The Cold Creek Salve

Austin and his grandfather Ron, stalking the trout  of Cold Creek Pond

In Robert Redford’s 1992 movie, A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean is beguiled by his fiancé and family into agreeing to take her prodigal brother Neal fishing.  The family’s transparent hope is that Norman, a preacher’s son, might be able to set Neal on the right path.  Norman in turn solicits his brother Paul to come with them, likely because he realized the enormity of the task his fiancé’s family laid at his feet. Not only isn’t Neal much of an outdoorsman, he’s falling behind in the fight against his own set of demons.  Neal shows up at the river with the town prostitute, inebriated.  Norm and Paul leave Neal with his new-found “diversion” to fish the river on their own, only to return at the end of the day to two naked, sunburnt slabs of flesh.  Insult to injury was they only caught one fish between the two of them (fly anglers always have their priorities in order).  When Norman and Paul got Neal home to his family after dropping off the working gal at the town outskirts, there was some real emotive, verbal and non-verbal, communication going on since the influence of preacher’s son didn’t produce the anticipated effect.  It’s at this point that Paul looks at his brother Norm and says, “Why don’t we go fishing again tomorrow and wipe this day off the books.”

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