from Deanna Travis
Publisher & Owner
IT'S NOT EASY
And it doesn't get any easier either.
A year ago after my husband Trav had produced an inventory of all the fishing books we brought from my home in Washington, and we sent the list to Montana State University Library in hopes they would be able to use some to fill in their very nice fishing library. Indeed they send us a list of which ones they would like, Trav sorted and boxed them us and we delivered them to the library.
There were some which were 'doubles,' (a copy already was in the library here at the house) and we did offer nephew Tom his choice of any for his library before we sent the listing over to Bozeman.
I went through the list as well and kept some books out which I had used for researching articles for FAOL - in fact most of the Old Flies articles I wrote came from those books as well as other material for my columns.
Some books were outdated, not the same as old which might mean valuable, although there are some of those as well. From time to time I purchased 'old' books which my late husband JC would mention he would like and give them to him for Birthday or Christmas gifts. And like many other fly anglers we often would pick up a book written by someone we knew - I suspect if fly anglers stopped buying books the publishing business would be in bad shape. Many came from various publishers in hopes we would write a good review on it for FAOL, and that we did in most cases. (I did write a bad review on a bad book one time, but that's another story.)
Fly fishers really are a nosey bunch and don't want to miss anything. Someone told me that after the Bible and cookbooks, the next largest genre of books refer to fly fishing. I know for a fact that my late husband would buy a book if there was so much as one new idea in it. I suspect he wasn't alone.
We've lived here in Montana two summers now and it really was time to go through the rest of the books. These weren't fishing books. They are my cookbooks. I had something like twelve feet of bookshelf with just cookbooks. None of them were signed by their authors although one or two were gifts from special friends who wrote a note in them.
The hard part is I really don't cook here. Trav cooked the meals for himself and his late wife Bonnie for many years. It was just part of what he did and he was very comfortable doing so, and frankly he was a bit lost not doing it. So he does most of the cooking. I do make a few things, bake a little and when we are in Arizona in the winter I will cook dinner if Trav is working in the park. (He has been a volunteer at Saguaro National Park for several years.)
So that leaves me with boxes and boxes of cookbooks and the wonderful memories which go with them. Even worse, we leave for Arizona in about three weeks and I won't take any with me. I haven't needed them for the past year at least (and most of my favorite recipes are on FAOL).
Truth be told I'm not at all sure any of us ever need to have even one cookbook at this time. Oh sure, we might have some very local recipes which aren't commonly available, but let's face it, you can probably "Google" up nearly anything under the sun! Even 'tho I have all of Julia's books, and James Beard and nearly every good oriental book every printed, I can probably get whatever recipe in less than a half hour from the Internet.
Like I said, the recipes are 'gettable' it's the rest of it with which I have trouble parting. I remember cooking specific meals, some for friends or family when my children were still kids. Then there were holidays and one event or another. Some of the friends are gone as well, passed on with little more than memories remaining of them too.
Interestingly some of the cookbooks have lasted longer than lives or relationships. Even through several moves from Michigan to Montana, Paradise Valley to Wilsall, then to Polson and Big Fork, eventually to Hood Canal on the west coast of Washington. And now the move back to Livingston. Some might attach some deep meaning to that, and how life goes full circle.
On the other hand, I was able to part with a couple of boxes of cookbooks to donate to the book sale. I hope someone will find something in them which will become a treasure to them. Trav somehow understood how difficult it was for me to give up the rest and took the time to redo part of the bookshelves to make room for the ones I couldn't part with.
That did make it easier.