A Terrible Poem About My Last Fishing Trip

Awake

More night than morning

All was ready the day before

Long hours on dark abandoned roads

Body on automatic as thoughts flow like the river they are about

Arrive before the glow of the morning sun

Black rocky trails and the roar of unseen water my only companion

Dim light finally filters through the trees

The gorge illuminated

A chill is felt through the waders as I slowly slide in

Buttery golden browns and silvery pink rainbows occupy the mind as I make the first cast of the day

Beautiful drift in complicated currents through likely lie but no takers

Next cast the fly carefully crafted the day before alights on a downed limb

A sharp flick of the wrist and a roll of the line should set it free

SNAP

The rod tip breaks

My favorite rod

My

Favorite

Rod

On my second cast

On

My

Second

Cast

My head hangs low

I stomp back down the rocky path

At the car I realize my backup was left

Long drive home with the sun in my eyes to screaming children and a grumpy wife

Entire bottle of cheap red wine to dull it all

Don’t think it worked

Second cast

Second

Mother

Fucking

Cast

Maybe I should take up golf

Maybe

I

Should

Take up

Golf

No

Golf’s dumb

 

 

A Much Needed Break

Some people find the idea of being alone for a long period of time with nothing but their own thoughts to keep them company a terrifying prospect.

I am not one of those people.

In fact I’m a real honest-to-goodness introvert. That’s not to say that I’m particularly shy or timid like many people think of when they think “introvert”, I just need time alone to recharge, collect my thoughts and generally remember how to feel human again.

Due to my home obviously being the stable where Pestilence has decided to board his horse until the apocalypse, I haven’t had any alone time in about six weeks. This hasn’t been great for my mental health. (Actually, as an introvert, being a stay-at-home father of three young children hasn’t been great for my mental health, but that’s a different subject for a different time.)

But tomorrow, oh sweet tomorrow, my family and I are waking before dawn and heading to Disney World for spring break where I will get all the peace and quiet I can handle…

Nah, I’m just kidding.

Well, not about the going to Disney.

We’re actually driving there tomorrow.

But I’m dropping the wife and kids off there with my sister-in-law, and my kayak, fly rods and I are driving down to the Keys where I, and only I, will have five full days of fishing on sunny tropical flats and every single one of those days will end with me sitting at a bar, alone, sipping on beer and eating fried conch fritters while I try my absolute best remain aloof.

It’s going to be freaking AWESOME!

The Diet

I made a huge mistake over the Thanksgiving holiday: I stepped on a scale.

Now, as everyone should know, this is the wrong time of year to weigh yourself, but the scale was there in the bathroom and I decided to give it a spin. And it kept spinning, and spinning, and settled on the highest number I’ve ever seen on a scale that I’ve been standing on. I should have known it wouldn’t be good because I had to lean forward to peer over my gut to see the number. I mean, I’m a stocky guy so I’m used to higher than average numbers on a scale but this, this took my “just a big dude” status and took it into the realm of washing myself with a rag on a stick.

Under normal circumstances I would have accepted that it’s holiday weight and I should just wait until after Christmas and its cookies, candies, cakes and all the rest of the tasty hard to resist food that comes with it, but I have a fishing trip planed for the Keys in April and all the fishing will be done out of my kayak; which I now weigh more than its maximum weight capacity.

Seriously. I’m now too fat for my boat…

So I’m now on a diet.

Veggies.

Meat.

Very few to no carbs.

No rice, gravy or fried foods.

No sweets.

No caffeine.

No beer.

No fun…

This better be the best fishing trip of my life.

The Dream

There’s a camp fire, always a campfire, and the smell of smoke has already permeated everything. A venison/wild pork ham that’s been wrapped with multiple layers of aluminum foil and placed on the side of fire in a bed of coals has been cooking for hours. I’m sitting in a comfortable camp chair sipping on a mid-priced bourbon that’s been cut with a little stream water while I listen to the two oldest boys talk about the fish they’ll catch tomorrow, what flies they think they’ll need, who’s the better caster and so on. The youngest of the three keeps asking about when we can roast marshmallows. I ask him how can he have any marshmallows without eating his meat. He stares at me blankly being too young to catch the Pink Floyd reference. I tussle his hair, tell him the food will be done soon and after that we can roast marshmallows. I send him off to attack his brothers…

Yep, that or some variation of it, is the dream.

Then I met my children. Like their mother they hate the outdoors. It’s where nature is, video games aren’t and all that is icky resides.

Please God let them grow out of it.

Lying to Children

This morning, before school started, a first occurred; my oldest, at the ripe old age of seven, lost his first tooth. Now, he knows all about the Tooth Fairy but due to the all-encompassing excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime event he insisted that we tell him the ins and outs of Tooth Fairy mythology all over again.

So while I listened to him retell me the process of trading teeth for money with the “fae wee folk”, as if I wasn’t one of the people who just told him how it happened ten minutes ago, I realized how often I have to lie to my children.

It’s not just about the little stuff like the Tooth Fairy/Easter bunny/Santa but some pretty serious things that make me feel a little guilty. Like when he of the missing tooth asked where the Tooth Fairy gets her money. I told him she’s magic and has access to all the money she wants. The truth is that he lost a tooth during a rice, beans and ramen noodle kind of week and the “Tooth Fairy’s money” is coming directly out of his piggy bank due to our lack of cash.

Yeah, that’s right.

And then there’s the lies that are told to protect the self-esteem. One of my hobbies is tying fishing flies. So of course the oldest watches and wants to tie too. I don’t want to stifle his creativity so I sometimes let him tie up what ever creations he can come-up with without any sort of instruction or interference on my part. They are all awful. I mean just terrible; balls of fluff and feathers and sparkly bits looped on to a hook at angles that are reminiscent of something you would to read about in a Lovecraft story.

“So Daddy, what do you think?”

“Oh… Wow! That’s… something all right!”

“Do you think it’ll catch a fish?”

“… Yep.”

“Will you take it on your next fishing trip and fish with it?”

“… Yep.”

“I’ll put it in your fly box for you!”

“Great!”

And so I go fishing, come back and the first question is if I caught fish on his fly. I can’t tell him the truth, which is if the thing even managed to stay together long enough to make it in the water the best we could hope for is that it would scare a fish to death. No, I tell him that not only his fly caught a fish but show him a picture of the fish it caught.

Yeah buddy, this is totally the fish I caught on your fly.

And so it goes, lie after lie, all the while trying to teach him how important telling the truth is…

Being a parent can be fucked-up sometimes.