Someplace in the very early 1970's Deanna and I accepted an
invitation to spend an evening with a couple who we had met
while teaching a class on fly fishing. They went on to become
very close friends and also visited us after we made the move
from Michigan to Montana. The pair had my deepest admiration
as they had traveled the world as Doctors on a ship named Hope.
He was a renouned heart surgeon as I recall, she was an anesthetist.
To this day, I wear a pair of clip-on magnifying glasses he gave
me while I tie some smaller flies.
The evening took the usual course of a big-peoples show-and-tell.
He brought out rods, reels and lines and vests and fly boxes and,
and, and. Well, you get the picture. Soon the coffee table in front
of my wife and I was covered; even a can of Atlantic Salmon he
brought back from 'way up-there' in the frozen NE American Continent.
I do not remember where he had been, but I remember looking at the
actual double hook salmon fly he had removed from his right ear while
He was pumped. Excited. Sharing his latest adventure with us,
complete with flailing arms, giant strides about the living
room and an odd assortment of facial contortions. But, above
all of these, the rods, reels, lines, flies, pictures and
canned fish, of more importance to him was a card.
With apologies and humility, but unable to contain a certain
deep-set pride, he opened his wallet and knowing exactly it's
location, carefully extracted what appeared to be a business
card. But, ah ha, it was far more than a lowly business card.
It was his membership card. Voila. The proof he was included
in the great fraternity of something or other. Honestly, I don't
remember what organization it was, but he sure did, and that
evening he was very, very proud to be a member.
Here was a fellow who had a great life. Wealthy, a home and a
cabin on a river, rewarding occupation, finest fishing gear
available and time to enjoy much of it. But the proudest
possession he had that evening was a paper card from his
wallet. Proof of his inclusion in a group he thought was
special and he felt well about himself by being a member.
Do we need such an organization today? Do we already have
one, or even a few? How do you feel about the groups out
there? Do you even belong? If you do, is it to get something
from them, or are you being rewarded by working for and with
the outfit? Is it, "Ask not. . ." etc.
Just something to think about. ~ James Castwell