Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Legend Moves On: R.I.P Reggie

Note: Last week one of the greatest men that any of us have ever met passed away after more than 90 great years.  This is an article that I have been thinking about for more than two years, and how do you wrap up the life of someone who is so special in words.  I never knew if I would write it before or after Reg had passed.  I have found after much writing and deleting you cannot come close, but here is my best attempt.

The ability to captivate a room of 20 guests at a busy fishing lodge full of puffed chests and inflated egos is not an easy thing to do.  For Reggie Miller, this was something that came as natural as his effortless backcast, and is a talent that wouldn't even make his personal top 50 list.  As cliche as it is, a comparison to the Dos Equis Man is the only way to come close to putting into words what Reggie had done in his life, and there is no way that you could capture the lives that he has touched.  A WWII British B-24 bomber pilot, a world renewed lapidary and as many of us in Twin Bridges knew him, a phenomenal fly fisherman.

As a fishing guide we get to spend time with many different people from many different backgrounds, and if there is one thing the best guests have it is a positive energy.  You can tell when you first meet them that they are passionate, fun, energetic and truly enjoy what they are doing.  Reggie embodied these characteristics, and it showed not only in his angling but in the fact that at over 90 years old he would show up to the lodge and fish for 6 weeks straight, nearly everyday.

A typical Reggie day was not your 8 hour float through the heat.  Rather it was usually 4 hours of fishing and could often include an errand or too.  If  you were going to the Beaverhead you knew that your trip would include a stop by "the tack shop" (fly shop) or a random drive through KFC for a giant bucket of chicken.  Back in time for a nap, Reggie would certainly be the last one every night by the campfire, enjoying a vodka or a bush mills, and of course a cigar, of which he had shipped to Montana by the brick so that he could share with anyone who cared to partake.

The outpouring of thoughts about Reggie on social media outlets has been amazing, and it's incredible just how many people Reggie impacted when you think about the odds of them meeting in Montana.  If you met Reggie and didn't immediately feel the energy to go completely after whatever it is you dig, than you just really don't get it.  Rest in peace old friend, I know you're not wasting your time staring at "the bloody bobber" on the other side.

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