Tag Archives: fly fishing

If only … if only … if only … and the prescience of paragraph 4


For those of you enlisted to a frenetic ‘search committee,’ if only this letter had arrived a day earlier rather than be read at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. If only.

It’s all about six benign sentences in paragraph four.

Think of the angst and anxiety and hand-wringing a simple call or text might have saved everyone. But my armchair after-the-fact analysis/critique will be saved for this week’s letter to Ellen and Reid you’ll read next week. Really, it will be an open letter of appreciation to the rest of you.


May 15, 2017

Ellen/Reid: It’s kind of weird to walk into the garage and not see the Harley. I’ve taken a second look several times, and when I pull the car in the garage, the subconscious takes over the steering wheel to pull the Camry a tad to the left so as to give clearance for the bike. It’s only when the car goes into ‘park’ that the realization is made that there’s no longer any reason to give the Road King leeway since there is no Road King. But I don’t miss it at all. There are no second doubts, no ‘yeah buts …’ – none of that. It’s gone, someone else is the proud new owner and that’s perfectly okay. It really is.

Miss Emma is atop the car and that was the real acid test for the surgery. It was awkward to lift it into position but I really didn’t feel anything other that some anxiety. I thought there was a faux-pinch in there but it hasn’t hurt since then. It’s been a four and a half weeks and the literature and the surgeon said return to full activity after four weeks. But I reserve the right to ask some of the Charleston Outdoor Adventures staff for a bit of muscle power tomorrow when the time comes to hoist her back atop the car. There shouldn’t be much of an issue on paddling since my legs are bent and my feet get some leverage against what amount to foot pegs inside the boat. I’m excited about again going down – and back – again although the weather is warming up in a hurry and that doesn’t spell much in the way of good fishing. I’ll view it as a shake down cruise of sorts. There won’t be any oysters this time around; that season is over and I’ll miss the back-and-forth banter with the black oystermen. I don’t know what they do for off-season jobs. Maybe work the shrimpers?

Ellen, you looked great in your cap and gown. It’s okay you didn’t go to the actual ceremony. In a way that’s sad, however, since going through the ritual seems to be falling by the wayside. I would have gone to yours too, Reid, if you’d wanted to go through it. It’s a nice recognition for all the work that you guys have put it. I do still grin at the thought that your ‘ceremony’ was last weekend and not this one.

I’m going to go hiking and camping with some new friends Wednesday through mid-day on Friday. I’m kind of excited about it. The Osprey is all packed and ready to go.

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The dehydrated meals for the Wilson Creek trek served as a metaphor for added food-for-thought: as in telling someone – anyone – when I head out of town on an extended excursion.

We’ll head to Wilson Creek and my fly rod is making the trip with me. Don’t know what’s catchable but one of the guys is supposed to be real knowledgeable about the fishing thereabouts. And Reid, there won’t be any infernal bear barrels.

Got invited to Adrienne Furstenau’s wedding the weekend of July 8 in Minneapolis. It’s an honor to be asked. It has me rethinking the plane flight. Scarcely nine days later I’ll pull back through the Midwest to pick up Tom and head west to the Bridger. What if … I drove up for the wedding, spent a few days in MSP, drove down to DSM for a couple of days, then headed east to Chi-Town for a few days before journeying West? I guess that would remove me from Charlotte for virtually the entire month of July and a few days into August. Ellen, are you guys going up to the lake that weekend of July 8 since the 4th falls during the week? That may figure into my plans so let me know ASAP.

The Spain trek is coming together. Ordered the guide book today and a new Osprey Kestrel pack. It’s about one-third smaller than what I tote into the Bridger so it should be a good option to carry just about everything I’d need without being too big and bulky. I’ve yet to pour over Tom’s gear list for the Camino but will do that in earnest when the guide book comes in. Now, I’ve got to get some sort of camera. Reid, any ideas? Nikon? Canon? Other?

Love, Dad

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A standoff with Emma…


If you ever go to Minnesota, time your visit to coincide with the state fair. An extravaganza of people watching, food (and then some) – it was a wonderland for little Emma, although she has her ‘moments’, too.

————————

September 2, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Wow, what a weekend. I don’t know how you could squeeze much more into not very many hours – state fair (impressive), a nice meal with Kristin and Jeff, stand up paddle boarding, etc.

Tim and Ellen traipse through the Minnesota State Fair. Time for themselves, even among the crowds.

Tim and Ellen traipse through the Minnesota State Fair. Time for themselves, even among the crowds.

I have instituted a new rule of thumb on post-trip recovery as of this moment: I get four hours of down time for every one hour spent doing things with you. So that means I’ve got 100+ hours of R&R ahead of me. That’ll work.

It is amazing to see Emma’s progress language-wise, behavior and just growing into her little person-hood. She’s just blossoming. And, she’s just a little pistol. Ellen, I hope you and Tim didn’t mind me standing firm during our Mexican standoff about her over throwing her shoes and sun hat out of the wagon in her fit of pique. Man, she’s got some resolve. In a lot of ways, that sort of independence is a good thing. I’m no discipline guru (case in point: look at the two of you) but she just needs to know where the boundaries are.

Emma rides the plastic ponies with the steadying hand of her dad.

Emma rides the plastic ponies with the steadying hand of her dad.

But she is just such a good little girl in all respects. She’s smart, perceptive and responsive. You guys have done a good job with her. It’s nice that she doesn’t get a lot of TV. It lets her little mind concentrate on other things.

Reid, thanks for letting Tim and I crash the party Sunday night. Donna and Tom do things right from start to finish. A couple of the people pulled me aside to say how impressed they were with you. That’s good for a dad to hear, and I’ve already told your mom about it. She’s glad to hear it, too.

I’ll tell you, if there’s a better fly caster than Tim, I’d like to see him or her. It’s just hard to imagine when you see how effortless he makes it.

I've seen lots of folks throw flies in my time - but there's no one better than Tim. The guy can bring it - and bring it softly.

I’ve seen lots of folks throw flies in my time – but there’s no one better than Tim. The guy can bring it – and bring it softly.

I mean, every single cast is just artful and perfect. I’d be out there slashing the water to a froth and he just lolls his way through it. I think he felt bad about not having a second rod but I was perfectly content watching his artistry. He put the fly right where the fish were and they responded as you would expect them to. If only I could transfer his skills to the salt water. I’m gonna head back to the ocean, at Charleston mostly probably, on Saturday, Sept. 13 to try my luck. Sounds like a good move, as suggested by Tim, to get a guide.

The fruit of Tim's labors: a nice 10 inch brown trout.

The fruit of Tim’s labors: a nice 10 inch brown trout.

This time I won’t go down and back on the same day but probably spend Friday night at some roadside inn so I can get up uber early, or however early it is the guide will tolerate. I could also go with him on a Saturday, then try it by my lonesome on Sunday.

It’s broiling down here today. Mid 90s. It is oppressive no matter how you slice it. It was that way the few days I was up in Minnesota so the plants are looking sickly and stressed. Some neighbors kept water on the vegetation on the front porch so things came through the heat in pretty good order. The paper ran a story while I was gone about planting a fall crop of lettuce and the like but I’m gonna wait a couple of weeks or so until the daytime heat really dies down. Man, those raspberries in your back garden are sure good. No wonder almost none of them ever make it into the kitchen. If I were Emma, I’d stand outside and eat them, too. She just loves those.

Among the unwelcome pieces of mail over the weekend were my property taxes. Ouch. All I can say is, living in SouthPark better damn well be worth it because it’s a helluva lot cheaper to live in South Carolina although it’s probably an idle threat on my part to move down there. Reid, I went online today to see the prices for renting my unit out to strangers and you’re guess of $150-$175 a night was pretty spot on. To judge from some of the fancy photos, I’ve really got to take care to get the right shots. I still think it’s about location-location-location and this spot would seem to be a fairly attractive one. But we shall see. I haven’t been snooping around about rentals up in your neck of the woods but will also get around to that this week. I appreciated your guy’s insights into this. Now I’ve got something to think about other than feeling guilty about playing hardball with Emma for not putting her shoes back on. She’ll get over it sooner than me.

Love, Dad

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Get off your duff and lace up your hiking shoes – Wyoming!


Mountains in the Wind River Range, Wyoming Gre...

Yeah, baby! This is what I’m talkin’ about: the unrivaled mountains in the Wind River Range, Wyoming Green Lakes region of the Bridger Wilderness, Briger-Teton National Forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attention all outdoorsy types or outdoorsy wannabes: Hey, if you’re looking for a strenuous, test-yourself sort of outdoor semi-survivalist trek this summer, book the week of July 15 in the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming.

Six nights of sleeping on the hard ground (but inside a tent away from the mosquitoes), nearly 37 miles of potential blister-inducing huffing-and-puffing trails – all offset by incredible views of the Cirque of the Towers and fly fishing for fresh brookies. They say this is God’s country, and The Almighty hasn’t denied it.

We assemble in Jackson, WY Friday, July 12 (or Saturday, if you prefer just-on-time arrival) and head into the country around noon on Sunday, July 14.

Me doing my pack mule imitation in the Bridger Wilderness a few years back. Tom has helped me lighten the load considerably.

Me doing my pack mule imitation in the Bridger Wilderness a few years back. Tom has helped me lighten the load considerably.

Physically, we’ll be in the Southern Half of the Bridger Wilderness near Big Sandy, which is southeast of our favorite town, Pinedale. We’ve been doing this foolishness for years. (You might wonder, and rightly so, ‘what the hell does this have to do with his weekly letters to Ellen and Reid?’ Well, a guy has to have something to write about.)

Seven or so objects of our affection. We are mostly catch-and-release hikers, but keep some brookies for supper.

Seven or so objects of our affection. We are mostly catch-and-release hikers, but keep some brookies for supper.

We stumble back out on Friday, July 19 and lick our wounds over cold beers and burgers (bison, we hope) at the renown Wind River Brewing Company on West Pine Street in Pinedale before further licking our wounds (after soothing showers, of course) once we get back to Jackson. We wistfully fly out on Saturday. (When you make your flight arrangements, pick a window seat on the right side of the plane. On the approach into Jackson, you’ll see why giving up an aisle seat was worthwhile.)

Me and my boy Tom (The Beast Walker) Bohr

Tom (Beast Walker) Bohr has walked the Appalachian Trail, across Spain and the guy is a pro.

Tom (The Beast Walker) Bohr has solo hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail in a single pass, trekked across Spain and the guy is a pro. Ain’t no mountain he can’t climb.

will handle ground arrangements (it means we rent an SUV) and hotel stuff in Jackson and Pinedale. We need to know your Continue reading

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“…filled the position with another applicant”…


Today's letter to mom. Uncomplicated and pretty much a way to help her pass the time - and remind her she's not forgotten.

Landing work is, I think, all about connections.  Try as I might to weave around the HR screens, a few resumes have been sent absent any interaction between me and the recipient.  I’ve expected to hear “no”.  So it is no shocker that the first better luck next time letter has arrived in the mail.  There’s something about reading a sentence that ends “…filled the position with another applicant. ”  It rattles your cage.  For a nanosecond it bothered me.  A tough letter to read but a tough one to write, too.  As they say, you pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Bottom line, it means  you haven’t cut it, that there was some worrisome shortcoming, a gap in your resume or another factor that overrode supposed strong suits to leave a decision maker unmoved.

Deflating to be sure.  My issue is how to frame it next Monday to Ellen and Reid in such a way that shows forward movement.  We’ve shared a lot of humps and bumps over the years and now is no time to start ducking bad news.   Perhaps this is a moment to drive home that whatever comes our way we can cope with it with acceptance, dignity and grace, positive resignation or other similar traits.  They hope the adage ‘when one door closes, another opens’ is all too true.

Hey, with any luck it will be a set of double doors.

—————-

Of course, mom will never hear of such woes.  Instead, she’ll read about the cheery side of life.  Here is today’s letter to her.

August 20, 2010

Mom: Went up last week into what passes for the ‘mountains’ down here and tried my hand at a little fly fishing, and the sum total of the fish caught wouldn’t have made a single mouthful.  I either don’t know how to fish (which could be true) or there weren’t any keeper size fish.  I mean, what I caught wasn’t even tiny.  Tiny is bigger than what I landed.  How they ever got their teeny mouths around the fly is beyond me.  We ran into one old boy, Charlie, who claimed to have caught more than 30 fish that day.  Maybe I just can’t fish.

But we still had fun.  I am reminded that we are in the populous East Coast when you see all the people on the trails.  Hardly what we were used to in the hinterlands of Wyoming and Colorado.  But people seemed to be enjoying themselves which is the point I guess.  We got caught in the rain on the way back down but it was warm so it was still quite comfortable (if you like dripping wet clothes).

We will head back to the hills tomorrow and this time will go further west into North Carolina and almost to the Tennessee border.  The report is that there are real fish in the stream but until some are actually caught that report remains just hearsay.  We will be along a body of water called the Valley River.

The update on the tomatoes is that there are no tomatoes.  Lots of green leaves but no fruit on the vine.  The only thing that’s doing well is the basil plant, and I don’t eat that much basil.

Ellen is hard at work at her new teaching job.  They’ve hit it pretty hard this week in teacher orientations, and it seems to me her second grade classes start right about the first week in September.  She is pretty upbeat about the whole thing, which is good.  She’s trying awfully hard at it.  She has a big dog now.  His name is Henry and he is nothing short of a horse.  In a pinch he could pull a wagon filled with hay.

Of course, there is no word from Reid.  But does that surprise you?  Not me.

Haven’t been playing any golf.  Just sort of golfed out.  The clubs are on a hook in the garage and there they will stay for at least the near term future.

It’s been too hot to cook these days so the oven and stovetop haven’t seen a lot of use.  The BLTs are good this time of year, and I’ve sliced some cucumbers and soaked them in apple cider vinegar just like you used to do.  Now that’s eating.  Wish there were some tomatoes to go with it but there aren’t.  That won’t stop me from trying to grow some next year.  It can’t be worse than this time around, can it?

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