Al Campbell, Field Editor

March 15th, 2004

Things Not Planned For
Al Campbell

I have a new family member living at my house. I didn't really plan for her, but it happened anyway. I guess that's the way things happen sometimes. No, it isn't a human; we just have a new dog living with us. A neighbor gave her to us because that neighbor needed to find a home for the pup, and my dog and our new addition have been long time buddies.

What does this have to do with flyfishing? Not much. However, sometimes things happen that we don't plan for, and that has a lot to do with everything, including flyfishing. Some unplanned packages are blessings and others are not. In this case, I think it is a blessing, considering the options and the fact that Buford (my basset hound) has always considered Sammy (the new pup) to be a very best friend. Since Sammy is used to our home (we have babysat her many times), it was the logical thing to do.

There are other things in my life that I didn't plan for. When I first started fly fishing, I surely didn't plan for it to become as big a part of my life as it has. I just thought it was a cool way to catch fish; and the challenge of it all was a bonus. In time, I realized that it was more than just a neat fishing method or challenge. It was the way I preferred to fish.

When I tied my first fly, it was because watching the women in Dan Bailey's fly shop had left me filled with wonder. How could anyone not be amazed by the way they could add fur and feathers to a hook and create something that looked so cool? I had spent many hours watching those women tie their wonderful creations, so I just had to try it for myself. However, I had no idea that fly tying would become such a rich part of my life. It was something I hadn't planned for.

When I met my wife, I wasn't planning to get married again. My first marriage had left me with some deep scars that didn't look like they would ever heal, and I wasn't about to get into something like that again. Then I met Patty, and I discovered a blessing I hadn't planned for. We didn't have a lot of hobbies or activities in common, but we seemed to mesh just right as far as personality and temperament go. Fifteen years later we still mesh fine. Like I said, it was an unplanned blessing.

I spent much of the day sawing and splitting firewood. I plan for firewood during the year, and usually accomplish this task in the heat of the summer; not on a cold and windy day like today was. However, my brother-in-law had some dead trees on his rural land that he needed to remove, so I got a couple of loads of firewood I hadn't planned for. I'm not complaining; free wood is always a blessing and I never turn down a blessing, especially if it's something I don't have to work too hard for.

Fly fishing has a few unexpected surprises for all of us. Maybe it's a free fly passed to us on the stream by another angler; especially if that free fly is the only thing the fish want to eat that day. It might be the pleasant addition of a new friend to the circle of friends I already have. That is always a pleasant surprise I hadn't planned for, but always welcome.

When I met Jim and Deanna on that Denver airport shuttle so many years ago, I wasn't planning to be involved with anything on the Internet. In fact, I wasn't acquainted with the Internet all that much back then. I was already acquainted with writing and photography, but this electronic media magazine didn't make a lot of sense to me. In some ways, it still doesn't, but it has become a pleasant part of my life. I didn't plan for that to happen.

If I had to sum it all up, I'd have to say that many of the unplanned things that happen to us are really blessings. That's the way I feel about FAOL, my wife and the new puppy living under my roof. I really didn't plan on any of them, but I'm glad they happened. I'm also glad I got to meet all of you; in this form and some of you in person. It wasn't a planned meeting, but it sure has been a blessing. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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