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I appreciate you running my article, "The Old Man." A couple of friends have read it and contacted me. I have another article for you to consider for the holiday season that I've attached.

Now, let me be clear. I did not write this and don't know who did. It was submitted by a anonymous individual to the newsletter editor of the Rabun Chapter of TU about 3 years ago. I saw it in their newsletter and asked their newsletter editor if I could run it in our chapter newsletter. The newsletter editor gave me permission to run it in our newsletter. I've always enjoyed it and thought others might to.

Sid Elliott


A NEW YEAR, A NEW TYPE OF RESOLUTION

We are, although most of us would deny it, procrastinators. I know I am, probably always will be. It's not that we put off what society would consider important things; we make those stressful deadlines at work and get the house mortgage in the mail on time. It's those little things.

With the coming of the new year, all those little things have turned into a big thing. This is how the story goes.

My father was my best friend. As a child I remember watching him tie flies during the winter. The room would have that eerie warmth that is created by a wood stove. Pipe smoke swirled around his head. I think of that scene now, and see the smoke as a halo. Clipping and snipping the various feathers, cursing occasionally. The finished fly resembled no bug that I had ever seen.

My mother, was without question, over protective of all five of her children. She had put her foot down early on and told my father that I was to be at least eight years old before I was to join him on his daily fishing excursions. Months before my eighth birthday, he took me out in the yard and taught me the art of fly fishing. Oh, I was a mess. Line was flying every way but the right way. For several weeks, despite a barbless hook, nothing was safe in the yard.

On my eighth birthday I joyously unwrapped my first fly rod. That evening, wearing boots that were several sizes too big and with a knot of excitement in my stomach, I followed my father to the creek behind the house. What a wonderful memory I have replayed a thousand times in my mind. A milestone in my life, and the beginning of a passion that continues to burn.

Life has its own schedule and time goes on. My father and I spent countless hours on nameless creeks and rivers pursuing our passion together. As is should be, a parent and child, a teacher and a student. I learned many things about fishing and many valuable lessons about life in general. As the schedule of life continued we, as many parents and children do, started to drift apart. I went to college and started my own family. That combined with my desire to climb the corporate ladder demanded most of my time and attention.

I still made time for trout fishing and my father and I remained close although geographic distance made fishing with him a rare occasion. I procrastinated to the point that time caught me looking; I was looking too hard in the wrong places.

Every year I would resolve to take my father fishing. I never got around to it; too many deadlines and too many steps in the ladder. It was a priority that never made it to the top of the list. We spent time talking about where he would like to have me take him. He mail ordered maps and information about the rivers we dreamed of fishing.

Fishing those rivers with him will remain just a dream. Your parent are not suppose to die but they do. He did, unexpectedly and suddenly. So now I am left with an empty dream and space on my list for a new resolution for the coming year.

My son turns eight this May and I already have the fly rod wrapped and tucked away in a closet. It was the same fly rod my father had given to me on my eighth birthday. My mother, who had fussed continuously about our fishing, had held onto it all these years. It was wrapped with care in one of my father's old flannel shirts.

My family needs and deserves my attention. That ladder doesn't look so great any more and I have already turned in my vacation slip for a week off in May. I promise myself that it will be the first of many, and I realize that my father's last gift to me was one that was unspoken. It was simply to remember what is important. It is a resolution that I think I will start on before January first.


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