DeVar and Dad and the Salt River Adventure – Concluded

We conclude DeVar Gleed’s story of keeping his dad outdoors, with the ever-present  companionship of the unexpected and family humor:

“At the Afton Hospital, the nurse, although very friendly, gave us a look of incredulous surprise.  Dad handed me his rubber-band-wrapped wallet of cards and health information. The doctor came in right behind the nurse and got the story. He looked at dad’s bloodied hand and asked if he took a blood thinner.  Dad promptly said, ‘No.’ The doctor responded, ‘Really?  Wow, this is really bleeding…’ Meanwhile, I was looking through dad’s cards, and there was a card with the name ‘Plavix.’ I said, ‘Isn’t it a blood thinner?’ The doctor looked at my dad. ‘Do you take Plavix?’ Dad said, ‘Well, yes.’ The doctor looked at us. ‘That’s a blood thinner. No wonder this doesn’t look as bad as I first thought!’

“After soaking and cleaning dad’s hand, the doctor gave him a shot. Dad was staring at his hand, mesmerized by the whole process. ‘Did that hurt?’ ‘Nope,’ dad said. He didn’t seem to feel anything. The only thing I could think of was – with decades of helping Uncle Ern ranching, spanking my older brother and me (I’m sure less often than I remember), and a lifetime of DIY projects – all feeling was gone in his hand! It was too funny, though. The doctor expected him to feel pain through shots and stitches – but nothing. Stitches done, the doctor asked dad if he intended to continue fishing. He knew the answer before he asked and reached for a handful of surgical gloves – large. He left us with dressings of gauze, tape and antibiotic ointment.

“As we stood in the lobby awaiting discharge, my phone rang. Dad asked who it was. I said mom. He must have seen the terror in my eyes, because he said, verbatim, ‘You won’t tell your mother about this if you want to live!’ I handed him the phone.

“He answered and told mom we were just taking a break from fishing and that all was well. After telling her he missed her, he handed me the phone and I told her the same thing. It wasn’t altogether untrue; we were taking a break – and at that point all was well.

“We returned to a familiar cutthroat hole. Unfortunately, our poor luck continued and we closed out the evening fishless. That evening we killed the rest of the flies and wasps that came alive in the balmy 50 degrees in the house. (Note to self: have new windows installed.)

“Day 2 was spent perusing private access areas, familiar holes with at least one nice fish in each.

“We drove through a cattle pasture in his early-2000 Buick as if it was a 4-wheeler, parking along one of those barbed beasts.  A group of 50 or so large grass fed steers slowly crept towards us. I looked at Dad. He said, ‘Don’t worry – they can’t follow us.’ We squeezed through an opening in the fence – the first of a few on the path to the river. I swear someone with the strength of Thor attached one gate; it took all dad and I had to pop it over the post (and even more to get it back)!

“I battled a few husky browns on my favorite Rapala lure. Testing each new river bend with hope of a big one, I was finally rewarded with a nice 4-pounder. I found an incredible, deep bend with a hole full of eddies and easy casting. I called Dad’s cell 3 times (he couldn’t remember which pocket he had it in) and told him to make his way over. He then had the time of his life catching and releasing a dozen beautiful Snake River browns. I finally told him whoever caught the next big fish was the winner – we had to go.

“When we returned to the car I noticed a large brown smudge on the hood. The driver’s side mirror had been pushed in somehow. I told dad and asked him what happened to his mirror. He looked up quickly and yelled, ‘It’s gone!’ ‘No dad,’ I said, ‘it’s just pushed in. But what happened?’  What looked like large dried swaths of saliva were all over. Turns out those steers had their way with the ‘ol Buick. They must have thought it was a giant salt lick after all those icy, salted highways. Dad might have been upset, but the visual of those steers having their way with the ‘ol Buick was just way too funny!

“It’s always a fond farewell as we climb southbound Hwy 89 up the Bridger-Teton National Forest – bidding adieu to the beautiful Star Valley. We made a pit stop in Evanston to gas up at the least expensive spot west of the Rockies. I came out from the facilities and saw dad with a six foot long truck window washing squeegee in his hands and the entire car covered in soapy suds.  He said, ‘We’re not going home with the car like this,’ as he finished washing the entire car. We should have sprung for the $10 car wash – that ‘brown’ smudge never did completely come off.

“Pulling into the driveway back at Layton, mom’s sweet smile greeted us from the door. I looked at Dad and went to the back of the Buick to retrieve the cooler. I was hoping the sight of those fresh cool and clear water caught trout would ease the call I heard coming. As she looked at Dad’s bandaged hand, it was ‘DEVAR???!!!’”

The family that plays together…

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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