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The cabin where I was to meet my latest client was much more luxurious than I had expected. I stepped out of my four-wheel drive to meet my client and his wife. He was strong and solidly built. He looked like a model for an outdoor catalogue. The fishing vest was stiff with newness and all the rest of the equipment was shiny and untested. His boots were as white as snow. His rod looked equally new and the line was shiny. He had his reel on backward.

Typical beginner, I thought. Rich, and like many rich people in my experience, probably demanding too. I reached out to shake his hand. A firm grip grabbed back. His wife, an attractive woman brimming with confidence, took a photo of us and waved goodbye with an arm heavily weighted with turquoise bracelets.

First, I turned his reel around. He smiled and shrugged. Then, we began his casting lesson on the lawn. To my surprise, he was one of those rare people who connect with a rod almost immediately. 'I could just stand here all day and cast,' he said, smiling.

We did not have to travel far to the water, since a perfectly sweet little creek ran along the last nine kilometers of the rutted dirt road I had traveled that morning.

'Oh, hey! Look at that,' he said when the first fish struck. He was truly awed. The second time a trout struck, his shouts of surprise and joy rang up and down the creek, and we happily reeled in a sparkling 20-centimetre wild rainbow.

'Isn't that beautiful?' he said softly, and every trout after that was beautiful, incredible, amazing, and fantastic. A little brook trout took the fly, and I held it so my client could see the blue rings around the bright-orange spots. 'That's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,' he said with sincerity.

To be with someone who was able to treasure the moment the way he did made me feel like I was exploring fishing for the first time. I showed him how to keep his fly from dragging, how to fish the deeper pools. He was absorbed by the techniques of fishing. And the fish, whether 15 centimeters or 25, were praised like precious stones.

In the late afternoon, about the time the skin begins to feel sore from a fresh sunburn, my client stopped fishing. His shoulders dropped, and he paused to look at the water, the trees and finally, at me.

'I have to tell you something,' he said. 'This has been one of the best days of my life. I wasn't supposed to be here right now. I've been very sick and my doctors didn't think I was going to make it. I wasn't sure I was going to make it either but everything is fine now. My wife gave me this fishing rod because I've always wanted to fish. This trip is kind of a celebration for our family. This really has been one of the best days of my life.'

I could not speak. I looked into his eyes and nodded. He smiled at me and cast again. We left when we heard the triangle ringing for dinner in the distance. His wife, who was waiting at the porch of their cabin, embraced him. His family gathered around us, eager to share their day with him. They can finally enjoy the simple pleasures of being a family on holiday and all the things that I had taken for granted.

As I drove down the dirt road, my four-wheel drive bounced over ruts and rocks as I followed the creek that had given us such a magical time. The next day there would be a new fishing enthusiast to meet. I would not let first impression deceive me into thinking he had nothing to teach me.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1.

a) Where was the writer supposed to meet his client ?

b) What was the first thing the writer taught his client after he set his reel ?

  2.

a) What made the writer feel like 'he was exploring fishing for the first time' ?

b) Give another word or phrase for 'absorbed' as used in paragraph 7.

  3.

a) Why did his client say that he was not supposed to be there ?

b) According to his client, the trip was supposed to be a celebration for his family. What do you think they were celebrating ?

  4.

Where was the writer going the next day ?

  5.

What lesson did the writer learn on that day ?

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Answers
 

1.

a) He was supposed to meet his client in a cabin.

b) He taught him how to cast.

 

2.

a) His client's enthusiastic response made him feel excited again.

b) The word is 'engrossed'.

 

3.

a) He had been very sick.

b) They were celebrating that he was still alive.

 

4.

He was going to meet another client.

 

5.

He learnt not to stereotype people and that he should never judge a book by its cover.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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