Bahamian chicken, landscape design element, ceviche, erosion control, take out the critter before you put one in your duffel, key west football team, gastropod mollusk, fried rubber bands, campy tourist train, erotic to some, yankees pronounce it con-chuh, souvenir, ralph wanted it, chowder, eat the worm and make your pecker stiff, authority, blow it like a horn to start your luau, simon has it, tie it to a stick and hit somebody, symbol of an island republic, protected in los roques, hear the ocean, country station on big pine key, slow like a glacier, paint one on a coconut, got piggy killed…fritters!
Archive for the 'A Tribute' Category
“On the lower end, two fair-sized streams drained the interior. One rose from a series of springs that poured forth from hillocks around today’s 20th Street and Fifth Avenue. The Saponickan band living there called it Ishpetenga. It flowed southwest into the Hudson near the mouth of another trout stream. This one had its origins in a deep, fair-sized pond where Worth and Centre streets now cross. It flowed northwesterly, almost in a straight line, and became the course for today’s Canal Street. The pond was known as The Collect. The Dutch name for this trout pond was derived from one of its beaches, which they which they called Kalk Hoek – Chalk Point or Chalk Hook. It was given the name because the early Dutch settlers came here to collect the shells of freshwater mussels, which were ground and added to the mortar used to build their homes. When the English took over management of Manhattan in 1664 they assumed many of the Dutch words already in use for geographic features. Their inelegant pronunciation of Dutch turned the monosyllabic word “Kalk” (or “Chalk”) into the dissylable “Kal-leck”- hence, “Collect.” The pond’s name had nothing to do with collecting water in the area, as some writers have suggested, although it did have two small feeder streams. For decades, in the 1600s and 1700s, it was the source of drinking water for all of lower Manhattan’s residents. The Collect and its associated streams contained brook trout as late as 1740.”
- from Brook Trout by Nick Karas
Reason #11,334,789,617 why DOGS are the awesome
The dog of slain Petty Officer Jon Tumilson refused to leave his side during the Navy SEAL’s funeral earlier this week in Rockford, Iowa. The heartbreaking photo taken by his cousin, Lisa Pembleton, shows Tumilson’s dog Hawkeye lying by the casket.
Navy SEAL U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jon T. Tumilson was among the 30 American troops killed August 6 when Taliban insurgents downed their Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. At his funeral in Iowa, his dog Hawkeye paid his last respects, walking up to the casket, lying down in front of it, and heaving a sigh.
Coolness courtesy of the Library of Congress collection, the Works Projects Administration, and Lithgow Osborne, Commissioner of the New York State Conservation Department, 1933-1938.
“Remember the whip finish you guys made me when I was like eight? A domestic associate tried unlocking the bathroom door with it yesterday and it has finally died. A tragedy of sorts…”
- An email to me from T-mos. 5/25/11 -
This is a picture of a whip finisher built by hand. Of coat hanger, bead heads, solder, emery cloth. Of pen sleeves when they were still made of brass. It was on the desk the day it met its end. Not in a drawer or under a pile of dubbing. The matarelli played second fiddle to this unit for a long, long time.
A testament to a guy who can still catch fish with pillow feathers.
A portrait of my Grandfather Merrill and Great Uncle Carol made from their induction photos. Carol was a forward observer in the 1st ID and lost both of his legs in Normandy. Merrill served as a Navy Signalman assigned to escort duty for convoys departing New Orleans, bound for the Pacific.
I find myself asking this question when faced with any major life junction. Considering that I’ve put off most “serious” life decisions for the past decade in the interest of wearing wet waders and not worrying abut the condition of my beard, they’re starting to stack up.
I’ve been fired from exactly one job in my life. I was once the lowest tier manager at a reasonably successful restaurant, they fired me on my 25th birthday because I missed too many meetings. I missed the final meeting due to a 48 hour stint on the Snake that was only supposed to last 24. While the meeting came to order in a musty basement office, I shivered slightly beside the resting embers of an early morning firepit, trying to rekindle the flame of the previous night. When I finally returned to work my next shift (in my defense, I only missed meetings, I never missed work) I was told that I was no longer needed. Instead of looking for more work, I spent the next week camped beside the Missouri with my dog and a marginally employed buddy. Happy Birthday motherfuckers.
Now into the fourth decade of this whole breathing business, I’ve come to realize that the channel I’ve chosen to take has it’s drawbacks, despite what current fishing media would have you believe. I’m tired of being broke, single and odoriferous. I’ve started to take steps, work on finding some balance. I put graduate school applications out into the ether of academia, but only to schools in VERY close proximity to favorite rivers. The woman I moved in with a few years back, when I was a part-time boyfriend, absent four months of the year, has started making less-than-subtle references to a marriage that I should be smart enough to propose. I sold my truck and bought a Subaru for the savings in gas consumption, but made sure to get one that could still easily tow my boat.
Of my close group of high school friends (maybe a dozen people), four are now attorneys (ONE THIRD! holy shit, do you think there are too many lawyers out there?). Two remain unmarried, and half have spawned multiple times. There are three of us who don’t already own homes. As for my dirtbag fishing buddies? We’re all stagnated in a state of intermittant contentment puncuated by stretches of abstract melancholy. None are married. We’re all broke and without equity (except for the ones with trust funds), and have chosen employment based on flexible schedules and low commitment rather than personal fulfillment. We toil in custom seat-cover factories, restaurants, fly-shops, bronze foundaries, or night-shift sex-shops and never because we give two shits about the job but because the job allows us the flexibility to take off when the call comes in saying “The chrome is in the bucket, I repeat the CHROME IS IN THE BUCKET”.
There has been a lot written lately about the “fishing bum” moniker. There have been movies and stories and articles glorifying the grand lifestyle of the bum. There have been counter-points made to mention that true “bums” push shopping carts full of bartered or cast-off goods that they treasure, and are often homeless and mentally unstable. I would argue that I have spent a good deal of time with fishermen who nearly fit that profile. No one has made any movies about these guys. Guys who honestly live in their cars through rocky mountain winters so that saved rent money can purchase gas, hooks, feathers, tippit, and gas station burritos. Guys who have bartered their way into top quality gear without spending the sort of money one pays for Hodgeman brand neoprene. I can also tell you that it is not nearly as glorious as it has been made out to be. It’s a lonely, uncomfortable and smelly existence. That said, those friends of mine who followed the mainstem flow make sure to tell me how covetous they are of my back-braid shenanigans. How can I tell them I spent the last evening in fuzzy slippers on a soft couch eating homemade soup, holding hands beneath a blanket and watching Olympic ice dancing? Even more difficult: how can I tell them that I ENJOYED it?
I don’t know if it’s possible to walk a line between these two seemingly opposed modes of existence, but I’ve decided to give it my best shot. Doubtlessly, there will be sacrifices on both sides. I won’t be able to drop everything and chase that Skwala hatch on six hours notice. But neither will I have to lay in my tent in the rain (or snow or hail) listening to the vastness of the air around me and spooning with a damp golden retriever wondering how I’m going to make rent when I get back to my crumbling bachelor pad and bare mattress. I can’t help the fact that I view the world from beneath the brim of a battered fishing cap and wouldn’t change that perspective if I could. But I hope that way of looking at things can extend beyond the reaches of rainy-day rivers and skanky Gore-Tex.
Certain seasons blur from one to the next in a lazy smear of shifting hues, tilting shadows and shrinking mercury. Others proclaim ordainment in a burst through the door and slide across the floor that startles sensibilities and pierces the soul. These latter times cannot be forgotten.
Like days through the years, most fish bleed into the next, but we’ll not forget the one we’ll never best; that dreadful, though much enshrined, fish of a lifetime. Nor the dazed and giddy evenings’ tallies in camp, when everyone’s using both hands, attempting recollection for the ledger, to recount their runs and hits and errors. Time when a collective stepping outside of the moment is only natural and forgiven for the sake of realizing this really may be about as good as it ever gets. Remember the fall of 2009, fellas?… Of course we do, we’re in it and we remember it, already.
The equinox passed somewhat short on notice, but the 24th was not to be ignored. Mugs followed me outside in the morning, lowered his head, leaned, wobbled, and collapsed on the porch. In twelve hours, and bereft of any certainty beyond suffering, I faced the decision every dog person dreads.
I watched the white push down the tube. I twirled a finger through the wispy scruff of his ear. I saw the final ebb of his breath, and then stillness.
He was eleven, same as his grandfather and great grandfather, family dogs growing up. I knew this going into it. All my dogs go to eleven.
We live and carry these days and their changes as treasure. They make living sweeter; not for the way we felt within them, but for the wonder they enchant us with now; at what’s yet to be fulfilled, at all else we’ve yet to savor, and at all that’s left to realize in order even to be lost.
So a collective Thank You and a collected farewell, destined but undesigned, in flesh but not in essence, to every thing beyond reprise.
And Mugs, you were the best damn anything I ever knew.