Uncle Jim's Hat

This is my Uncle Jim's hat that my Aunt Rae gave to me after he passed on. They traveled all over the world and he would trade people pins that he put on his hat. On it in the front is hi US Navy Submarine Service pin. He served on the USS Croaker and I had the please of touring the ship a few years after he passed. My Uncle Jim (also my God Father) taught me to fish. He gave me my fish saltwater outfit, a bamboo rod and Penn reel that I still have to this day (see the picture below).

That Time I Met Lefty Kreh

Lefty Kreh was a "giant" in the world of fly fishing. He was an author and fly fishing pioneer.

In the winter of 2000, I signed up to attend a fly fishing workshop with him at a local New Jersey fly shop. I signed up early knowing that the fly shop could only accommodate about 50 people in their workshop room and figured that the seats would sell our fast. The night before the workshop we had a snowstorm and I wasn't sure they were still going to have the session. I took my chances, against my wife's better wishes, and headed out through the snow to the fly shop holding out hope they would still have the workshop. Half way to the shop, I finally got a hold of someone at the store, and they said that the workshop was still on. Lefty had flown in before the storm and was staying a few minutes from the shop. Four people made it to Lefty's session that day...me, two other older guys and Lefty. Shortly before he started his workshop, Lefty was having trouble getting his projector and laptop to work. He asked if anyone had any experience with these things and all 3 of the "Seasoned" citizens all turned to look at me. Fortunately I did have a good deal of experience with technology and was able to get his presentation moving forward. At the end, he chatted with all 3 of us and as I was getting ready to leave he asked me to stay. He thanked me for helping him and then proceeded to dig through his "antique" tackle box and gave me some flies and signed some books for me. Even though he was one of the most recognized people in the sport of fly fishing, he was just a regular guy who loved to talk about the sport he also loved. It was a great experience.