Dow: Finding fish and religion |

Dow: Finding fish and religion

Marie Elizabeth Shade Dow
Valley Voices

If you want to know the difference between Colorado and Missouri trout, the answer is easy: Colorado trout are smarter. We once caught some trout in Piney Lake, but mostly the fish just laugh at us in Colorado.

However, Missouri fish are dumb and hungry; dumb because they are often fresh out of the hatcheries and they haven’t been caught and released several times, so they don’t know the ropes.

A few years back I was fishing at Meramec Spring Park in Missouri, with Sigrid Cronin, née Pauls, who was the first manager of the Lodge at Vail. In my opinion, Dick Hauserman failed to mention Sigrid because she never became a permanent fixture in Vail. She had supervised some 700 employees for food and beverages at the Seattle and New York World’s Fairs in the ’60s and she was the epitome of German efficiency, beautiful and keen for adventure.

Sigrid said that she and a friend drove out to Vail, interviewed for jobs, and Sigrid was hired by Vail Associates. The whole resort revolved around the Lodge, and Sigrid was housed in her own trailer; however, many employees were living four to a room.

She claims she was so short of eligible employees in an attempt to open the ski resort by Thanksgiving the first season that she was forced to hire a few young men of questionable backgrounds. I am sure that if anyone could get men to walk the straight and narrow, it would have been Sigrid. Her soon-to-be-husband, Don, then a doctoral student at Cal Tech in Pasadena made road trips to Vail to secure Sigrid’s heart and to prevent her from running off with a handsome ski bum.

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Now, that was the preamble. Dow stories always have an aside … so back to fishing. Sigrid had become quite skilled at trout fishing. We got up about 4 a.m. to be sure to have a good spot on the stream, but much to our dismay, the fish weren’t biting.

As often is the case, the lady next to me was hauling them in. I got brave and asked for some tips, as Sigrid would never do this, and before long, I had two nice trout and was imagining how good they would taste for dinner using Sigrid’s recipe for “Truite Bleue.” After my success at angling two trout, the tips came to a halt and so did my yield. Poor Sigrid had a big zero, which was unusual for her.

As I was cleaning my fish, Sigrid found the lady who had given me the fishing tips and thanked her for helping me, her friend. This lady, who was from St. Louis, told Sigrid, “I am very close to God, and God told me to help that lady.” When Sigrid relayed the comment to me, I replied, “Did you ask her if she had mentioned to God that the limit is five?”

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