Pen pals

“I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip.”

Robert Traver was the pen name of a Michigander named John Voelker. Voelker was a lawyer, Marquette County D.A., state Supreme Court justice, fisherman and novelist. If he were here he would surely quarrel with the order of descriptors.

Robert Traver wrote “Anatomy of a Murder,” which Otto Preminger turned into a movie starring James Stewart.

Voelker wrote several books about a trout-fishing small-town district attorney, which he was.

I love the way Robert Traver wrote, even if I also love the noise of big cities. I also love the way Judge Voelker wrote letters to me, which he did when we were pen pals in the 1980s.

I do not care to elaborate on the pen pal situation between John Voelker and me just now, except that it was a wildly rich little chapter in my life.