RodMaker subscribers often send me gifts. Sometimes these gifts are simple items such as a tool or gadget that the reader felt I might find useful in my own rod building endeavors. Other times the item may be outside the scope of rod building and the sender has a totally different reason for sending it.
A few years ago I got a phone call from Mrs. Audrey Pomponio. She informed me that her beloved husband, Richard, a custom rod builder, had died suddenly while on a fishing trip. I assumed she was calling to request that I cancel his subscription. But I was wrong.
Audrey informed me that her husband had left behind several pending orders for custom rods.Â I thought that she was going to ask me for the name of a builder who she might forward those orders to. Wrong again.
In order to honor his memory and that of a craft he loved so dearly, she said she planned to learn how to build custom rods and fill those orders herself. She told me she wished to continue receiving the magazine and would talk to me in person at the Expo that year.
She was as good as her word. In fact sheâ€™s attended the Expo every year since and has become quite an accomplished rod builder in her own right.
This past year she brought along a special gift – a hand dyed Ostrich egg upon which she had illustrated a pair of trout on one side and the International Symbol for Custom Rod Building on the other. These illustrations arenâ€™t painted, mind you – theyâ€™re dyed bit by bit with a technique that is more involved than I have room to explain here.
Audreyâ€™s gift is currently on display in the RodMaker offices. Occasionally I look at it and consider her bittersweet entry into the world of custom rod building.