The Writings of LaVarr B Webb
I owe my introduction to trout fishing to my father, and I am very grateful. It has been over twenty years since we tromped a stream together. Chalk Creek, flowing out of the north side of the Uintas, was our favorite stream.
He worked long hours, and it was difficult for him to take time off from his job, but periodically he would ask, "Do you want to go fishing?" He knew he didn't have to ask. The two most important things in my life were books and fishing. Books took precedent, simply because I couldn't spend my whole life fishing. Then, too, with books, if I couldn't actually go fishing, at least I could read about it.
Anyway, we would load up the car, and head out. Our cars were old and worn out. Sometimes the car of the moment wouldn't want to run, and while dad tinkered with it, I would fuss, fidget, and worry, thinking we were not going to be able to go. But dad was a mechanic. That was how he supported his family, and he could generally patch them up.
I remember one trip particularly. We were going to Chalk Creek. We lived on Fifth East and Thirtythird South in Salt Lake, and the first leg of our journey took us to Twentyfirst South and then up Parley's Canyon. While we were still on Fifth East, the car started to cough, sputter, and jerk. I thought, "Oh, no, we're not even going to get out of town."
Dad thought the engine was out of time, so he asked mother to get behind the wheel, and told her all she had to do was steer the car down the road. She did not like to drive, had no desire to learn how to drive, and did not want to steer the car down the road. But, she did as directed.
Dad laid out over the fender and running board of the car, and with the hood open on his side, tried to twist the distributor back and forth to adjust the timing. Of course, the car coughed, sputtered, and jerked even more with mother's hesitant foot bouncing from the gas pedal to the brake, and dad twisting the distributor as he tried to find the proper adjustment.
Mother, not sure of herself, was awkward and hesitant, and Dad, perched on the fender, was jounced, jostled, and occasionally thrown to the asphalt. Dad, as he sometimes did, lost his temper, and the air turned blue as he, too, began to sputter, then fume, and finally, curse. I thought my fishing trip was going to end in a cloud of smoke, as the car backfired, Dad cussed, and mother threatened to walk back home.
But, finally, Dad got the distributor adjusted to his satisfaction, and we chugged up and over Parley's Canyon and on to Coalville. There, it started to rain. A few miles east of Coalville, on an old dirt road, it started to pour. The rain came down so hard it obliterated the windshield and made the car headlights useless.
Mother wanted to turn the car around and go back home, but Dad suggested that we find shelter, spend the night, and see if the storm wouldn't blow over. I was grateful when he won the argument and found a shed which looked like it would be rain proof.
After checking the shed out, Dad said that it was empty, and there we would spend the night. However, by the time we got our bedding over a fence and into the shed, it was soaked, we were soaked, and it was a miserable night. When daylight came, we found that we had been sleeping on a pile of dry manure.
But the rain had stopped, the clouds were gone, and the sun came up over the Uinta Mountains, smiling. Our Chalk Creek campground with its giant fir trees, green grass, and murmmering creek was perfect, and the fish were biting. After such a disastrous trip, it was heaven to sit beside a large hole, feel the electric shock of a bite, and imagine that the only thing you had to do for the rest of your life
was fish, and fish, and fish.