I came across this picture of Karlie Kloss in a Saint Laurent dress and hip waders in the December issue of Vogue. Is this streamside chic … or what?
I’m sure this outfit is what my colleagues imagined I’d be wearing whenever I’d mention at work that Hubby and I had been fishing on the weekend. Well, it’s what they imagined until they got to know me better. Until they discovered what the other half of my life was like.
|Vogue December 2014|
You see, I’ve always been equal parts city and country, part girly-girl and part tomboy. Fifty percent fashion and fifty percent fishing, or something. Ever since I was a kid. I remember the summer I was ten, my older brother Terry and another boy in the neighbourhood worked all summer for my grandfather who owned a well-drilling company. Well-drilling is kind of the family business. My mum’s father and all my uncles and now my brother… all well-drillers. They loaded and unloaded pipe, and scraped and painted every bit of machinery Grampy owned. I helped. Seriously, I got up every morning and went to “work” with Terry and Albert. I loved it. According to my mum, I’d come home in the evening covered in grease and paint and insist I had to drink my tea from a china cup and saucer. You see, I was part grease monkey, part lah-di-dah lady.
I’ve never minded getting dirty. And I’ve always fished. First with my brother Terry; he’s nine years older than me, and when I was little, he’d take me trout fishing. He even bought me my own fishing rod when I was nine. Later I fished with Terry’s father-in-law who was an avid sportsman. And with my step-father and step-brother.
And then I met my husband. There probably aren’t words to describe how much Hubby loves fishing. We met in the staff room of the high school where he taught Phys. Ed. and where I was supply teaching. I was wearing high heels and my navy skirt suit. I know I probably looked as if I thought stuff like camping and fishing was “ickky.” So imagine his surprise when he discovered that I liked fishing too. Okay, I will admit that I knew nothing about camping and canoeing when we met. But I did know fishing. And the other stuff… well, I was game to try.
This is me, below, in early spring 1985. Hubby and I had started dating a few months before. We decided to go trout fishing over the Easter weekend. The weather in Ottawa had been beautiful and warm for weeks; we had no idea that there would be so much snow in the hills overlooking Brudenell Creek in the Ottawa Valley. I’m wearing Hubby’s rain gear here. You could call this outfit an early example of colour blocking, I think. No fish to be had that day. Still, I look like I’m having a good time. Must have been love, eh?
This is me in 1987 or so. Hubby and I were fishing for brook trout in a beaver dam. I think I look quite fetching in my hip waders. Actually they were Hubby’s boots. He bought me my own for Christmas a few years later. I remember that I couldn’t wait to drop that bombshell at the lunch table at work. “What did your husband get you for Christmas?” Yep. Hip waders. I definitely won the prize that year for most surprising gift.
Okay, so fishing isn’t all sunshine and roses. That is definitely not a smile on my face. Hubby and I were on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park, probably mid- 90’s. It had been raining. Hard. I was soaked. We stopped for lunch and it was raining so hard we had to shelter under the canoe. The canoe smelled of fish; even my sandwich tasted fishy. Did I say I was soaked? So… no sunshine, no smiles, and most definitely no roses.
But later that day, the sun came out, and we dried off. And carried on fishing.
This is the big, big fish that I caught in the Yukon in 2006. Oh. My. God. That was hard to reel in. The guide kept yelling at me…”Keep your rod tip up! Keep your rod tip up!” And I kept gritting my teeth and replying…”I’m trying. I’m trying.” We’d been fishing since 6:30 in the morning, and I was pooped. And I couldn’t feel my arms anymore. The picture says it all, actually. By the way…this was a catch and release lake. And the guy holding the fish is not Hubby; that’s Doug, our guide.
How about you? Do you have any seemingly contradictory parts of your nature?