Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not one Whit

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with a mentor.
In the world of fly fishing, if there is such a thing as celebrity, Dave and Emily Whitlock are among the top of the list.

Dave left his career in research to become a full time fly fishing professional nearly 40 years ago. The world of fly fishing has been much richer for it.

Dave brought unique talents to his craft. He is an artist, a fly designer, a photographer, writer, lecturer, teacher, inventor, and the list goes on.

I was fortunate to meet him last year at a local fly shop. I was surprised that we ended up talking about gardening, drought, and peaches, not just fishing. With a Renascence man like Dave, there is always something to talk about.

My bride and I were able to share a meal with Dave and Emily Friday evening. They were exactly what I had hoped...two of the most pleasant people to spend time with you could imagine. Their affection for each other after 18 years of marriage was obvious. Just good folk.

Dave was a mentor of mine when I first began my fly fishing journey. One of his books, the "LL Bean Fly Fishing Handbook" was recommended to me by Stacy, my first fly fishing instructor. I used it as a reference guide (actually I still do)...however now it is autographed by Dave in his unique way. A personal note, with a small drawing of a fish.

That book introduced me to Dave, and I purchased several of his fly tying videos when I began to take up that facet of the sport. His teaching style made me feel very much at ease as I tried to improve my skills as a tier.

Dave is the same in person as he is on video. I consider it one of the pinnacles of my outdoor experience to have met these two luminaries.

They cast long shadows that will impact fly fishing for generations in the tradition of Joan and Lee Wulff.

Now if I could just get him to invite me on a fishing trip.... ;-)


momma p said...

That's's not everyone who gets to meet, much less spend time with their mentor. I'm very happy for you.

Drew said...

It's interesting to me that he was your mentor even though you'd only briefly met him before. His books and videos were enough instruction that he has been a mentor to you even though he wasn't giving you personal, hands-on instruction.

Getting to meet him in person and spend some time with him just talking and getting to know him - not even necessarily talking about fly fishing - must have been wonderful. I'm sure it was wonderful for him as well, knowing that he has influenced another life to pursue with excellence one of his passions.

It's a good reminder that we may be mentors to someone even if we never spend time directly with them in a one-on-one situation. People may be watching and learning from us in ways that we don't even imagine or notice...

Mark said...

True dat!

Steph said...

Wow! I didn't know y'all did this. Awesome.

Now I'm sitting here trying to figure out how I can have dinner with Amy Grant...

Mark said...

Well duh, you call Vince Gill!

Steph said...

Right, duh! You got his number?

Anonymous said...

A Renaissance man, for sure! I just love knowing that there are people willing to take chances like that in life. I so admire that. I also admire that you have mentors. So many people neglect seeking out wiser people to learn from.
What a wonderful evening!

Mark said...

Definitely. It was interesting, Dave wanted to be a journalist, but his folks told him there was no future in that. They told him he was going to get an chemical engineering degree. He reminded us that there was a time n U.S. history when kids did what their parents told them to, especially in the area of career and education, so that's what he did. But when he got into the career of research, it just didn;t fit him, so he made the change. Had to have taken a lot of courage, but he just beams when he talks about it. Neat guy.