June 16, 2010


A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success.
Robert Orben

Last Thursday I took a road trip. Not to go fishing, but to witness my son's graduation ceremony at the University of Washington.
Yeah, sure, I packed all my gear just in case, and in an earlier life could have easily succumbed to the temptation to wet a line in either the Yakima or Cle Elum rivers as I traveled west. Moving water will always be a magnet, but, this time, a few heart felt sighs, as I very 'maturely' and steadfastly continued on my way, had to do. I took it to be a good sign that I wasn't able to see any rings. Moving water is hard to drive right on by, especially when there are rings.
But, on this occasion, my vision was focused on one thing. Get to Seattle (in my aging, tireless Honda) to be there as my son walked the stage to be collared and receive his Doctorate of Philosophy in Pharmaceutics. I don't know if I even stated that correctly. And, I'd have to have the program in front of me right now( which I don't) in order to relate to you his specific dissertation.
I made it. And, I cried. The emotion was/is overpowering. As I watched, I was somehow able, for those few precious moments, to really grasp just what it took for him to get there. Those of us who think we know what work, or what academia, or what perseverance in the face of the rest of a really full life are all about cannot fully imagine, thus appreciate what total immersion, and sheer will, are all about. I try to think that along the way toward his goal, I was connected enough to somehow share in his journey, and thus more fully enjoy his accomplishment. But if I said that, I'd be misrepresenting the truth. The truth is, he did it all by himself. Through the frustration, angst, lack of sleep. Through it all he stood tall, like a man, and dealt with the obstacles as they came, in addition to the absolutely special relationship he has with his wife Jan, who herself deserves credit for her patience and understanding. And, through all those months of pursuit, he still found the time to pursue his passion for triathlon, Namely, Iron Man. How many folks who are devoted, passionate triathletes can say the same?
I am overwhelmed by his life. yes, he is my son and maybe I'm boasting here a bit. But then, how can I not? When I see and hear the respect coming from those who have instructed, and worked with him for the past several years, it brings home the fact that indeed here is a man who is destined for greater things. And I have an idea that all mankind will eventually benefit from his efforts.
Returning home, I unpacked my fishing gear and sat down at the vise. I began tying some soft hackles and some Adams Classics. A whole box full of both.
They will be a gift. They will also be an invitation. After all, even though he is now a Doctor, he's still, and always will be, the best damned fishing buddy I could ever have.


  1. Steve, A very proud moment. Congratulations on raising a hard working son. I hope the two of you enjoy those Adams,

    -scott c

  2. I cried too. As much as I feel like I've been there through this and suffered too, it is nothing compared to what he's done, the accomplishment he will finish with. So very few make it. It truly is overwhelming to try to comprehend.