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August daydreams and reflections

A favorite photograph of Andy Boyar's dad, enjoying a favorite pastime--fishing.

August 14, 2014

ther than during the winter months, August may be the toughest one for anglers, especially trout anglers. To start with, it’s hard to find water with a temperature in the 60s. So we’re relegated to small-mouth bass in river riffles or large-mouth in lakes and ponds, but it can be slow—you know, “dog days of summer.”
When I think of August, I immediately think of my father, who was born in August 1910. My mind does a slow August drift when I’m not actively chasing fish. For instance, I think about how 1910 was such a seminal year. It was the year of Haley’s Comet. The skies were alive with meteors that year. Seventy-six years earlier, Mark Twain (b.1835) was born under the previous Haley’s Comet sky, and he departed this earthly realm at the comet’s next coming in 1910, as did Winslow Homer, Tolstoy and Florence Nightingale (b.1820) who died eight days after my father was born.
I suppose in a way my own story really begins with my father’s birth, and the fact that he was linked chronologically with both Homer and Twain intrigues me. I grew up reading Twain (his entire works sit on a shelf in our home, often with one or two of the volumes on someone’s nightstand) and enjoy rereading many of his works. I’ll go out of my way to see any showing of Homer. His art has to be personally seen to be fully appreciated.
Florence Nightingale first attained fame as the “Lady with the Lamp” in the Crimean War (the one in 1854, not the current one). It intrigues me to think that her life actually overlapped with my Dad’s because she seems so iconic and distant. My father was born before airplane or automobile travel, telephone or TV, not to mention computers and electronic wizardry.
Considering his long and eventful life, it’s a wonder to me that of all the things we ever did together or talked about, it is the fishing I remember the best. Imagine sharing all those years, and yet it was the simple act of catching fish that brought us together the most and resulted in my fondest memories.