I recently received the news that John Folks passed away. We never did get a chance to meet in person but some of the messages we sent back and forth to each other were very deep and for me very touching. We shared about family, life, and of course angling. We didn’t exchange often but when we did it was truly profound. Last year John gave me permission to publish a letter he sent me, this was his reply when I asked if I could publish it
” I enjoy your reads … yes it is personal, sorta of, but it’s situations like this that when shared, can change others view on life. I don’t mind you sharing. Keep up the good work. ”
So as a dedication to John, I would like to share some of the words he shared with me. When I read this letter the first time, It was very moving. These are words that struck a chord deep in my heart. I hope they will with you to. Thanks John Folks for giving us the perspective we all so dearly need in this fast paced world.
This letter was in response to a video I posted after fishing for sturgeon alone and having an unbelievable day that I wish I could have spent with my dad, and dedicating the video and day to him … this was John’s response to the video.
Quoting John …
” Wow … sometimes you amaze me more and more with your outstanding positive enthusiasm, that begins with your great passion for angling and spills over into a way of looking at life.
This video sure left a lump in my throat and for good reason.
Last July I had my left lung removed due to cancer. I did 4 sessions of chemo following that and went of the ‘standard’ 5 year cancer free plan. In other words, one has to have check-ups every 3 months, for 5 years and be cancer free to be deems ‘beaten their cancer’.
Well, when faced with this unexpected ‘life’ situation, I suddenly looked at things different. Things I always wished I could have done but hadn’t. You know the ‘bucket list’. We create dreams, only to find our lives too busy to find time for them. We sometimes don’t always have that positive attitude to our family, job, fellowman kind and the world we live in. But that all changed for the most part.
There was dealing with one’s own self-pity and the what if’s. I too had a passion like you for angling that has somehow waned over the years. Last steelhead season was a bust for me. I didn’t get out. All the while I read your ‘kid @ Xmas’ enthusiasm post as a beginner. And very nice successful one at that I might add. It was so refreshing and very positive reading. Well all your posts are.
Well, I went back to work Feb. ’11 and got caught in that ‘trap of life’ again and forgot about what I just realized. No steelheading, no stillwater, not even a considered guided trip with Bon Chovy or a road trip for one in Ucluelet /Tofino. Then WHAM! …. It started with blood in my urine, the day before leaving on a flight to New Brunswick for my daughter’s wedding. But I wasn’t missing walking my daughter down the aisle. So off we went on the 6 hr. flight. The blood disappeared after 3 days. On our return home, I soon took ill and had to visit emerg. Then a week later had an ambulance take me in again. I underwent a biopsy and was informed that my cancer was back, on my right kidney. Well if I wasn’t smacked up the side of the head last July, I was now. 15 days later another chemo session, I was released. Now 4 chemo sessions later, we try and stay positive and take it day by day. My fall has been fishless. No bar fishing for coho’s, no Vedder … due to limited mobility I had in my legs and now shortness of breath. But I’ve enjoyed every one of your posts to keep me there.
So I had to tell you Rick, in more than just a quick comment or like … this video post was ‘bang on’. You again pumped me with positive karma and reminded me of that light that was realized last July. You sir are an ambassador, in more ways than angling.
I often quote :” Life is what you make it , always has been, always will be …. If you have a chance to go fishing …. go fishing “
These are some words my dad shared with me before he passed away. You only have one chance to discover the joys that this life and world can bring to you. Take the time, make the time. If you find something you truly love to do … get out and do it. Take the time to enjoy what mother earth has to offer you. It’s a beautiful place. When you need to look at life through a fresh set of eyes … Walk a river with a float rod. John’s heart felt words above further reinforce this for me and they should for you too. Thank you John for putting it in perspective for us. Here’s hoping for tight lines, bent rods, and big fish for John Folks. I will always remember your words. RIP.
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We all fish for different reasons. For me, fishing helped me to not lose who I was deep down inside and helped me survive in a fishy situation.
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If you get a chance to go fishing – go fishing. Better yet, if you get a chance to go fishing – take a kid. You’ll be glad you did.
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This year I found that walleyes were not where they should’ve been due to colder-than-normal weather. Still managed to catch some nice walleye, though!