Our last Opening Day,
Cold and rainy, the night before the prom
And still she comes with me!
Up at 4:00, she follows a little later,
Coffee together, with her brand new waders.
We've no chance today, purists die,
Our bait today, a tasteless fly.
Hatchery trout, chilled and lost,
If we miss today, can I measure the cost?
We spare them all, as we bond and shiver
The Blackledge today will not deliver.
Side by side, we roll our lines
Her first fly rod, she's doing fine.
A young man approaches, smoking, shy,
Impressed to watch her handle fly.
The fact she's beautiful, blonde and tall
May have drawn him too, she didn't call.
Polite, she speaks, but guards her spot
Room on the bank? NOT!
At 6 am, the worms start to fly,
We cast with our streamers, no one is dry,
The sun never shows, the fish never rise
But we don't want to stop Ö time flies.
In an hour, she's got it, casting with skill
Like riding, a natural, for dad, what a thrill.
To have daughter beside me, loving the part,
She says,"it's romantic", she touches my heart.
Hypothermia threatens, neither one will budge,
I speak first, "it's freezing!", we head for the lodge,
Where pancakes and coffee are dispensed with lies
Eggs, toast and kielbasa of "keeper" size.
A tour of the river is next on the list,
To scout out a new spot and check out the fish.
In waders and vests, we pile into the car
Heading downstream, we don't get too far.
Biz has discovered that while fish don't like noise
They attract men in droves and also young boys.
The next spot we see, is not Piscatorial,
It's more like a outdoor magazine pictorial.
The men are climbing on top of each rock,
Their sons and their rods create visual shock!
Six boys scream; "He's got one!" as one hooks a large tree,
My daughter, my buddy, say's "This looks fine to me!"
Appalled at the carnage, I can't help but smile
When I was her age, I was part of the pile.
As I look around me, I see the new ranks,
It's all part of history, we're on different banks.
She's hooked, she can fish with a worm or a fly.
But she'll fish with another. Can I say goodbye?
Fishin' buddies for years, it has been ours to share
I know in my heart she'll always be there.
But next year comes college, too far away,
So what will I do next Opening Day? ~ F. Thomas
My daughter, "Biz" (Elizabeth), has been fishing with me for many years and she
hasn't missed Opening Day in Connecticut since she was 10 years old.
A week before opening day in Connecticut, April 19, 1997, I cautiously mentioned to
my daughter that Opening Day was coming up and, since her Senior Prom was being held
that same night, did she still want to go with me? She answered immediately with
an enthusiastic yes! As she had just received a new fly rod and reel from her
Godfather for her 18th Birthday (May 13) we both agreed to fish with nymphs and
streamers at our favorite spot on The BlackLedge River in Marlborough, CT. (Across
the street from The Moose Lodge)
It was a typical rainy, cold day in April and we decided to move around, fishing our
way down the stream. Well, when the guys saw my 5'10" beautiful blonde daughter
working a fly rod with her new waders they were hypnotized. They would wander over
and start babbling about anything they could think of.
The events in the poem are all accurate and occurred as described. She realized
(for the first time?, right Dad) that GUYS do most of the fishing and there are not
many young woman out there. Well, we both had the best time of our fishing lives
together. When I got home, I had to pack for a business trip. I wrote Opening Day,
1997 for Biz.
My wife and I took Biz to college at Ole Miss in August, 1997. Of course, she
packed her fly rod & reel and waders into her red Jeep Wrangler in case of
emergencies ~ F.T.
About F. Thomas
F. Thomas is an avid but average fisherman and has been blessed with an above
average, extraordinary family. His wife, Nelle, and two children, Tom & Biz,
patiently listen to his fish stories and poems. Despite being a hyperactive
traveling consultant and former CPA, he really wants to be a writer. He and his
family live in a 200 year old home on Chester Creek in Chester, CT.
Copyright ©1997, 1998 F. Thomas Crowley, Jr. All rights reserved.