erupts as I’d hoped, he startles upright, all six feet five inches of him frozen for a moment, disbelieving. Then he sets the hook.
With that, the skinny river is transformed, teeming suddenly with potential. As the morning flows past, the catch counts climb. Rainbows, browns and whitefish are drunk on hoppers and so is Curt. With each take he laughs, looks to the mountains, shakes his head then chuckles some more.
“That may have to be our grand finale” I say, releasing another strawberry-striped silver football “I gotta get some work done this afternoon. And the ladies are probably waiting for us. I don’t want to get us in trouble.”
He considers me quietly a moment before responding.
“Well Matt” he says “there will always be work that needs doing, and if we’re lucky, forgiveness that needs begging. So how about we just go see what’s around the next bend?”
Who am I to argue with advice like that?