I have alluded to my multi-year commitment to my mom’s and aunt’s hospice care and in the aftermath of their deaths, to the cleaning up of their hoarding messes.
I have also mentioned my Uncle, who gave me my first fly rod and provided an example of a classy outdoorsman, who hunted and fly fished. He died too young. His special shop behind the garage was where I recalled gazing upon his fishing gear and eyeing the elk, antelope and deer antlers affixed to the wall.
After his death, my Aunt filled the room with meaningless stuff but not, it appears, before getting rid of almost all of my Uncle’s fishing and hunting gear. What a shame. She sealed off the room. And, then socked in so much stuff before the entry way that it has stood like a tomb for 42 years.
Yesterday and today, I gained access and entry into that room. Hours were spent removing the meaningless stuff, animal nests and hodge podge of obstacles to get to the places where there might be signs of my Uncle. I found traces of him: hunting knives neatly hung, an old camping stove, an ax and a half dozen empty cardboard fly rod tubes. I shook each one for weight or signs of something. All were empty. The rods long gone. No reels, no lines, a few spools of old mono and nary a fly box. Really nothing.
The man that handed me my first fly rod 50+ years ago may have left a legacy of treasures, but my Aunt or someone else discarded every last piece of gear. So, I have the same recollections I always have had minus some old reel or rod that I probably wouldn’t use, but would wonder how he so enjoyed the sport with such primitive gear. Still, I would like to have found something beyond old, musty cardboard rod tubes.