We lost a couple of good friends, who happened to be fishing guides, this winter.   A young man named Patch Godown who was one of my best friends, and a middle aged gem of a man, and a solid friend named Curt McChesney.   Both of these dudes lived their lives the way you are supposed to, positive, happy, kind, caring, funny, and they wouldn’t bullshit you, they said what was on their mind with a smile that made perfect sense.

Until the last couple of years they were both healthy, strong, rigorous outdoorsmen, who rowed their rafts and drift boats with ease down these rivers that we call home.  Weird, non cure-able illness, cancer in Patch’s case, took upon them and in a relatively short time, they where gone.

Patch, in what seems like a different life to me, showed up at a sports bar I used to bartend  and partially manage in Missoula about 19 years ago.  I had recently started guiding fly fisherman, but was a vet bartender.  This kid was hunting for a part time job, so he could afford to fly fish more, so I hired him as a bouncer.  Tough, scrappy, barely 21, good looking kid, with some crazy tattoo’s and a huge heart!  You could easily find Patch on a busy Friday or Saturday night (we had live music/ bands) because he was constantly surrounded by the most attractive girls in Missoula!  I’m not kidding!  He was always fair, honest, worked hard and never lost his smile.
Well, we became good friends fast.  I took  he and his dad fishing a few times.  Patch’s true love appeared to be fishing.   Patch wanted to be a guide a few years later.   I mentored to him some of the knowledge that I was acquiring and fast forward six or so years and with his killer work ethic, he became one of the best guides in Montana, in my opinion.

Any way we all miss Patch and Curt immensely and I know they wouldn’t want us bummed but I would give almost anything to have our friends here still with us and their families.  It will get easier, and we’ll smile when we think of these guys, but right now it pretty much sucks.

I’ve written a few poems and songs while strumming out a few chords the last few years.  I haven’t put any up but thought I’d share this one that I just wrote with you guys.  It’s more of a song but I’ll spare your ears by showing you the lyrics.

Hug and Kiss your Loved ones every chance you get!!!  Later  Brooks

Bitterroot Winter and County Roads
for Patch Godown and Curt McChesney
by Brooks Jessen
County roads lead to no ones ghost
since my friend found the other side.
Now your soul flows through willow bows,
as trout rise under autumn skies.
Winter snow carves the valley stone
with icy gaze from days gone by.
But still we stand looking for your brand,
I fight to keep my head up high.
Montana chill you take most my will
while sunlight breaks the ridge line.
Rivers flow and I know you rose
soon these bones will testify.
Bull elk scream while young men dream,
this time of year the strong survive.
But still you’r here and you’r so sincere
the river breathes as eagles fly.
Headwinds blow across the riffle flow,
since my friend found the other side.
Winters snow carves the valley stone
with icy gaze from days gone by…
with icy gaze from days gone by…