Friday, March 19, 2010

You've Been After Me For a Long Time...

"We changed to dry clothes, and then he made a pot of tea for himself and for me broke out a bottle of Edradour, a fabulous pot-still Scotch twenty-five years old that no words of mine can describe. We ate a sandwich and then went into the common room, where my friend made a couch out of pillows on the window seat.

"Sparse," he said when he had arranged it to suit him, "you've been after me for a long time to write my reminiscences, and I've finally made a start. Listen to this."

And then, while I smoked a pipe and sipped my whisky, he read me the bright narrative which became one of the best chapters in his fascinating autobiography, Those Were the Days. I can hear his voice yet and see the tackle-littered common room in the lamplight, and I cherish this memory, for the camp is gone now and all the lovely stretch of river we fished is underneath the Neversink Reservoir in sixty feet of water, and Ed long ago crossed that other River to fish from the far bank. That evening was a fragment of the Golden Age, both of the Neversink and of me."

The above is the last page in Sparse Grey Hackle's, Fishless Days, Angling Nights. The book is a classic piece of fly fishing literature, and I was happy to stumble upon it while hunting for bamboo fly rods in an antique store.

Fishless Days, Angling Nights is filled with stories and memories from Hackle's (Alfred Miller) fly fishing adventures in the early 20th century, primarily the 1920s-50s. The last chapter, entitled “The Golden Age,” relates the last time Hackle went fishing with his good friend Ed Hewitt in 1940.

As I finished reading those last words, I thought to myself; when was my golden age of fly fishing and adventure? Or is it yet to come?

I guess I will continue to wade my favorite streams and cast my little flies, while I consider that question. I’ll let you know when I have an answer.

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