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hairwing530 06-02-2013 06:56 AM

A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
For those of you who read the posting "Everything I Hope To Never Be," there is an update of sorts that some may find noteworthy...

As yesterday afternoon was starting into its final hours before evening, I heard the sound of a vehicle coming up the long drive back into our place. I didn't recognize it at first, not until its driver got out and cautiously approached the front door. It was the same man whose "river tirade" got my blood boiling, and nearly earned him the wrath of one of my largest fishing cronies, "Trunk." And, in the car were the "targets" of the aforementioned "tirade"-- his two sons.

To my own amazement and in a rare show of restraint on my part, I left my immediate urge to tear him a new one squarely in "park" and decided to hear what he had to say. The next couple of hours were enlightening, to say the least.

First came his introduction and apologies-- to me, to "Trunk," and most importantly, to my daughter, Jesse. The pressures of raising a young family in an economy best described as "iffy" and those of his job finally came to a head on the day in question, and he'd taken it out on anybody within range. It was the wrong place, the wrong time, and moreso, the fallout came down on the two people who deserved far better-- his sons. And, for his admission of guilt, I had to give the guy credit for having the guts to say so.

Apologies accepted, I thought our collective time was done. His request caught me a little off-guard, but spoke volumes about his sincere wish to make all things right. He asked if Jesse and I could spend a little time giving him and his sons a few casting pointers. His was a background devoid of "teachers," and he wanted only the best for his boys on the stream.

It's amazing how quickly time passes when you're immersed in something enjoyable and not watching a clock. By the end of our "session," it was clear that their next fishing trip together would be better remembered than the last, as they all quickly locked in on the basics of the cast and were actually doing quite well by the time that the proverbial bell was sounded for the upcoming dinner hour.

As the threesome broke down and cased their rods, I retreated to the tying room and returned with three of my "pocket boxes" filled with flies that would be useful in the days ahead. Our information exchanged, I received an e-mail of "thanks" this morning, with a gracious offer to "pay" for the time/lessons freely given yesterday. Kind and generous, to say the least, but my reply was that it was unnecessary. Instead, he could donate whatever he felt best to the "FITW" project.

Sometimes, I guess you really do have to get into the true text of a book rather than judging solely by its cover...

fredaevans 06-02-2013 01:27 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
All I could possibly add is:



bigjim5589 06-02-2013 01:51 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
Some do actually "get it" after all!

Glad to hear it! :)

duker 06-02-2013 05:45 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
That's about as good an ending to that story as I could imagine. Good on ya for accepting the apology graciously and then giving so freely of your time and flies. Thanks to you that family learned some valuable lessons and enjoyed an excellent introduction to fly fishing.


pa dave 06-02-2013 08:07 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
As a footnote, your original post about this situation really hit home with me in combination with a number of other situations that week, making me realize that I was allowing myself to become someone I don't want to be, mostly because of stresses at work and home. It was a timely wakeup and I thank you for it.

As to your followup, what a great example for his boys of how a real man behaves when he has been wrong, and how much difference it can make. Great post.

mcnerney 06-02-2013 09:29 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
Jerry: You are indeed my hero! Good on you and your family!
I missed the original post as I was busy getting ready to head out to the North Platte and Bighorn, will go back and read it. Thanks for sharing!

newby 06-02-2013 09:43 PM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
WOW! Thanks for the update. I always enjoy your stories and thoughts.

The first time I read this I post I almost didn't believe it, having been familiar with the initial thread. Just goes to show that on any given day the initial impression someone gives you may be them in their worst moment, and not who they truly are.

hairwing530 06-03-2013 05:42 AM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
When one of my largest and longest-suffering "fishing cronies"-- "Stack," brother of the aforementioned "Trunk" --finished tossing log chunks from his pick-up bed last night-- never too early for prepping firewood for the woodstove --he had some thoughts about the events of the recent past, having spoken about it with his brother.

First, he observed, he was glad that "Trunk" hadn't taken the guy to the proverbial "wood-shed," especially in front of his kids. His follow-up questions about the guy and any prospects of a friendship gave me fertile ground, if you will, on which to sow the seed of a passing thought and see it grow into an opinion, one that blossomed fully as the night wore on. And, in those moments came my own "discovery" of sorts that recalls my past and that which might be missing in today's world.

Once, we were a nation of "porch-sitters" and "fire-siders." After the day's chores were finished, I would sit quietly with my elders and neighbors as they gathered on the farm house's massive front porch in the late Spring, Summer and Fall to discuss life's challenges, air their opinions and generally unload the occasional burdens and challenges that weighed them down. It was a generational sort of "pressure-relief valve," in that complete honesty was there for both the giving and the taking, and it was accepted without fear of rash or harsh judgment in return.

The same applied to the fireside chats of late Fall and Winter. As with its warmer-weather kin-- the porch --deals were struck, grievances were laid to rest and things were made right again when done in the relative "safety" of a room backlit by the flickering glow of a good fire. Plainly put, people talked back then, and in doing so, friendships developed that often deepened with every passing year.

Now, I will confess that the world of my younger years was far from perfect. No matter the generation, there always have been and always will be problems that go beyond the simplicity of a chat on the porch or an open discussion as a stack of dry oak burned in a stone fireplace. Yet, my grandfather always held to one assertion above all others during his lifetime, and that was the fact "You can tell a lot about a man by looking him straight in the eyes..."

That point of view was never more evident than during my recent "reconsideration" process. When the man apologized, I watched his face and found a certain measure of sincere remorse within him. Do I have high hopes for his future astream, and that of his sons? I do, to whatever extent is possible, given our short time together. Do I believe that the "text" within this man will now be rewritten by his own hand? I truly hope so.

As to the prospects of a future friendship? Who's to say? A man's life is akin in many ways to the composition of a book, in that there are always chapters left to be written...

hairwing530 06-07-2013 07:00 AM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
Come the hours after that special time known as "twilight" later tonight, another chapter will be penned in the life and times of a man and his two sons. On this occasion, however, the author will differ somewhat, as it will be our daughter, Jesse, who will guide the pen after orchestrating the next few steps taken by a trio for whom I once feared the worst.

In my humble opinion, tonight's outing marks another move in the right direction for a man whose personal compass had come dangerously close to being permanently compromised. You see, he's "hired" Jesse to guide his sons and him for a few hours on the river, a complete surprise in that he's willing to take instruction from someone who's clearly his junior in age. Astream, she doesn't take a "back seat" to most anglers, as she wields a deft hand with a 4 or 5-wt. fly rod.

The man also is finally "getting it," in that he's now more open to the acceptance of an assist from his "fellow" anglers, no matter their age, gender or their skill level. And, to me, that's a great lesson for his young sons to learn.

I have high hopes for this evening's trip astream, especially given our daughter's patient ways. And later, when she makes her own "river notes" in her journal, I pray that the fates are kind and that her entry mention something about "redemption" within its text.

I'll let you know...

Jerry, aka hairwing530

hairwing530 06-08-2013 06:44 AM

Re: A Book And Its Cover... Reconsidered...
When it comes to our children and their "growing up," most fly-fishing fathers like me tend to worry about our kids, no matter their age, their experience or how well we've raised them, and especially when their activities include hours spent astream without the "wisdom" of Dear Old Dad. It's only natural, particularly when it comes to daughters.

Late yesterday afternoon, that nagging voice in the back of my head caused me to drive 25 minutes north and find a comfortable perch on a hilltop next to the stretch of river on which I knew that I'd eventually find our daughter, Jesse, and her "guided group" of a father and his two sons. After a half hour of watching her help them work the water better and seeing the whole thing unfold, I knew that any fears on my part were unfounded, at best.

How did I know that Jesse would choose this particular section of river to fish? Three reasons, really. First, it's easy to wade and blessed with ample trout cover. Secondly, it's an area that always carries an absolute horde of brook trout best described as "unschooled," in that the small brookies will take any fly, no matter how it's presented.

Last, but certainly not least, it's the same place in which Jesse and "Dear Old Dad" each took their first trout, only some 30+ years between the occasions. The stretch of river in question long has been an outstanding place to introduce someone to fly-fishing, as it's a prime example of "success breeding success," and a family favorite.

With my fatherly "nagging voice" satisfied and hoping to avoid detection, I slipped away from the riverside seat in order to avoid detection and made the long walk back to the "Fish Truck." On the drive home, I found myself growing prouder by the mile, replaying the short session I'd witnessed in my head and knowing that our daughter was, indeed, coming into her own as a fly-wrangler.

Jesse arrived home just after dark, tired in the best of ways and obviously pleased with her day of hope and reckoning. When asked about the afternoon's trip, she simply responded with a smile and one small observation-- "I think they're going to be OK..." Waders hung to dry next to her "whatevers" shoulder bag, she bypassed the tying desk and her journal for the comforts of a soft bed, just before throwing out one final question for "Dear Old Dad..."

"So, how was the drive home??"

Busted or not, I wouldn't trade the sights and sounds of watching our daughter help to write a whole new chapter to a book that I'd once thought to be a "lost cause..."

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