When I was born it was expected that I would be a son, and that my name would be Robert. However I entered this world very early, very small, and very female. They thought of naming me Roberta, but somehow that did not fit the 4 pound little spunky female that came to lay in my fathers arms. So they named this little baby Linda. And she was followed by two female siblings, one and two years apart. Those were the days when babies were never really a surprise, unless people slept in twin beds like on "I Love Lucy" and we know that did not happen.
So my father had three daughters, in various states as he was a geologist and followed the oil. And I remember our first fishing outing, in the hills of Utah, near Sandy, with a sedan and fishing poles, and a dachshund with a short tail, my best friend. My father took out hooks from shrubs, trees, ears, fingers, jackets, everywhere but in a fishes mouth. We were small. I have no idea what he did with us looking back. I give him an A for effort. But he was really giving us lessons. Fishing lessons.
We came to Colorado when I was nine. I recall a drive to Trail Ridge, in a rain storm, with my grandmother with us. That must have just made my fathers day, three small girls and two women, and rain, steep sides of mountains, and he was a Nebraska kid and she was a California girl. And of course to my grandmother no man would ever be quite good enough, so most likely we three little girls were his only joy that day. We came out of thick clouds on wet roads and there it was, sunshine and a sea of fluffy pillowing clouds. I will never forget that day, the sight, this was Colorado.
For as long as I can remember my father gave us fishing lessons. Many times camping in tents, driving in a car that would overheat climbing bumping dusty roads, buying worms, sodas, and giving us all of his time. Trying to smile when my mother would have a string of trout and he would come back with one little slim fish and ask her how did she get all those fish? She would reply that she threw them on the bank in the grass. He would just laugh. She was not a fisherman, so we know how he felt, don't we?
One day in the late 80's my father gave me his Sage rod, said take it into the park and try it out. I had never held a fly rod. We were having a big family gathering in Grand Lake for July 4th. First time on the headwaters of the Colorado River I caught my first fly rod brookie. I was captivated. Now I could not even think of keeping such a fish, and it was a release area, and I was totally hooked. He did not ask for the rod back.
And the Colorado and I became best friends, for two decades.
He passed away little over two years ago. Tomorrow is his birthday. I thank him for the lessons, the time, the fly rod, the patience, the laughs, the support, all of it. He never felt that he was sorry that he had no Robert. If he did, he never said so. He always said, "try one more time, a little over there"...
And I hear that every time I fish, one more time a little over there...
Here is to Robert, the real Robert, from his daughter, miss you and wish you could see me now. Thank you for the lessons and teaching me the love of fishing. My dad and I at Taylor and his, now my, Sage rod. Fond memories. Happy birthday Dad.