You may be surprised to discover that my favorite rod is not even a fishing pole. In 2002, my wife and I moved our family to Utah. Leaving our beautiful lakefront property in Florida was not easy. It was made easier, however, by all of the fine people and new friends that we met in Provo. The beautiful Utah scenery was not bad either.
Of all of the new friends that I made, one of my favorites was Rod Allred. Rod was an independent contractor who could do anything. He had a beautiful family. He drove dirt bikes in the mountains, fly fished in the streams and hunted Elk on horseback. He was also one of the most kind and generous people I have ever met, always stopping by our house just to see how he could help.
When I told him about our place on Lake Ola in Florida and the largemouth bass that were there, he got a gleam in his eye. He was one of the few friends who actually put his money where his gleam was and came down to Florida multiple times with me to fish.
He and I were always competing on the golf course and it did not stop when it came to fishing. We kept track of fish using lead weights in the tackle box. The fish had to make it inside the boat. One fish = one weight. We each had an assigned compartment and were meticulous in making sure the scoring was accurate.
Our several day trip would inevitably include some project around my home that needed attention. I would turn my back for a moment only to find him fully engaged in leaving our property in better shape that when he came. He just could not keep himself from making something better if it was in his power to do so.
When he was diagnosed with colon cancer, it came as a shock to everyone. We had moved back to Florida and only saw him every few months or so during our visits out west. He fought long and hard. I was sure he could beat it because he always won.The day he passed, I was at Lake Ola with my college friends for our annual fishing trip. I just could not fathom it and cried uncontrollably. The good Lord got a wonderful man and I still miss him. His family is strong and will survive. For those of us who knew him, our lives are changed forever for the better.
What many people do not know is that he was an important consultant on our new brand of hunting and fishing apparel, Wroxx. When we started developing the brand, I would run ideas by him and get his input. He was a true outdoors man…my unpaid consultant..my friend who was candid and honest. I knew he loved me and I trusted his feedback. He truly knew the right answers. When we made our feature commercial “Come Hunt with Me”, he provided his clothes, gun and fishing gear for the shoot. He is the classic example of passing traditions from one generation to the next…from creating and sustaining a legacy. The last time we were able to play golf, and I want the world to know this, he out drove me. He was weak from the treatments and still out drove me. I think he would smile to hear me say that…the smile that only two brothers can share.
I miss Rod. I am a better man because of Rod. If there is a mountain to climb or a lake to fish in heaven, I know where I will find him. I love the man. He is my most versatile, strong and favorite Rod.