Reader's Casts
June 15th, 1998
Grandpa and Tugger

by George E. Emanuel

With his grandson sitting patiently on his lap, his huge knurled and work worn fingers belied the delicacy of his avocation, his mind visited a time many years before when he had experienced perching upon the lap of his grandfather. He was fully involved in the contemplation of this succession of the generations when ... Tug, tug, on the sleeve of his shirt, "Grandpa, what is that" inquired the tiny voice? "Why, this is a Blue Winged Olive," replied the old man. No sooner had the words left his lips than the "Tugger" blurted forth, "Grandpa olives don't have wings." Gathering his wits, and after a rather hearty chuckle, he started to explain all about the "magic" of the Blue Winged Olive.

"When I was a boy, no bigger than you, my grand daddy took me to Legacy Creek, for my first crack at fly-fishing. I remember him carefully looking on, and over the water, trying to decide which fly would be just right for today."

"Grandpa, I don't want to hear no old stories, when can we go fishing?" Giving the matter due and careful consideration he replied with more delight than his voice could communicate, "Well, why don't we get up early tomorrow and give it a go! But if we are going catch fish, we'll have to get there early, so off to bed with you now." "OK, thanks Grandpa I can't wait, make sure to put a lot of 'magic' in that Blue Olive thing, I want to catch the best fish ever." "I will, now scoot"

Harkening back to some twenty years before, he recalled with a great degree of nostalgia and pride the first time he and his son had set foot astream together, on that very same Legacy Creek where his father had taken him many, many ye ars ago. Oh the memories he had of those wonderful days of youth and vigor. They sustained him in ways he could not have imagined back then, but now in the autumn of his years he was warmed and delighted by their embracing recollection.

What a shame it was, he thought, the smoke from his pipe ringing his hair with the most delicious of olfactory sensation as he plied his craft, that his son, now so busily engaged in providing the necessities for his family, seemed to have no time left for these simple pursuits. The ones that would not provide him the memories to sustain him as his winter would surly approach. But, alas, the world is a very different place, much to the chagrin of everyone, as they scurry about, marchi ng to the beat of the "new world economy." Somehow it seemed un-natural that the boys father would not be able to enjoy the experience.

The crunch of autumn beneath their fleet as they traveled the path to Legacy Creek was the only sound breaking the stillness of the crisp morning air. "Here we are Tugger, the very spot where I caught my first fish." "Gee Grandpa, that must have been a long time ago." "Yes, it was, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a day just like today, very quiet, very still. A bit of a chill to the air, but I didn't care, we were fishin' !" "Yeah, just like us Grandpa." "Yes Tugger, just like us."

The upturned comers of their mouths spoke of the delight yet to come on this eventful day. They fished, and they fished. The old man guiding the rod through the hands of the boy in graceful arcs. Though no fish came to net, Tugger was determined and so too his mentor. When there was almost no light remaining in the day, the boy inquired, "Grandpa, when are we going try the olive with wings, you said it was magic?"

"You are absolutely right, I did say that, we'll try it right now !" He very carefully tied on the fly in which the boy placed his hopes, and they cast it up and away. Slowly, slowly it drifted, absolutely dead perfect, then, slurp! I n the faintest flash of white it gently disappeared, "Lift the rod Tugger," said Grandpa letting go.

"Wow, I got one, I got one, I got a fish gramps" he was so filled with joy you may well have imagined he was dancing on clouds, rather than tripping on rocks and boulders in pursuit of his "fish". So enthusiastic was he at the hookup t hat he darn near ripped the lips off of that Rainbow. But, with grandpa's gentle coaching the fish was landed after a battle of appropriate length, considering the size of the combatants.

As they released the fish little Tugger looked up and smiled at Grandpa, "there really was magic in the olive with wings !" Lifting his eyes slowly upward the old man silently mouthed a "thank you" and turning to Tugger, with a tear in his eye, replied, "Yes there was, for today you have caught your first fish, and quietly to himself he said, "and we have caught a most precious memory." ~ George E. Emanuel

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