When his wife opens the door it’s this heavenly spiced aroma, apples maybe, cinnamon mixed perhaps and the rush of warm air hitting my face always feels like a hug.
Then Sue actually hugs me and she smells like baking heaven. He comes in the kitchen as I let her go and shed the four million pounds of clothes I have to stay warm.
They are my happily married pals. The golden retriever friends in my life. They never flunked basic sandbox, they play well with others, and even tolerate me.
Tonight is about me not cooking. Tonight is about a fireplace burning cedar wood that makes a bowl of soup with dumplings one of the best nights in a winter.
She is amazing in the kitchen and what she does with just touching black and white keys can make me sit still for as long as she plays. On top of that oversized music box sits an apple is carved from wood, even has a leaf attached via a stem and you pick it up thinking, it’s so real you could take a bite.
An apple is painted in a bowl of several, hanging on the wall, and how is it that a mere human can command a brush and paints to so totally deceive the eye? This brother’s got talent. So does his wife.
In a major dumbing down I call it art. I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO CALL IT. Three little letters for what some can take nothing, and create, I know it’s much more than that, but I don’t do art, I have no artistic flare, bent or talent. So in my own way I leave it at that, that’s art.
The art is made by Steve.
Now he has a pile of wood rough shaped in the form of duck decoys and asked if I want to crude form a couple for him. Help him. Make things go faster. I ask to be polite, are you sure you want my help. He just says grab one so I did.
In my vain attempt I’m pretty sure I made some real nice kindling at the expense of what he hoped would ultimately be a bluebill block. I’ve held lots of real blue bills, seen loads of decoys, but my mind can’t get the bark off the wood to release the hidden bird no matter how hard I try. Before I make a bigger wood chip mess, I quit.
He says not to worry he’ll just make a buffle head decoy out of what’s left.
The trout whisperer
Sir Humphrey Gilbert was the half-brother of one rather infamous person. Sir Humphrey, of the two siblings, was much better educated, far better read. Had a clear concise understanding of life and what it could do for one with eyes wide open.
His, as it turned out, very famous brother, was not the sharpest tool in the shed. And life records one brothers caution, was not the embodiment of the other.
During a horrific storm a much large vessel sails up to recuse Sir Humphrey and Sir Humphrey declines, says he will stay with his crew and his vessel and Sir Humphreys final quote was that “one was as close to God at sea, as on land. “ During the night, Sir Humphrey’s boat, with all hands, perished in the storm.
You have to ask yourself why, when help is offered, why does one so educated, so supposedly intelligent, refuse aid and not just for himself, but others in his charge.
So were digging in slush and ice, the water is ridiculously cold and the truck is ice welding itself in freezing as fast as we work to dislodge it. This is beyond stupid.
Four trucks park at the public access and one guy who never struck me as anything less then brilliant says today he’s driving out on the ice.
We all say don’t, it aint safe, but he today has decided against us, and against common sense, and against his really nice pickup.
After hours of exhausting effort we get his truck out of the lake. The simple day of fishing wasted, and for what.
the Trout Whisperer
I gotta tell you about my daughter. I have three heroes in life and she’s one of mine. Were fishing for trout up on Hogback Lake. I'm hip dip in my chest waders fly fishing and my twelve year old angel is worm dunking. She yells for me so I waddle to shore and walk up the fishing platform. In her grasp is a twelve inch rainbow.
I say, “hey congrats” and she says “what do you think dad”? Not sure what’s she’s after I say that’s a nice fish. Then she looks at me in such a way I’m left confused. So I ask what’s up. With the finest grin she tells me this is the first fish she ever caught without me helping at all. She picked the rod; baited and made her own cast, set the hook, played the fish and reeled it in all by herself.
We walk back to the parking lot and I talked some guy into taking our picture. Then I hugged the stuffing out of her. She was so aware and I was daddy dumbstruck.
At five years of age she is standing in my garage holding a front paw on a black bear that I’m rough skinning. In her other hand she’s holding a trouble light so I can see. My pink faced little girl is asking about claws and bears fur or is it bear hair and she giggles.
It’s about six am daylight in our swamp, and I’m back on the snowshoes checking my weasel traps and my hand held walkie talkie starts to crack.” Dad”? “Yeah honey”? “Im awake now”. “Okay pal I’m on the diamond willow set, I’ll be back in the house in ten minutes”. “Can I have coco puffs today”? You bet punkin I’ll be right there”. “Did ya get any weasels yet”? She knows exactly where the diamond willow set is, she helped me make it. She was six at the time.
If I listed all the life changing events she’s experienced you probably cry so I’m not going to. But she keeps smiling. Fantastic grades in school, finds time to volunteer in different areas of her young life and is going to start college this year when most kids would start 11th grade in high school. She’s doing both. Im not bragging. Im just so proud of her.
She is the young lady of our home. Dishes, laundry or walking the dog all with the same temperament as laughing with a visiting girlfriend. She chats when we cut up deer and bakes an awesome batch of her special recipe cookies with a blue eyed twinkle you thank the good lord above for.
Reads the classics, and is addicted to one TV show about a mom and her daughter that I catch an occasional eye and ear full with her as well. Popcorn is good and my cigars are going to kill me, she has preached that sermon for years. She has her opinions and it’s hard to argue with her because she’s usually right.
Once in a great while she needs her dad, and most of the time I tell her she’s raising a father more than I’m raising a daughter but she needs a supportive hug. So I grab her and wrap her in my arms and I swear she puts more back in my love tank than I can impress in her. I think she is aces. My mother-in-law used to tell me to put her down once in a while when I first got her without the instruction manual from the hospital. No manual could cover such a daily gift I’ve been given. She’s going to be a shrink because of all the chaos I create on a daily basis. She says after me she is really going to be able to help some normal people.
She got her driver’s license last Friday. Passed just fine with some small bumps but passed. Today she called me on her cell phone from the new-fangled gas stations that have pumps but no employees. Dad? Yeah honey? How do I put gas in the car? All our driving lessons and I forgot that.
Please take the time to look up what the word hero means. I'm positive my daughter’s name is in the definition somewhere, and I hope your sons or daughters are too.
The trout whisperer
They come into your life; they show up in mine too. Those folks who decide –your- there friend, well at least as long as it is on their terms, then once you don’t measure up, whether the reason or a season, it’s over. And at the same time, for sure sometimes, it’s almost a relief. Sometimes I to do the ending of the so called friendships, they press to hard, in a direction, I won’t go, so then they go.
I can have a bad moment, an off day, or a rough week and over the course of my life I’ve had what some would call a subpar year, but my lifelong friends, through it all, are still with me today.
My real friends, they don’t make demands of what I’m supposed to be according to thee, or take advantage of what I am or what I am not.
I have friends that feel like an old hiking trail, a favorite fishing spot and I have friends that feel like a big old shade tree. And with the best places, times or people, It works both ways.
The longest relationships I share have the quiet times, offset by rowdy moments. More sunny days, than not. We share the attitude that the lakes we fish are half full, as opposed to half empty. It’s never a bad day outdoors and we spend every day we get as far away as possible from any actual door.
It’s not give and take, it’s never an eye for an eye, it won’t work if it’s a fifty- fifty deal, because with my pals, your all one hundred percent in or you are not, and it’s about sharing, not just the good, but the tough times too.
One of my very best friends, one of my longest lasting friendships involves, simply stated, the outdoors. We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes the outdoors rains on my parade. Over the years the outdoors has broken all my extremities save one right leg. Even after all that, I still like the outdoors with or without the pain.
More to the positive side, the outdoors has given me far too much to ever really repay it or keep things on a level playing field. So I adhere to some of the old adages, leave no trace or minimal impact, as I enter and exit the outdoors. With the human friends that works well, as well.
The trout whisperer