I remember reading some words of wisdom several decades ago about friendship. The gist of it was that some people come into your life early and remain a part of it for the duration; with others your paths cross for only a short period of time but the relationship is just as meaningful and important as those with a longer track record.
I met Phyllis Pool via my friend, Carol Oglesby, when we fished the Uncompahgre River in February 2013. (I have a chapter in my book devoted to our experience on the river.) I discovered a passionate, strong woman who was devoted to fly-fishing and her family of three daughters and grandchildren and her partner, Tony. I quickly connected with Phyllis, and I was fortunate to float the Colorado River with her in April to celebrate her 70th birthday. Phyllis caught the biggest, most beautiful rainbows on that trip as we faced winds up to 30 mph with spurts of rain. It was a great day outdoors facing the elements.
Life was busy for the rest of the year for me as I indulged myself in fly-fishing and visiting rivers throughout seven Rocky Mountain States. When I returned to Denver in January of 2014, I started writing my book and helped my oldest son with the logistics of back surgery due to an injury. And then I heard the news… Phyllis had brain cancer. I wasn’t able to see her again until October of 2014 when a group of women fly-fishers gathered at her home for a lunch. We were all shocked by the diagnosis and Phyllis remained positive that she was going to beat this. She battled as best she could but we lost her in February of this year and attended a memorial service for her on May 23rd.
I am so fortunate to have had Phyllis in my life. Her bright smile and matching personality was an inspiration to me. She was opened hearted and honest and I loved the short time I spent with her. I believe that it is truly our lot in life to search out and embrace the many ways we can connect and enjoy and help our fellow women and men.
Einstein tells us: “From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other— above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”