February 11, 2019


Took an online friend fishing in the late 80s. I had seen his trout photos online and he had a knack at catching big ones. He wanted me to take him to a "boonies" stretch so he could score something big.  He was a humble guy that did not like photos taken of him.

 I took him to a stretch that I had permission on the first part but not the last property. I told him we would have to wade it. We did two car thing at starting and stopping points. I had never met him before. He got out his vehicle and he was taller than me and in good shape it appeared. He had a huge smile painted on his face and he was ready to go.

We had fished quite a ways and just gotten to the wading stretch. He had caught a couple nice ones but refused to have his photo taken. He sat down to rest about 50 yards in. His face got white and he asked to go to the road immediately. He didn't feel well.
I thought about the land owner and not getting permission when I asked and if I would end up with a ticket if we walked out on his property because my fishing partner was sick.

I decided the ticket was ok if I got one. My new friend was sick and the road beckoned.   He had to sit three or four times on the way to the road.  I went to get the closest vehicle while he rested on the side of the road. He was as white as a ghost so jogged to the truck.

He didn't feel up to driving for quite some time and we sat and talked. He finally opened up to me about having a pacemaker and being in need of a heart transplant. What a nightmare scenario this could have been I thought. 

It has been about thirty years ago since that outing.  It really stuck in my memory. When I have had knee and back problems through the years I think back to "Pat" having that drive to fish.  As long as he was fishing the world was ok with him.

I fished with him two more times and he did well on easier stretches and after that we talked ever so often online.  He suddenly quit corresponding with me.  I checked with a couple of his friends and asked them why he went silent.

Pat was on a heart transplant list and he was number one on the list and readying for his surgery.  He found out a young lady was second on the list and she was in dire need of the heart he was going to get.  He let her leapfrog him and she got the heart that he had waited 2 years to get. The doctors warned him he might have to wait a long time to have another perfect match and he let the woman get the heart anyway.

When I have knee problems these days or my back is acting up I think of Pat. The world was ok by him as long as he was fishing.  His defective heart was bigger than most people's healthy heart.  Pat passed away before they could find another heart for him.  

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