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Monday, June 1, 2015

"But nobody loved it more..."

In a collection of Tom McGuane short stories I've been reading, one character asks an older man who used to fish with his father whether his father was a great fisherman.  "Not really, " the older man replied, "but nobody loved it more."

This is actually the second time McGuane has used this piece of dialogue.  I remembered reading it years ago, and it stayed in my head because I always thought it was a beautiful thing to say about a fisherman.  I've read a lot of McGuane and was convinced I recalled the quote from one of his essays and spent a couple of unsuccessful hours this afternoon going through collections of fishing essays in my extensive library of outdoors books trying to find the place it first appeared.  Then Pam came home and found the source within a few minutes of searching the internet.  (I had also tried the internet, but she's much better finding things in general, whether on the internet or in the refrigerator.)

McGuane originally used the exchange in a novel, one of the few we don't own, so I apparently read a public library copy.  It's such a great quote it deserves repeating.  I wouldn't be upset if it was said about me and would readily understand if some friends who fished with me only a few times when I happened to be having bad days (casting in the trees, poorly tied knots, etc.) could've concluded that for a guy who talks about fishing so much, I'm actually not that good at it.  By contrast, someone who happened to have observed me when everything seemed to going great might believe me better than I am.  Either way, I would hope that to anyone it would be obvious that nobody loves fishing more than I do.

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