The Story Behind The Photo

The Story Behind The Photo

I stopped at the farm house for the fifth time in six years.  I was a little bashful as I exited my vehicle.  Each time I had stopped here over the years the results were the same.  We talked each time for a short time but he was always on task and our interaction was minimal.

I saw the farmer out in the field plowing.  I decided to wait until he was done to talk to him.  It seemed like an eternity waiting for him.  I knew if I walked out in his field and bothered him the answer would be the same as the other years.

I went back to my vehicle and waited with the door open.  During the time I was waiting I had three visitors to my truck.  First was the dog that patrolled the barnyard.  It was a mixed breed dog and was on the big side.  I had met him on my visits in prior years.  His bark was loud and fearsome.  I remembered the last time there and our interactions.  I had almost been brave enough to bend over and pet him.

This time I decided what the heck.  I went down on one knee and coaxed the dog to my side.  It melted immediately and quit barking.  This old farm dog was in need of some attention.  I spent the time petting him waiting for the farmer.  Two cats came to visit and were chased off by the dog.  He wanted me to himself.

I went back to vehicle to sit and the dog jumped into the truck with me before I could close the door.  This was not a little dog and it was just barking its head off at me three minutes prior so I was bashful about shooing it out of my front seat. The farmer must have seen that from the field and decided to investigate.  He pulled up to my vehicle and shut down the tractor.  We knew each other for other visits so we were not strangers.

He said:  "You are back again?"  I smiled and nodded.  He thought I had given up because I had not stopped the year before.  He was really surprised the dog jumped into my vehicle.  He gave the dog a not approving look and it promptly jumped down from my truck.

He asked if I had a question for him?  I asked permission to trout fish on his land.  He had told me no in years past.  We had conversations before and after each visit in the past.  I had always been polite after and before each time.  I kinda expected a no again.

He fired up his tractor and began to drive off without answering me.  He turned and smiled and said yes as he left.  It was a short exchange but it was an affirmative.  I was not waiting for more and I drove downstream and fished.

It was the first time on this stretch and I wanted to give it a good look.  I fished every nook and cranny of the skinny water.  I was really taken aback by the beauty of the stretch. The freshly tilled field had a unique smell and the crab apple trees being in bloom and their wonderful smell added to the experience.  The trout were eager and plentiful. I took the above photo near the end of my outing.  I remember catching eleven trout in the area pictured alone.  The sun was setting and illuminated this stretch. I felt like I was in some movie with all of the smells and sun setting and eager trout.  I stood there and took it all in.

The dog started to bark again.  The farmer was putting the tractor in the barn so I took that as my cue to go speak to him and thank him.  The dog came running up to me like a long lost friend and demanded petting again.  The farmer just rolled his eyes.

I told him about my luck on his stretch.  I thanked him for allowing me on his land.  I wondered what had changed from years past and asked him why he said yes this time?  He said one word and walked away.  He said:  "Dog."  I walked back to my vehicle and pondered what he meant by that.

The next spring I was gearing up at the same stretch and about to go on there again and the farmer pulled up alongside of me. He was very particular on who he allowed on his land and didn't recognize my vehicle and wanted to see who I was.  I introduced myself again and he remembered me.  He told me that I had always been polite the years prior even after he told me no and he liked that.  The final positive that changed his mind and allowed me to go on his land was the fact the dog liked me and the dog was a good judge of character.

For more of Len’s work visit; www.facebook.com/len.harris or at Small Stream Trout Monsters Club

Vernon County’s Billings Creek focus of restoration efforts

Vernon County’s Billings Creek focus of restoration efforts

Rustic Ridge Resort, a tucked away gem

Rustic Ridge Resort, a tucked away gem