Although exchanging gifts certainly isn't the most important part of Christmas, it is a big part of how we celebrate the holiday. In that light, Christmas 2011 was pretty meager compared to 2010. I didn't get very many gifts and they were all rather small... no fishing kayaks under the tree this year. It's perfectly alright though. I already have everything I need and nearly everything I want.
However, a very pleasant surprise came my way right before Christmas. It was a "gift" from a friend of a friend... a person whom I have never actually met. It wasn't really intended to be a Christmas gift, but given the timing it felt like a really special one from a distant family member that you only rarely see. You know the grandmother or aunt who lives eight hundred miles away and mails you gifts twice a year on your birthday and Christmas. Maybe it's that I no longer have any of those distant gift senders that made it feel that way... I miss those gifts... and those who sent them.
Well, to get back on track... My friend Don (biology professor and one of my mentors as a naturalist) invited me over to his house a few days before Christmas, and told me that he had something very special waiting for me. Knowing Don, it could have just been a few nice pieces of lumber he found in a trash pile... or maybe a neat old book. I would have never guessed it would have been fly fishing related.
It turned out to be a box chock full of fishing stuff. In it there were a bunch of lead head jigs, raw lead for jig making, and even a ladle for pouring lead- but no molds. There were a good number of large fishing hooks, feathers (white neck hackle and 18" worth of strung black marabou), natural fur (deer and Black Bear), and more multi-colored craft fur than I know what to do with. There were also two fly reels- a non-functioning beat up old South Bend "Oren-O-Matic" (visible in the picture of the box below) and another that I consider to be a bit more of a treasure.
It was a Pflueger Medalist #1492 fly reel. According to information I found at flyanglersonline.com, it is a 1959 year model. I've seen more recent Pflueger Medalists and I can say that they certainly don't make 'em like they used to. This one is very well made. The only real issue with it appears to be that the spool seems to have come in contact with a chemical (maybe a plastic bass worm) that has softened the paint and made it "gooey." It seems to be in great working order and will be a really nice complement to my 4 wt antique bamboo rod.
|1959 Pflueger Medalist model #1492|
|The box full of goodies minus the big bag of craft fur|
To explain how this all come to be...
Don's friend Nancy had a father who was an ichthyologist and a fisherman, and she sent some of his collection of fishing paraphernalia my way because Don told her that I would graciously give it a good home. Don was right, and I am very grateful to be the recipient of such a great gift. As a fly tyer and classic fly tackle enthusiast, it made my Christmas.
So, to Nancy and Don, I offer a belated thank you for my unexpected, but perfect Christmas gift.