Passion. Other than my dad, when it comes to fishing, no one has had a greater influence on me than my Uncle Dean (recent photo above). At a very young age, when spring would roll around, I remember begging my mom and dad to take me over to my grandparents house so I could go fishing from the banks of Twin Lake with Uncle Dean. Oh, we fished a lot of other lakes through the years, but Twin was in his backyard and not many people knew it as well as Uncle Dean. Even in the winter I couldn't wait to go visit because we would always do something fishing related. What sticks out the most is cleaning and putting new line on our Johnson Century reels while watching The World of Virgil Ward (yes, I still know every word to the theme song). There's no doubt that Uncle Dean taught me a lot about the fun of fishing and everything that goes into it.
Generosity. This is another characteristic of my Uncle Dean. There are certain relatives that everyone has that you always want to visit because they slip you a few coins or dollars and tell you to go buy candy or an ice cream cone. Well, I couldn't wait to see Uncle Dean because he would always give me a new fishing lure or two. The great thing about this is he still does this today. Ask me about my collection of Rapala lures.
As an adult, I wish I could spend more time fishing with Uncle Dean (I'm still holding out that he'll join me in Alaska for a trip), but the thing I have and cherish is the time we've spent together. Over 40 years of fishing with him I've never grown tired of the stories or his jokes. Everyone should be as fortunate as I've been to have an uncle like Dean.