Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's in her DNA

Kelly and I made an unplanned visit to her grandparent's house on Monday evening. To make a long story short, we stopped by to check on them because Kelly's mother (who doesn't live in the area) was having a difficult time locating her father. It turns out he was just fine. He just wasn't answering his cell phone. I don't really blame him.

I can honestly say we don't visit Kelly's grandparents as often as we probably should, even though we live in the same metropolitan area. I know it will sound like an excuse, but by the time we get home from work and school the old folks are already preparing for bed. Our weekends are often so busy that we don't have a lot of free time there either, and what little we do is often spent fishing. We are planning to go and do the annual fall gutter clean out very soon (to ensure Kelly's grandfather doesn't try to get on the roof and do it by himself). It seems like we might also be installing more guttering while we're there, so next year's gutter cleaning will be that much more fun.

As visits with our senior family members often go, we ended up sitting around the kitchen table and listening to Kelly's grandparents tell us what they've been up to lately as well as recount stories from their youth and the second World War. Having lost the last of my grandparents in 2007, it's one of those things that I miss... but never knew that I would. I'm glad that I can now enjoy Kelly sharing her grandparents with me.

Among the many stories we heard about gardening and days gone by was an unexpected fishing tale. This was a surprise because Kelly's maternal grandfather isn't really an outdoorsman. The story went something like this...

Kelly's Grandfather, Lucius or "Lutz" as he is called by his family, went fishing once with his father-in-law (Kelly's great grandfather) in south Louisiana. There were apparently some secret ponds that had a bunch of "green trout" (which Kelly and I interpreted to be Largemouth Bass) in them. The two men went fishing on one of the ponds in a skiff, and Kelly's great grandfather handed Lutz a fly rod. He said "I don't know how to use a fly rod," but his father-in-law told him he would figure it out. He began trying to cast as they crossed the pond and approached a stand of lily pads. Kelly's grandfather told us he couldn't have done it again if he tried, but once the boat stopped his first cast landed perfectly among the lily pads.

Instantly a big bass erupted from the water and swallowed the fly. Lutz had no experience setting the hook or playing a fish with a fly rod, but somehow he managed to reel in the fish. He demonstrated for us with his hands the size of the fish which appeared to be about fifteen or sixteen inches. After the fish was landed, Kelly's great grandfather began to turn the skiff around, leaving the lily pads, and headed back for where they put in. A confused Lutz asked what he was doing, and he simply said "you caught my fish, we're going home." Lutz suspected there were more fish lurking under the lily pads, but he wouldn't find out that day. The frustrated father-in-law wasn't going to give his son-in-law any further opportunity to show him up.

Although I can certainly take credit for being the first person to put a fly rod in Kelly's adult hands (her dad let her play with a fly rod as a child), her DNA is no stranger to the long rod. We already knew Kelly's dad had spent a lot of time chasing bass with a fly rod in his younger days, but this is the first either of us had heard of any fly fishers on the maternal side of her family.

Kelly's genes reconnect with a fly rod. 

Somehow, I'm not at all surprised.

14 comments:

  1. I love stories like this Jay and well told. It's easy to see where Kelly got her skills.

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  2. Nice story Jay! My parents have a very similar kitchen table that I also don't sit down at often enough.

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    1. Thanks, Kevin. Taking some time to sit at that kitchen table is very rewarding.

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  3. Great Story! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Jay
    Kelly's Dad did an excellent job in relating the art of fly fishing to her, and when I say art, I am talking about the ability to land fish on a consistence basis using the fly rod.

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    1. Bill, I think Kelly's childhood fishing experiences have a lot to do with her aptitude for angling.

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  5. I love the photo, pictures with casters neck turned to watch the back cast are so honest.. you can sometimes feel their joy of a perfect cast... nice job man-

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    1. FT, thanks for the comment. I hadn't really considered the honesty of the photo, but I'm glad you pointed that out- I'd have to agree with you. I'm really glad I decided to take a few pictures that day I first put a fly rod in her hand.

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  6. Nice story...We should all spend a little more time sitting around that table listening to family tales from the past.

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    1. HPFF, we could probably learn a thing or two... and some of it might even be more valuable than a fish tale.

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  7. Great stuff Jay. Family is so important and its nice to learn thing from the elders. Keep passing on the stories.

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    1. Joel, thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad we made that unexpected visit or maybe we would have never heard that story.

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