To catch a fish

So here I am in finally landed in beautiful Camrose after an insane two weeks. It went something like this: Drive to Chilliwack from Calgary, Hang out with Family in the parents new gorgeous place, Hot tub to take the edge off the stress of being in BC while Robbie moves in Alberta, Go to the wedding of a life long friend, Go to mass in Langley, Help my sister with her kids as she recovers from an appendectomy in Cloverdale, Hang out with best friend Diane lots and lots, Pick up the biggest nephew from school, Get barfed on a lot by a very cute Baby John, Read books to a very cute Cate, Cry saying goodbye to Jen and the fam again, Go back to Chilliwack, Drive to Camrose with the parentals in a lovely 14 hour car ride, Arrive in Camrose at 2 am, Spend a day in Camrose working out some of the logistics of the new place, Drive the next day to Calgary for a Surprise Birthday Party, Spend the next day fly fishing on the river with the husbando and a dear friend, Drive home after mass, Sleep in my own bed for the first time in 3 weeks.

This comes from a girl who classically did not do well with change. Take that Laura of the past.

A little bit of paradise known as my parents backyard.

There were many beautiful moments and stories that were made within this time frame, but I will try to save some for later. For today I relay to you a story that was so perfect that you may not believe it is true. And this story is totally at my own expense so there will be no hearts broken here… except mine.

This tale is a tale and Robbie, Josh Nugent, and myself. We found ourselves on the Bow River on Sunday. Josh is a fly fishing guide and we got to see him in action as he took us down the legendary Bow that graces Southern Alberta. It started as a perfect day. The sun was shining, brightly, but not to persistently. There was just enough wind to keep you cooled off, but not to blow you over. First of all I just sat back and let Robbie do the preliminary fishing as we floated down the river. We had a few close calls pretty early on, but Robbie did have to display some patience to land his first fish in the boat. When we got there, there was much rejoicing. I blurted out a few “Nice work Love” and “I’m super impressed” comments to keep the old ego going. One fish turned in to two and things were just getting exciting.

I started my own personal fish adventure about an hour in to the trip. I got the urge to get in there so 2 de Fleuriot’s could be on the board. I got the hang of things slowly but surely. I actually really enjoyed the feeling to flipping the rod back and forth. After I improved some of my mad fly fishing skills thus began the waiting and waiting and some more waiting. If you haven’t gone fly fishing before the key to knowing that you have an interested fishy is found in staring the entire time at what is called the ‘strike indicator.’ This rather manly sounding ‘strike indicator’ is in fact a floating ball that indicates that a fish has become keenly interested in one of your hooks disguised as a fly when it bobs down ever so slightly. In our case the manliness was taken to the next level as the floating ball ‘strike indicator’ was in fact bright, or as Robbie would say, luminous pink.

So there I was looking at a floating pink ball.

And as I said time went on and on and on. Seconds turned into minutes, Minutes turned into about an hour or so. (For the record that is a long time to keep looking at one thing). I kept my spirits up cracking lots of Laura-esque jokes avoiding my melancholic natural disposition. I was very proud of myself. But time went on and on. We stopped for lunch and the wind started to pick up. Thankfully this wind only got really bad after nature called. We got back in the water and started out again on our venture. This time I sat on Robbie’s lap while we both intently stared at the floating pink ball. It was actually crazy intense. My hands were getting cramped from holding the rod so tightly. You see when both Robbie and I get super intense at the same time it is quite a wonder to behold. The eye contact on that hot pink ball was unprecedented. However, I began to grow weary after about an hour of this. I told Robbie to take the rod for a bit as I just needed a break. He took over the rod with an heir of optimism. Then I kid you not, no longer than 2 minutes later my man had snagged another fish. “Oh my word” I thought. “You have got to be kidding me.” But I, Laura, was a trooper and kept on toward the goal of a fishy in my hand.

I started up again and the same routine went on: Cast, look at the strike indicator, see the strike indicator bob down just a bit, re-cast, look at strike indicator, change sides on the advice of Josh, cast…. and so on and so forth. Then I got in a little tangle due to the wind. So I did the logical thing and let Josh take the rod to fix it up. He was holding the rod loosely in his hand as he fixed things up. It took him about a second to untangle it and another second to hook a fish…. Wait a minute, did I just say that? Josh simply touches the rod and fish come rushing to him. Josh turned a blind eye denying the fish had taken hold of the rod. Robbie and I burst out laughing. It was a movie moment. Granted this was a wee little fish, but he still was on the board and I wasn’t.

So this continued again, the same routine and I did not give up. I kept my eyes on that beautiful strike indicator. I knew it would vindicate me eventually. We were coming near the end of the trip. We turned the final bend and in a last ditch effort Josh rowed us into another dark green patch of water where the fish were lurking waiting for their dinner. The wind really started to pick up again. We sat there for about a minute. Then the wind came on with a vengeance and Josh says “Well that’s the fat lady singing,” and at that exact moment I hook a fish. After 4 long hours of fixating on a pink ball I actually hooked one. I finally hooked the darn thing!!! It was exhilarating. However, I had to bring the fishy fish in. I start shouting hysterically “What do I do now? What do I do now?”

I was instructed to reel the thing in. I managed to begin to reel it in in the midst of my excitement. In the meantime Robbie had come over to the boat near me. Now, he was so excited, unbelievably excited. Maybe more excited than myself. In the midst of this excitement my beloved Robbie with all the good intentions in the world somehow managed to bump the rod, and in the confusion of everything we somehow lost our fish due to that well intentioned bump.

I looked over to Josh and said “Where did it go? What did I do?” If ever there was a pained expression, I saw it in that moment on Josh’s face. It told me everything I needed to know. However, I still felt the need to confirm. I asked him “Did I lose it?” He shook his head confirming a no. I went on, “Was it Robbie?” The opposite was indicated this time.  My heart sunk into my stomach. It was comparable to when my beloved Canucks conceded to Boston. It was that intense. Then I looked at Robbie whose face had sunk into a frown. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen I can confirm that Robbie indeed frowns. I probably should have kept up my positive attitude but this was kind of the limit for me. I played over in my head the moment I lost the fish. Then I played over the moments that Robbie had caught his fish that day and remembered how I distinctly did not get involved in order to avoid anything going wrong. I was notably irate.

I sat in the truck as the guys got the boat back on the boat trailer and tidied things up. At this point I may have shed a tear or two. I was so very patient all day. It was just a bit much at that moment.

And then it hit me that the reason I lost my fish was not because of my skill, but because of a rather enthusiastic, superb man. Then that man came to me and said sorry. I said I forgave him in spite of his error. I might have even detected a little bit of extra ‘water’ in his eyes. Then came words that broke my heart, “Laura, my one goal today was to have you catch a fish.” I knew he meant it.

Oh isn’t love sweet. Oh isn’t my dear Robbie sweet. Well if we can’t handle losing a fish together then we’re in big trouble. Consider this one hurdle that we’ve crossed together with notable success.

So thank you all the fishes of the Bow River for eluding me. You did your job well. Perhaps I needed a reminder of how to go through frustrating moments with some grace still intact. But If I do come back and catch one of you, I promise I’ll release you back into the Bow where you can go be with your own sweet fish friends.

Don't worry, We let him go.


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