A Winters Express opinion column
Age depends on circumstances. For instance, on Christmas day I received the best possible gift, a guided fishing trip for Steelhead on the Trinity River with my son David. I packed the necessary gear for the joy of fishing in the rain that was forecast for Thursday, Dec. 29.
On Tuesday I took an unexpected ‘trip.’ I was hurrying through the rain from a parking lot to shelter when I slipped and fell. The next morning I couldn’t move my right leg without sharp pain in my lower back. I was suddenly old. The expedition was done for.
Fly fishing is a pretty good indicator of how old you feel. Our own Putah Creek is not an easy stream to fish. In the upper reaches, the banks are steep and there is a lot of riverside brush. The stream bed rocks are moss-covered and slippery.
When we moved to Winters 34 years ago I fished in the most inaccessible reaches of the creek. The trout are finicky but robust and worth the effort. Now I must contend myself with the easier-to-access waters. The Pitt River which is clogged with huge boulders is impossible. I contend myself with wade fishing small streams such as Mill Creek and Deer Creek. I anticipate that I will be able to fish for years to come in drift boats that are commonly used in such streams as the Sacramento, Trinity and Fall Rivers.
There are plenty of reminders out there of our age. We routinely get ads to enhance our ‘Golden Years’ from the likes of hearing aid and walk-in bath tub manufacturers. In the mail, we receive notices from Medicare, Social Services and invitations to join AARP. We get offers for senior discounts from such places as theaters. In addition to various health insurance programs, private insurers offer the grand prize of all, costs to cover burial.
Let’s get back to fishing, which reminds me of the story of the old gentleman who was fishing in a puddle outside of a bar. A well-dressed gentleman came by and feeling some compassion for the old fellow invited him into the bar and bought him a drink. Wanting to humor him, the gentleman asked how many fish he caught today. The old man replied, “You’re the eighth.”
I’m just a dog and a little one at that so my brain is very small as compared to the likes of Gramps. Therefore I am limited in my understanding and appreciation for the joy of sitting in a drift boat and stream-wading in the freezing rain all day long. I’m going to curl up in a nice dry and cozy spot and not for one minute contemplating my mental deficiencies.
By the way, Gramps is not to be denied his ‘glorious’ day on the river. David is taking a rain check on the trip and is re-booking the excursion. I’ll give you an up-to-date report of his joyful miseries and how ‘young’ he feels when he returns.