How chit-chat with a waitress reunited a fisherman with his long lost pal

It was one of the last few days of summer, and the first signs of fall were showing in the colours of the leaves.

Fisherman Mike Robertson, 39, went for a five-hour float on the Bow River to reel in some big trout.

But on this trip, he brought long-lost friend Bobby Scott, 38, along with him.

The two childhood friends were reunited after no contact for more than 20 years.

“It was perfect,” Robertson said; the peace and quiet of floating down the river early in the morning helping the two of them to joke around and catch up.

Scott said it was a trip that made him feel “young again.”

What led to that day on the water however, began with Robertson stopping for a cheeseburger and fries at an Inglewood pub three years earlier.

Life-changing lunch

It was some time in 2008 when Robertson, on break from his day job as an auto body repair mechanic, decided that he and a co-worker would “go off the beaten path” from normally eating close to the shop they worked at in the Manchester Industrial area.

Instead, they took a 10-minute drive north to Inglewood that day, stopping at the Hose and Hound on Ninth Avenue S.E.

Nicole Strachan was their server. She said that it wasn’t busy that day, leaving her with more time to chat with Robertson as he was settling in.

Robertson then noticed the pendant she was wearing — a threefold, the Celtic symbol for unity. He asked her if she was Scottish. She replied, “‘Yes I am, so is my boyfriend,’” then added that her boyfriend’s last name was also Scott.

Then came more questions from Robertson about her boyfriend’s first name and his family.

The two were “taken aback when we realized who Bobby was, and him and I had never met each other,” Strachan said. “What a small world.”

Growing up

The two friends grew up in the neighbourhood of Dover, four or five houses apart from each other, Scott said.

“Our relationship kind of started off a little bit rocky,” Robertson said. “He was the new kid in town, so I (had to) rough him up a little bit, and welcome him to the neighbourhood.”

Scott recalled the friendship “probably” started that way, chuckling.

Old friends Bobby Scott, left, and Mike Robertson were reunited after more than 20 years in mid-September. Robertson, fishing guide, took him on a float down the Bow River. Another one of Scott’s friends (not pictured) who came along caught the largest fish that day.

Photo courtesy of: Mike RobertsonThe two friends’ main pastimes were golfing and fishing. But at around 15 or 16 years old, Scott’s parents separated and he moved to Didsbury, Alta. Scott eventually moved to Russia in 1993 and came back to Calgary in 2001.

“The friendship never ended,” he said. “But it was an abrupt intermission. He was always on the back of my mind.”

Sometime after Robertson first touched base in 2008, Scott said they had learned that, even after 20 years without contact, they lived fairly close to each other in northeast Calgary — Robertson lived in Whitehorn while Scott lived in Pineridge.

“Really, really weird circumstances behind that,” Robertson said.

Like old times

Days after the recent fishing trip, Robertson, Scott and Scott’s father went golfing.

“When you could come back and connect with that person after that amount of time and still be able to do the things you love to do, like golf and fish, it’s just something … that makes you feel good,” Robertson said.

He acknowledged it took a few years after his encounter with Strachan to make a reunion with Scott happen.

And not all rekindled friendships work out but he ended off on a hopeful note.

“Both of us have actually made a conscious effort once we reconnected to stay connected,” he said. “That’s the cool part of that whole story for me.”

sflug@cjournal.ca