Trout Fishing and Manicures

I often think about Mom when I’m fishing. She’s the one who taught me the basics: where the trout are, not to let the tip of the rod drop. I followed her up and down the banks of the rivers and streams and creeks. Daddy was long gone, up the middle, fishing a dry fly. Mom gave up the waders while I was little, and waded the edges of the water in her tennis shoes. I don’t know why her feet didn’t fall off; the water was freezing. She never seemed to notice.
Mom could fly fish, but she preferred to use worms with a trout rod. She was deadly good. She could follow Dad and catch fish behind him that he’d missed. And Daddy didn’t miss much; he was deadly good too.
Everyone thinks her mother is or was beautiful, her father handsome. Mine really were, and larger than life to me. They’d lived a lot more than the parents of any of my friends. They had the stories.
My mother, who was a delicate looking woman when she was young, was the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She and my father owned and operated a trout farm in the Sierras in the forties. Just the two of them in place so remote they had to snowshoe out to their truck on the edge of the highway in the winter. She gave herself a manicure before they strapped the snowshoes on and went down to Red Bluff, I know. She was vain. She had reason.
She’d left Colorado in the late 20’s for Hollywood. She wanted to be in the movies. She had the looks; she always told me she had too many scruples to get anywhere.
She and Dad married during the Depression. It was a terrible time, but in my parents’ stories, it was one long party in L.A., with a lot of dead broke people getting drunk together, and doing crazy things.
I told my husband some years before it happened, that I thought I would start to get old the day she died. Something happened, if not exactly that. It changed me. I have to admit that in some ways it freed me. But I lost my closest friend; there will never be another.
Happy Mother’s Day