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Gifts that don’t cost money

It’s Christmastime. I know this because the ads for gift buying, on television, started as I was tuning into a football game on Thanksgiving Day. And, since Christmas is less than a month away, the bombardment will only get worse. It seems to me that the true meaning of Christmas has been taken over in a retailer frenzy. If it weren’t for being able to see the fun of Christmas through the eyes of the Wild Bunch (my grandchildren) I could easily slip into a funk.

So, instead of getting out-of-sorts with all the buying hype for a religious event, I’m going to approach the season differently this year. I am going to think good thoughts, and express my gratitude, about the good things I have received from fly fishing this year. And, I’m not talking about receiving “stuff.”

I have found, for me, it’s other people that help make a year of fly fishing successful. This year was no different from past years. I am grateful to SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) for telling me to get out of the house and go cast a fly. It didn’t have to be a long expensive trip. Just stand in the river behind the house and lose myself in gentle casting. I’m also thankful to Kim, my Friday fishing partner, who no matter the weather insisted on us going fly fishing. Those two are obvious, and I hope you have people like that in your fly fishing quests. Some not so obvious, but none-the-less very deserving of a show of gratitude, are the people who help get our fly fishing gear from point A to point B. Those folks are the baggage handlers that work for the airlines. I know the airlines, and their personnel, are the targets of many negative thoughts, words and deeds. However, I am very thankful for them in helping to make a fly fishing trip successful.

I am also grateful for the men and women of the National Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Southern Ute Reservation, that keep the area rivers and lakes in great fishing condition. You don’t often see these professionals, but when you do let them know how grateful your are.

Even though I expressed a negative thought about the number of ads seen at this time of the year for retail goods, the men and women in our local fly shops are deserving of our gratitude. I can’t count the number of times someone in a shop has gone out of their way to help me with suggestions of places to go and flies to use. I’m sure many times they think their job is thankless. I will show my gratitude more often.

I am also thankful for the total stranger, on the water or in a parking area, who is more than happy to tell me what fly is working best, and where to cast it. This giving of gifts, through gratitude, is fun. I’m going to be giving the gift of my gratitude, on a daily basis, whenever I am fly fishing.

So, as 2022 comes to a close, I want to once again express my thanks to each of you for reading my columns. Now, I will once again leave you with my annual politely incorrect statement. I wish everyone Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, a good Eid al-Adha and, of course, Merry Christmas. If none these fits your beliefs, then may whatever touches your heart with hope be with you for all of 2023.

Reach Don Oliver at durango.fishing@gmail.com.