Fishing

Around four in the afternoon on Friday I was parked in my driveway and had just turned my app back on. I got a call to pick up a young woman about a mile from my house. Remember, most live riders have a profile picture along with their name. I pulled up in front of the house and a young man carrying a tool bag came walking out. He smiled and asked if he could put the tool bag in the backseat. I said “sure it’s your ride”. He hopped in and we headed on a 15 mile ride. “My car is in the shop, thanks a lot for the ride – this is my girlfriends Lyft app. You can probably tell I’m not her”. “I admit I was a bit disappointed when I saw you walk out with your tool bag – her picture is really cute”. He laughed and began to tell me the story of how they met when they were both on vacation in Las Vegas. She was from here and he had been living in Arkansas. He moved to Denver and they have been together about a year and a half. With a big smile he said, “It really is a very good thing”.

He shared with me that he does kitchen remodels, but that he is hoping to get his general contractors license. He asked me a very direct question, “Do you fish”? I laughed, and said “Does a bear fish in the woods? I started fishing in 1953. My dad was a remarkable and committed fisherman and we have done about every kind of fishing that you can do in this state, including ice-fishing. I am vegan now and so unless I go fishing with someone else who will eat them, it’s sort of pointless. Last year I was with my grandson, my son, and my buddy and we caught the most beautiful stringer of 1-3 pound trout that I’ve ever seen. This expedition was at Steamboat Lake. It was in early June when the warm water was on top and all the fish were up there eating. We had the lake to ourselves and it was as good as it gets in fishing world”.

The conversation was off and running. He told me he had just moved here from Arkansas a few months ago and is very excited about finding out how to fish in Colorado. It was a delightful interchange as we talked about fly- fishing, ice fishing, trolling off a boat, fishing from shore, fishing with a clear plastic bobber and ultra light tackle (my personal favorite).

The conversation then took a very interesting turn. He told me he was Vietnamese and that his family had come here after the war. He began to tell a story that I am still processing. “My dad fought with the United States Army against the communists in the Vietnam war. When it became

apparent that the war was coming to an end, he knew that he must get his family out of Vietnam. My mom was able to leave on a plane and my dad had a fishing boat. He had been a fisherman before the war. He loaded up the boat but he had no real idea of what he would need. He didn’t take enough gasoline, water or food, but he put my six brothers and sisters on the boat with him and headed for the Philippines. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean he ran out of food and water and thought it was the end for all of them. A fishing boat came by and approached them but then pulled away. My dad said the boat came back three or four times before they decided that it was safe. They loaded my family onto the boat and got them to the Philippines. My family was able to reunite in San Francisco and a year and a half later I was born. So that’s my best fishing story”.

He proudly told me “I graduated from the University of Arkansas, but I’m a Colorado guy now. I think I’m gonna really love this place”. We had a wonderful three minute conversation about the NFL draft. He is a big San Francisco 49ers fan and I played my “I have been a Broncos fan since 1960” card. This was the kind of ride that gives me hope for the kind of country we were founded to be. I told him “I am one Colorado native that is really glad that you have moved here. The story of how your family got here is truly amazing and I will never forget it”.

We pulled up in front of the house in old Lakewood, he got out, grabbed his tools, turned and smiled at me and said, “I will be at Lake Steamboat in early June, thanks for the great tip”.

So again sometime in early June I will be “GONE FISHING” 🎣 Onward and Upward,

Mark

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