During the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. I have started a new blog because this challenge has inspired me to work on my own creative writing. This post is part of a series about presents that I am working on, inspired by The Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. My father had a serious accident eleven years ago and I have been trying to figure out a way to write about it ever since. I'm trying to through this serious of memoirs about the gifts he has given me and my family members throughout our lives.
For other posts in the series, please head over to tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com, which is where I began the series.
The Gift of Honoring a Kid's Passion
We moved around a lot when I was a child and I think that my youngest brother and I had an easier time with that than my middle brother did. One of the reasons that it was easier for Charlie and me to deal with moving was that we played team sports and therefore, fit right into a group of friends. My brother John preferred individual sports. When we were growing up in the mid seventies/early eighties, fly-fishing had not really taken off as a sport. Brad Pitt didn't catch trout on the big screen until 1992 when A River Runs Through It inspired many people to learn to cast. However, John loved to fish. My father wasn't much of a fisherman--he had played football and rowed crew--but he learned to fish in order to support my brother. As a ten year-old, John was the youngest student that Lee Wulff accepted at his famous Wulff School of Fly Fishing in upstate New York and I remember the two of them carving out hours to spend catching and releasing fish.
My father was never a particularly good fly-fisherman. There are many more stories about him falling into the water than about him catching the perfect fish. One time, his waders filled up with water and John had to pull him out of the river. Another time, he fell off the bow of the boat into Block Island Sound and spent the rest of his fishing day with his buddies huddled in a blanket. Just recently, he plummeted into the pond at the trout club where he now goes to scratch his fishing itch. But he loves it and he loved the time he spent with my brother.
And here's the really happy ending to the stories about John and my dad's fishing adventures and my dad's acceptance of John's individual passion. John worked for Orvis when he was getting his Master's in Urban Planning at NYU. He was a pretty coveted fishing guide since he knew the Beaverkill really well; top executives wanted John to take them fishing. Guess what? One of them wanted John to work for him, as well. One of them headhunted John away from Orvis when John was working as their head guide, taking people all over the world fishing, and he has been working for the new company ever since--not as a fisherman, but as a trader who makes enough money to take himself and his boys anywhere in the world that he wants to fish.
I have tried to inspire, nurture, celebrate and honor my daughters' passions the way my father did for all of us. What incredible gifts.