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Do the Right Thing

01/28/18 at 06:08 PM by Vince Puzick

 

 

Integrity. Doing the right thing.  Being a good person on the river.  No matter what you call it, I experienced two incidents -- positive, hope-restoring, faith-in-humanity incidents -- this past Friday at Deckers that I wanted to share with you all real quick.  

 

The first is a relatively simple thing about sharing the river.  I was heading upstream and came to a group of three anglers fishing a usually productive run.  I took a wide path around, bushwhacking maybe ten yard behind them.  I fished a couple of runs upstream from them.  A few minutes later, I heard that satisfied "whoop! fish on!" from the group.  After they netted the fish, they hollered up to me: "hole's all yours!"  I waved in appreciation and they waved back.  I made my way to the hole and missed a couple of opportunities on the still-feeding fish in that run.  I appreciated the fact that they got the fish they were targeting and then opened the hole to another angler.

 

The second experience, and the one that motivated me to write this posting, has a bit longer story.  Two Sundays ago, January 14, I was fishing a stretch upstream from Trumbull.  By the time I got back to my car, I was hungry, and rushing, and got myself out of my normal "end-of-the-day" routine.  I leaned my net, a relatively new (and minimally used) Fishpond Mid-length Nomad, against the rear, passenger-side tire.  And, yep, drove off with it leaning there.  

 

I went back up on Friday the 19th, pulled on my waders, set up my rod, and reached for my net.  That empty feeling in my stomach preceded the negative self-talk (which I'll spare you here). My first thought was that I lost the net.  My second thought was that I took it out of my car when I got home and set it in the garage.  That delusional thinking quickly faded, though, as I pictured leaning it against my car a few days earlier -- and couldn't picture me putting it back into my car.  Well, kiss that one goodbye.  The sick feeling lingered all day. Or course, it was not in my garage when I returned home.

 

I went back to the same stretch this past Friday.  There, clipped onto the little cable fence at the parking space, was a "Found. Fishing Net. Call Cal" handwritten sign with two Denver-area phone numbers.  I called Cal. He and his buddy, George, found the net not too much after I had pulled out of the space on Sunday. They held on to the net for two weeks, waiting for a call. Sheepishly and a tad embarrassed, I described the net and the parking lot where I left it.

 

After we made arrangements for me to pick up my net, I asked Cal what kind of beer he drank.  "Oh, I'm not much of a beer drinker."  He paused for a few seconds and then he said, "Oh! I don't want a reward for it."  I blabbered some sort of insistence.  He said "Nah.  I don't want anything for this.  I'd like to think you would do the same thing for me."  

 

So would I, Cal, so would I.

 

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