Wednesday, May 18, 2011

John Gierach Book Signing (May 28th)

No Shortage of Good Days at Rocky Mountain Anglers!
I discovered John Gierach when I was a teenager. I found a beat-up copy of Trout Bum in a cardboard box of fishing books stacked at one end of a sagging yellow couch in a cabin somewhere in Western Pennsylvania. I had been invited out to the cabin for a week of trout fishing with friends from school. I was full of young enthusiasm about the trip, as well as the still fairly new discovery of fly fishing. I had no friends that fly fished, and no local shops to help me acclimate. The friends who invited me to PA were bait fishermen—so I was hungry to enter any fly shop we passed, or peer at other fly fishermen I saw in the river. What were they doing? What kind of flies were they using? But the guy in the fly shop did his best to ignore me. (Didn’t help matters any that I was a kid…and those with me were asking if he sold meal worms.) And the guys on the river had no time for a scruffy kid in soggy gym shoes, even if he did have a fly rod. But, Mr. Gierach had the time. And he spoke the language I wanted to hear. He told wry stories of this place called Colorado and adventure stories on his home stream…the St. Vrain. It all seemed so foreign, mystical and far away. Because of these stories I fell forever in love with this sport. Not the way a conniving businessman “loves” his hot mistress on the other side of town—but a permanent, life-altering love. A passion. I left my hometown because of his stories. I quit lucrative jobs because of his stories. I ended a marriage because of his stories. I moved from state to state in search of something because of his stories. I became a writer because of his stories. I let everything not related to fly fishing in my life wither away on the vine…because of the stories of this grey-bearded man from Colorado.

Fast forward many, many years and miles and heartaches later…I was a working guide, instructor, fly designer and had even published my own book of fly fishing essays. I was having a few cold beers at a bar in Longmont, Colorado (on the bank of the St. Vrain, mind you!). There was an NFL playoff game on the big-screen TV above the bar. I was havin’ a good time…had just got off work at a local fly shop. I spin around on my stool to head for the latrine. And I run smack into John Gierach. I recognized him right off from dozens of inside dust cover photos.
“Hey,” I said. “I’m a big fan.”
“Thanks,” he said.
Then I took a piss. Can’t remember who won the football game.

I am lucky enough to know John better now. He hangs out at our shop from time to time. We talk flies and writing…women and life. But I have never told him how bad he has wrecked my life—because I think he already knows. If you have never had the chance to meet John Gierach, he will be here at Rocky Mountain Anglers in Boulder (303-447-2400) selling, signing and talking about his newest book No Shortage of Good Days. Sat. May 28th. From 11:00am 'till 1:00pm...and yes, there will be food grilling in the back!

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