It's hard today to believe, but it literally took centuries for storytellers to build the myths and legends that became many of our childhood heroes. You really can't blame a good storyteller for embellishing a tale or two along the way, keeping their listeners engaged. Did Davy Crockett really kill a bear when he was only 3? I always thought so...and I bet you did, too.
Many plain, ordinary folks became legends, and to this day we still believe most of the stories told as if they were gospel.
Johnny Appleseed, for instance, was actually a guy named John Chapman--who simply worked as a nurseryman in the late 1700's, and then as a missionary who helped white settlers make peace with Native Americans. Try telling that to Disney!
Paul Bunyan and his companion Babe the Blue Ox weren't real at all, but to this day are celebrated not just with stories, but with statues, musical pieces, commercials, books, and in theaters. I even ate a gigantic Paul Bunyan hamburger one time in a restaurant.
Many of today's heroes names seem to be built more around retro-superheroes we all know are not real. Yet, they still have superpowers that vanquish evil villains, letting the storytellers engage their audience just like they did in those nights around the campfire. Now its likely on an iPad, iPhone, or at the theater in the comfort of a padded recliner with a box of popcorn.
Still frame from the Flyman short film "Back Bay"
To someone like me, Lefty Kreh is a real-life legend. For more than 50 years, Lefty has touched lives and converted more people to fly fishing than anyone else ever has or perhaps ever will. He has authored or contributed to more than 20 books, and is still among the wittiest of storytellers, engaging his audience with an endless supply of stories and jokes along the way.
As an instructor, Lefty is legendary in his ability to teach more about fly fishing in a short span than you might learn in 10 years of reading books or watching videos. Saying that he is one of the best-loved instructors or outdoor writers alive is an understatement that you might just want to keep to yourself 'lest you sound foolish.
At 93 years young, Lefty is officially "retired", but still looks forward to time spent teaching and being around people wanting to learn about fly fishing. Check out the movie here, and if you've never fly fished before, consider why it is that people like Lefty and others have devoted their lives to it. Better yet, just try it and see for yourself.
If you want to read up more on Lefty and how he's currently doing, he wrote a personal note to his fans here - https://www.americanangler.com/note-lefty-kreh/
Best of the Best, Kenny