Tag Archives: rainbows

We will go back but not soon enough


After six years, the idea of camping in the North Carolina mountains has at long last taken hold.  There is scenery, there are fish (some big ones) and plenty of hiking.  Why it took more than half a decade to discover western North Carolina can only be attributed to me being a ‘late adopter’.  Very late.  I will lean on my fly-fisherman-to-end-all-fly-fisherman son in law, Tim, to tie me some Caddis and Adams, along with a few streamers (those drove the larger trout nuts).  (We will call it a trade: I sent some French roast coffee ahead of Emma’s birth and later built Emma’s garden while I was up there to celebrate her grand arrival.)

Felicia and our roomy tent. Camping was more fun than I expected. Everything about it was good. Asheville is close enough that if camp food doesn’t suffice, we can always hit Salsa’s – the best Mexican food I have ever had.

We will go back to the North Mill valley, but not soon enough.  This time, the MSR stove and our mildly loaded backpacks will make the trek with us.

Here is last week’s letter in its entirety.

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May 29, 2012

Ellen/Reid: I got a big smile out of that shot of you holding your niece, Reid.  One can only imagine the off-camera coaching you received.  That was so good.  She’s just a little bundle of joy, isn’t she?

Maybe by the time this arrives you will know about your plans for London.  That sounds so adventurous, especially if you have something waiting for you when you return.  That would be great.  I’ve looked into tickets to the U.K., pricey but doable.  I forgot this is an Olympic year and everything will be jacked up price-wise.  But you only go around once, and it would be marvelous to get over there to share your experience at least for a long Thurs.-Sun. weekend.  You’ve been quite the international traveler.  By my count – and I could be wrong – you’ve been to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Russia, Sweden, India.  What am I missing?

We had a great time in the “mountains” just southwest of Asheville.  We got one of the last camp sites in a state park, and oddly it was a secluded spot at the end of a road where we were really next to only one other couple and well away from the holiday zanies.  We only went for Sunday night.  After setting up the tent we went into Asheville and found an old time neighborhood bar for some of the best calamari I’ve ever had then went to the recovery house where Felicia’s son is staying, and that was a good, eye-opening experience.  The house is well away from Asheville and is filled with guys who are battling the same demons.  Addiction is just such an awful, insidious thing.  After their Sunday night meal, everyone, including visitors (which was really just Felicia and me), had to say what they were thankful for and that was interesting.  Everyone started with “I’m (insert name) and I’m an addict or alcoholic.”  On the way back to camp we bought a couple of bundles of oak firewood and had a great time sipping a little wine, watching the fire, telling stories and just laughing.  I went fishing twice, and caught trout both times, including a 2 pound brown trout of about 17-18 inches (Ellen, tell Tim that after the elation died down I downgraded the catch from 3 to 2 lbs.) plus a few plump rainbows, among the biggest I’ve ever caught, with one topping out in the 14” range.  It’s true that the farther up you walk from the trail head, the bigger the fish get.  Of course, I lost numerous flies due to poor casts but it was still great fun.  North Carolina is so beautiful.  If it just wasn’t for the reddest of redneck politics.

Ellen, we have our tickets for Friday, July 13.  We get in about 1:30 p.m. and will rent a car so you don’t have to fuss with traffic or bundling little Emma up for the trip.  We’ll also get a room to save you guys the hassle.  That’s fine with us.  We are excited to see the little one.  She will be more than two months old by that time.  Can’t wait to see you guys again.  We will get out of your hair early Sunday for our 9 a.m. flight.

Will change a couple of rooms around upstairs in the next week or so in order to configure my office a little bit more efficiently.  I want to be in the same room as the router and phone connections and reduce the number of wires snaking to and fro.  So the double bed and the twin beds will be swapped out.  It’s the behemoth desk that is the biggest challenge.  But all-in-all it will be a far better working arrangement.

My workouts for Wyoming have started in semi-earnest.  There’s got a long way to go and if I’d knock off the ice cream things would be that much easier on me.  But its allure is strong and I wilt way too often.  There are worse things.  At least the ice cream is carb-free.

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Good for something…


Mom at dinner. It's so good to see her smile after the rough stretch of months she's endured.

Well, it seems the Internet is good for something besides porn (I’m not a viewer) and putting newspapers and book stores out of business.

The staff at the home where my mother lives sent a batch of photos of mom that made my heart skip a beat for the first time in a long while.  She just looked great – smiling and happy for a change.  She’s got a new buddy – I don’t know her name – but it’s always good to have a pal to pal around with.

——————

November 11, 2010

Mom: You can’t believe how happy I was to get a batch of photographs of you the other day from the staff there at Country House.  You looked so good and so happy.  And who was the baby you were holding?  It was really good to see you smile.  The surroundings there look pretty nice.  The staff sent the pictures over the Internet, and be sure to tell them thanks, and to keep the photos coming.

Played golf yesterday with a couple of my buddies at the bank.  I’ve been trying to stay away from the course but they demanded, as only bankers can.  As usual, I got crushed by those thieves.  But we had a great time.  One of the guys had his 11-year-old son with him, Jack, and for the first time in his life the young lad broke 100.  He had a 98 and that’s pretty good shooting for a little kid.  You’ve never seen a kid smile so much.  He was on cloud nine.  It was a beautiful day in the low 70s and bright sunshine.  If my God-awful long swing isn’t enough, my short game went to hell in a hand basket.  I couldn’t get up and down to save my life.

We’re cooling down here.  It was in the upper 20s a couple of nights ago and that’s pretty much taken care of any tender, growing plants.  I planted some pansies in the window box out front and they still seem to be living.  The lettuce is doing fine, too.  I’ve been wearing a coat and hat to the office for a change.

Tomorrow I may try some fly fishing for the trout up at a spot called South Mountain.  It’s about an hour drive from here although there is no easy way to get to it.  There’s no real easy way to get to anywhere in North Carolina.  Anyway, the fish are reported to be quite large, some up to 20 inches.  All rainbows.  Those are a little bigger than we used to catch up in the Rockies.  I saw the pictures from a friend so I can verify that the fish are big.  I’m angling to just get outside, really.  Felicia and I will take her daughter’s dog, she’s a Labrador mostly, along for the ride.  Maybe that will tire the dog out to take a long walk.

Finished my church newsletter last night.  When it’s printed I’ll send you a copy.  It’s 12 pages and it takes about 25 hours a month to do.  But I enjoy it and the minister seems to like it so I guess that’s what matters.  It’s not the best looking thing you’ve ever seen but the content isn’t bad.

I talked last night to Henry and Mary up in Portland.  He seems to be doing fine although Mary holds the fort down for the most part.  He was full of questions about North Carolina and how I like it down here.  I assured him that it was fine enough although some of the Southern ways take a little getting used to.

Well, gotta run to the office.  You be good, and keep the beautiful pictures coming.

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Finally, 100…


Look no further for the reason behind nearly 10 years of letters...Ellen, her hubby Tim, and Reid.

Today’s post is the 100th since this blog debuted last January 27th.   You’ll be spared any additional over-the-top celebration.   Finally, 100 posts.   One would think I’d run out of things to say.

For those of you who are regular visitors, thank you for sticking with me.  You’ve seen a campaign about weekly letters that began as a way to momentarily occupy Ellen and Reid’s time in college.  But since those carefree days, the tone, voice and demeanor of the letters has changed.  Lighthearted reports on joys and home life have given way to stark realities of adult life; wins and losses, disappointments and heartaches, anxieties and doubts.  As the kids have matured, so too has what they read.

I’d ask you for a few favors.

1) If you are a regular reader of these pages, keep doing so.  Thank you.

2) If you know someone with college age children or children who have flown the parental coop, forward my URL to them.  Perhaps they’ll find an outlet for their need to stay connected.

3) I’d like somehow to reach college advisors who wrestle with how to cope with or break the loneliness so many students feel.  Maybe letters are one way to help.  I’d like to reach professors of writing, too.  But I don’t know how to reach the upper echelons of college administrators.

4) I struggle with overall promotion of this blog, so if you have ideas to spread the word about this blog, I’m all ears.

5) A wholesale revision of my book – the new title is under wraps – is underway.  I’ll keep you posted on progress.

But thanks again for reading my thrice weekly foolishness.  I believe wholeheartedly in the idea of written communication.  Hopefully, if and when this reaches a 200th post, you’ll continue to agree with that assessment, too.

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Here is last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid.

August 23, 2010

Ellen/Reid: As with subtitles that assure viewers in films that show animals in danger (‘no fish were harmed during the creation of this fishing film’) that was precisely the end result during the course of this past weekend’s trip to westernmost North Carolina.  Rather than dine on fresh rainbows or brookies, Felicia and I instead cooked limp pasta and ate at a funky Mexican place.  It is more proof that I simply don’t know how to cast a fly.  I whipped the water to a froth and the only fish that took the bait were apparently slow on the uptake or had some sort of fish-related learning disability.  The big ones were underwater, laughing.

Saw one of the prettiest streams I’ve ever fished, and if I hadn’t been such a ham-handed klutz in terms of presentation of a fly, I might have actually caught something.  The biggest fish was about 7 inches, hardly enough to keep.  But it was an upgrade from the week before.  At least the catch this weekend was measured in inches and not millimeters.

But it was still fun.  That part of Carolina – almost to Georgia and not too far from Tennessee – is a world apart.  Lots of trailers and the people really do live closely with the land.  We saw some traps and such, and people fish for sustenance, at least in my view.  The streams and rivers get worked pretty hard.  Lots of rafting on the Nantahala (sp?) and a nice river.  It rained hard the last night and that roiled the water beyond fishability.

Now it’s back to the job search.  Sent many letters out last week to local real estate and other companies in the hopes of landing content-related freelance work which is in my wheelhouse.  So many web sites are devoid of true consumer-oriented information.  That might be where I could lend a hand.  I do have my first client – an old friend of mine from Meredith days hired me to do content for he and his wife who are good producers for a real estate company out in the Bay Area of San Francisco.  It won’t be much but the activity around it keeps me eager to do that sort of work.  Who knows, perhaps I can parlay that into other work.  We’ll see.  Literally, there hasn’t been a single feeler from the scads of resumes sent out on so-called Internet job posting services.  Honestly, it will be work in the trenches.  We’ll see how it goes.

Bless Jane H__________’s heart, she is persistent in wanting me to join Dave and Bob F. for a guy’s golf weekend in Idaho in about three weeks time.  It’s a celebration of sorts for Dave.  She’s trying to pick up all the tab, but that’s not going to work for me.  I’d feel too guilty about leaving my post just when I ought to be looking for paying work.  It kills me not to see the guys again, especially after four years, but this just doesn’t feel like the time to be running off and having fun.  Bob is really working me, too, but in a good way.  His most recent text reminded me that the job search would still be there when I got back.  I feel a little bit of a shift, but the guilt would just be overriding for me.

Have to get ready this week for a presentation to the Main Street shop owners in _______, South Carolina.  The street is nearly absent of any business, and the owners appear to dicker about how to attract more business.  What they need to do is spiff up the area and begin to do some group promotion.  The tough part is the Main Street is not one you automatically drive on as you cruise through town.  You have to purposefully turn onto it.  It’s a highly spec job but who knows what it might lead to.

Hey, off to the coffee shop to plot my day’s activities.  You guys be good, keep in touch, and let me know how your worlds are rotating.

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