Usually after a tourney, I like to share what worked (what didn’t). But not this weekend. I lost a member of my kayak family on that water.
I woke up around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Half awake, I opened Facebook to find a post from a fellow CAKFG fishing member Matt Spencer.
“Chad is asking if anyone has seen Rebecca Golden.”
I had only seen her post with Jason Broach from the day before, so I had no idea what was being said.
I continued to read.
“She didn’t return to the ramp.”
I moved to the KBF “members only” page.
They had found her.
I sat there until the sun came up, until my wife woke asking why I was not on the water.
She had only briefly met my friend at Toledo Bend the year before (they had talked a bit at Bentonville) but knew more of her from our conversations about tourneys, fishing, check-ins where I would describe the people I interacted with during the day.
Her look told me she understood what this meant to me.
Now I am home from Toledo Bend where I spent two days with my mind racing, remembering, on the water. Usually my mind gets quiet while fishing, but I couldn’t stop replaying the moment I knew….
…..couldn’t stop replaying the pieces of Rebecca I will forever carry with me….
When I was first introduced to her and Will Son by Kirt Pequinot at the 2017 Hobie Open; I am not a hugger, not at all, but she hugged me before I could avoid the move….we talked and it wasn’t long before I knew that Golden laugh….and with time, I learned to accept that she was going to hug me every time I saw her…and there was nothing I could do!
…I still can’t believe it…
On Wilson Lake in Alabama we found ourselves at the same ramp, as I was leaving I told her that I was catching a lot of smallmouth; told her where and how. She shared what she was doing – that is what we always did when we talked fishing. There was no hiding what was working for her between us; she unselfishly showed me the lure that was catching fish…later in the day, her car was broken into by someone. Instead of screaming and crying, she shook it off.
…rambling memories filled the days as I tried to fish. Everyone said we should fish in her memory because she would not want us to do anything else. I was trying…
I saw her fly down the hill past Momma Mia’s in Dover. Then a few minutes later she came flying back up the hill. In tow, a local police car lights flashing. She pulled up next to us before she even realized that instead of getting to check in, she should have stopped for the cop. “Didn’t you see me behind you!” he said. “no” They talked for a bit. I thought she was going to jail, she laughed saying she didn’t even get a ticket.
…day two of Toledo Bend I wanted to just go home. I launched the kayak in a spot where I had run into her fishing the year before…
…I made casts but wasn’t really in it at all…
Kris Hummel called after Pickwick. He and Rebecca had fished together that day. My day had sucked. In the background Rebecca was telling me that I was “a good angler”. “It was just a bad day”. Like the hugs, like the laughter; you could not be down on yourself without her trying to lift you up. These things were inevitable in a Golden friendship. Her personality and caring was infectious.
…Siddiqi tossed at a dock half-heartedly as I pedaled past him. I recognized the look on his face as my own; disbelief. She was one of us.…
We all huddled together at the check in. I was able to make a few new friends – the beauty of this community. Just plain good folk; my extended family.
…But I did not hear that Golden laughter in the background…
…I did not get that hug…
…I didn’t get that genuine look, where she truly cared that others had not had the best day…
There was a short memorial after the results of the tourney were announced.
I listened as Matt Ball spoke genuinely of his friend, our sister.
Chad shared some of his Golden memories.
Her niece stood before us and talked about her Rebecca Golden. How kayak bass fishing had given Rebecca such happiness….a new purpose.
…I shook my head in agreement. Rebecca loved fishing – even on the worst days…
….and I looked around the crowd and watched others…and knew that her finding kayak fishing had brought us that level of happiness too….
We have been blessed to know her.
I will miss you my friend.