The Last Time
By Len Harris
The phone rang about two weeks ago. It was a prospective client. He wanted to know all of my open dates for the rest of the year. He was most interested in the 30th of September. He told me the last day of season had a special meaning to him.
I penciled in the 30th of September for Jim. I asked him where he had heard about my guide business from. He said a buddy of his recommended me to him. I tried to give him my website address so he could look at my photos on my site. Jim said: "I am old school." "I don't own a computer and don't care to."
We had a long talk on the phone. He told me he was 79 years old and had trout fished since he was 4 years old. He got nostalgic with me and told about his father and his first time trout fishing with his dad. He told me all of his fishin buds had passed and the only one of his relatives that even listened to him anyomre about trout fishing was his grand daughter Emma.
By the end of the conversation I felt I knew Jim quite well. He wasn't that concerned about catching big trout or a lot of trout. He just wanted to get out one last time before the end of the season.
Jim told me he was not in the best of health and I should pick an easy couple places for him to fish. I told him I had many such places and it would be a learning experience for me also to watch a trout fisherman of 75 years.
Two days later I got a call from his grand daughter. She (Emma) said her grampa was dancing around like a spring chicken. She had gone to visit him that morning. He was cleaning up his gear. He was talking about going trout fishing with me. Emma also told me that I should take Gramp Jim to easy areas that didn't require much walking. I reassured her that I would be careful and not stress Gramp Jim.
She had looked at my website. She asked if her grandpa had sent the deposit to me required for a half day outing. I told her that I was not going to charge her grandpa for the outing. She was a little puzzled. I told her that if my dad was still around he would have been 79 years old and it would be like fishing with my dad again. Her voice got a little broken and she said: " My worries are gone now."... "You will take good care of my Gramp Jim."
My phone rang this morning. It was Emma. She was crying. She told me that she had to cancel the outing for her Gramp Jim. He wasn't going to make it... He had died in his sleep last night.
She said "I am certain he was dreaming about trout fishing, It was the only thing he had talked about for the last week."
Photo by: Emma Stevenson
Taken September 30th ,2001
The Last Time Jim Stevenson went trout fishing. ~ Len Harris