ABOUT SEVEN YEARS AGO, I was fly-fishing one day on a small stream near Troutdale, Va., when I hooked a nice keeper. As I backed the trout onto the bank, hoping not to break my leader, I tripped on something I hadn't seen earlier.
At my feet was a thick, clear plastic bag full of what appeared to be gravel or kitty litter. Odd packaging, though. The bag had no outside markings and was sealed at the top with a copper wire, with a laminated card attached. Flipping the card over to read the type, I saw the name of a Virginia funeral home, a date of cremation and the name of the person whose remains I was staring at.
I found my buddy to share this macabre discovery. How did he get here? we wondered. Ultimately, we decided to show respect to the deceased and release the ashes into the stream. I agreed to cut him loose, but as I got close enough to liberate the remains, I lost my nerve. We decided to let the bag rest in peace.
My buddy and I moved on upstream for more fishing, but that was indeed the strangest catch of the day.
Chuck Ray, Charlottesville