Yes , every thing was slipping away so fast.
Why even faster than the river now.
The grandchildren came , and hugged him on Christmas day . Went their merrt ways . And why not.
James , the eldest had taken so readily to the fly fishing,
And in a few short , very short years he’d even now taught his grandpa how to tie the dam flies.
So he was calling in the morning. They would both fish the pool at dawn.
He’d never caught a salmon before .
By god he’d get one this morning
Ned slipped quietly below the wier
He saw that the ropes and gantries were fast.
He watched Orion slipp over the boat house .
It was nearly dawn.
He hadn’t the dam energy any more. No matter how well they said he looked .
Cavanaugh , across the river had passed away last winter , and he knew he wasn’t far behind. The dam cancer catches you in the end,
He went to the eel house and from the cold slabs where he’d laid the gelignite , he gathered it all in the purse string he d made.
Nifty, some of the tricks they taught you in the army..dam clver too.
H e checked the eyelets, the ropes , the line and the The slack all running free.
He heard his grandson at the locked gate. He slipped the netted and well corked purse string into the stream.
And when he felt it take the full pull of th e river and draw the loaded curve and makeit make a loop , he tightened the cord against the boat hook, with two quick two double loops,,
Ahha ! James .. Young lad you‘ll catch the fish today
You think granpa !! he was shaking as much in excitement as the lad.
For sure .. For sure !!
As the lad started to mount his fly rod the grandfather looked sideways with an impish sardonic turn to his lip which both startled and excited James.
Put that down awhile , lad .
- Follwo me !!
Quite now .. Quiet !!
They went stealthily down the bank together .
To the confused lad he handed him the limp cord .
- we’ve gotta be quick !!
The lads pulse quickened , and though he feared for his dear papa’s health he obeyed every command as they were given.
The old man had been a ships captain during the war.
- ready ?
- yea grandpa
Ready son, this is going to be your best day fishing .. Ever,,!!
Ready boy ?
The fuse took but a few seconds to blow the charges.
The rumble on the banks was more than he’d ever remember than the explosion which was muted in the deepness of the pool.
- Now pull !! Like you were never made boy !! Pull !
The commander was back on board his ship . His alone . He was tin control.
Pull ..like you were never made .. Boy ..pull!!
He pulled like he was never made.
They both pulled like they were never made . The haul got heavier as the current pushed it towards their bank.
They counted twenty two of the finest spring salmon writhing and struggling in the net.
They hauled the catch in and pushed them slithering into the black plastic bags and furiously put the bags on two strategically wheel barrows the old man had left by the high bank.
When they got back to the hut they counted the fish again,
He grasped his grandson near..
- Never again boy ..
But he was slipping away , now just like the ropes going slack , and dead after the haul.
- sorry it wasn’t with a fly lad,,
But he’d slumped over the table
- sorry ,, but hide them quick.. There the fridges ..
And he was gone .
James had caught his first salmon at the age of thirteen