Do you remember?
Seems like ages and ages ago I first met you at one of the CFFA's monthly meeting. You were kind and easy to talk to. At the first CFFA expo that I went to you walked up to me and handed me a copy of, "The Complete Book of Fly Tying" by Eric Leiser. "Here you go, if you are interested in tying flies then this is the book you need to read. I used it when I started and think you will enjoy it too." You pressed the book into my hands as you said that and walked off. I was so surprised I didn't know what to say, you see, not too many guys from the club even thought I was serious about fly fishing never mind tying flies.
That five years ago we were at one of the club's monthly meetings and we talked about fly fishing in Montana. I mentioned how much I wanted to go and you said something about taking a trip out there and maybe, just maybe, we could manage to meet and take a week in Dillon and stay at the Back Country Angler. We were so excited about fishing out "west" that we missed the presentation that night!
You said you knew of a place in Dillon that you were interested in staying at. I told you that I was planning on driving to Montana to visit my son for the month of July. There was only one thing you wanted to be sure about and that was how well we would get along on a week long trip. I remember you saying, "Mary, it isn't going to be any fun if you can't get along with the person you are with." You were right; it was a good point. So we made plans to meet at Church Pool on the Farmington one evening to see how things would work out. I arrived early and was all ready to go by the time you drove up. There was an ant hatch that night and we fished and fished and fished some more. We had a blast joking and telling stories and trying to land fish in the dark. We hit it off in grand style.
How at the end of that night we had already decided we were pretty compatible as Fishin' Buddies and we had no worries about hanging out together for a week. With that you made the arrangements for us to stay at Backcountry Anglers in Dillon for 6 days. I could't wait for the summer to come along and before I knew it, it was time to pick you up at the Bozeman airport and head out.
Saturday and Sunday we fished "The Ruby" and how spooked those fish were? We couldn't get near 'em. Correction - I couldn't get near them. You were able to pull up a couple of decent fish and you made it look so easy. On Monday we fished Clark Canyon Reservoir and there were bows aplenty! We had plenty of laughs on the boat while pulling up one fish after another. It was a hot day but the fishing was even hotter so we decided to go back on Tuesday for half a day. That afternoon our guide took us down the Beaverhead and what a beautiful trip that was. We fished that until our guide cried uncle then headed back to Dillon and The Last Cast for dinner. I remember the wicked hot chicken wings and the multiple beers and then we headed back out to Highbridge and fished some more! Our guide thought we were nuts. But we kept landing fish, didn't we? We kept laughing and enjoying the scenery just as much as we enjoyed the fishing.
When we did the float down the Big Hole with our guide, Mike? I remember being in the front of the boat and hearing you say, "Hey, Mike. Stop looking at Mary's ass!" Oh my God, I just started to laugh because you made that poor guy sputter so bad he couldn't or didn't know what to say! Funny as hell though because he certainly needed to relax a bit - that guy was wound tighter than a snare drum. That night we had dinner at The Last Cast and then decided to head back out and fish Poindexter Slough. It was there that you showed me how to do the Steeple Cast. We never landed any fish there though, they were too wise for us. The only thing that chased us off were those dang mosquitos that came out with a vengence. But the day was not done yet, we headed back to Back Country and had cheese and wine on the porch while solving all the world's problems.
Do you remember?
At lunch during one of the float trips that Mike looked at us with one of those "looks" before he said to you, "Ok, now you are married" and then he looked at me and said, "And you are married". And before he could go any further I blurted out, "Yeah, but not to each other!" He couldn't figure it out and he asked how we managed it. You told him, "It's simple. We're fishin' buddies. Right Mary?"
You are right, Charlie. We are fishin' buddies and I will never forget all the fun we had on that trip and your words of wisdom about fishing. How you taught me it wasn't the numbers or the size of the fish but just going along for the trip makes all the difference. I am never going to forget your kindness, your wicked sense of humor - all that made you so very special to me.
I will never forget my fishin' buddy. I hope you are pain free now and fishing where the sun is always shining and the fish are always biting, I will miss you.
Love to you and your family -
Your Fishin' Buddy