Who is the U..

Little Manistee River, December.jpg

wishUwerehere launched in 2018, the Year of the Bear (I just made that up but it sounds cool as shit)

The U in wishUwerehere is U, however to me it has a much deeper meaning. The U to me first and foremost is my dearly departed friend, mentor, co-worker, boss and fishing partner who I called Dad.

My father(William (Bill) John Schwind 2/28/1940 - 2/19/1982) passed away at the young age of 41 when I was only 18, he passed unexpectedly when he drowned while fishing. An experienced fisherman I struggled for years to understand how this could happen and finally came to the realization it was just his time. I had a bond with my father beyond anything I could explain he was my best friend, father, co-worker, boss, adventure partner and fishing companion. I believe the 18 years we had together far exceeded anything resembling a typical father and son relationship spanning a normal full life time. For this I am grateful and these memories of adventure with my father are what I hold dearest. Years after his passing friends shared stories of how he impacted their lives and the memories they had. My friends were jealous of the relationship I had with my father and only after his passing did I realize how special our relationship and bond were. He was a man of few words but when he spoke people listened. His parenting style was different I believe than most and hence created what I am today. His teachings were a mix of sarcasm, riddles and statements of the obvious however the goal was to get you to think for yourself. I remember one time I lost my temper which happened frequently in my young years and after a fit of rage my dad stating well that was a lot of wasted energy as walking by. Simply stating the obvious can be a real kick in the nuts, no response necessary, no response adequate, move on.

His words and teachings though only 18 years have lasted me a lifetime and have molded me into what I have become today, never accepting the status quo, question everything, "only dead fish go with the flow son".

They always say, “If I have to go, I want to go while I’m doing something I love.” My father was a passionate man and above all he was most passionate about his children, wife, family, work and Steelhead fishing. He passed away while Steelhead fishing the North Fork of the Skykomish River upstream from Index Washington in the month of February, 1982. The area is a beautiful place anytime of the year and I have yet to return sense the year of 1982 but I will this year and my father will accompany me on yet another adventure.

I will be creating two separate memorials in his honor, both appropriately on rivers. The first will be on a high bank overlooking the Little Manistee River in the Northwest of Michigan's lower peninsula. This place is very special to me, it is the river I learned to Steelhead fish on, it is the river where I spent many days and nights with my father. It is my “A River Runs Through It” it is where I feel the closest to my father.

The second will be in the State of Washington on the North Fork of the Skykomish River. It is where my father made his last cast, and in my minds eye was battling the steelhead of a lifetime on that cold February day. I have not been to this exact place of his last cast but I will be soon and can picture it perfectly. I remember the area well although it's been 35 years since I've last seen it. It's a simple drive North from Index Washington to where the road crosses the river, he was fishing I imagine just below the bridge as almost every bridge on every trouty river has a hole just downstream of the bridge.

He always said, “Son, one day we’ll get to Alaska” and next year it will be so, this I do for U, this I do for Us.

He is my U.