Man do I hate that tune. Whenever I hear any portion of this little ditty, I flash back to the Magic Kingdom in Central Florida and the brain numbing effect that tune has on me….. It just won’t go away. All of which seems like an appropriate theme for these random ramblings. It is after all, a very small world with strangely local implications to more nationalistic considerations. Examples you ask?
Last week, I had two unexpected cancellations. As I was calling my folks the evening prior to our scheduled trips, just as I was scanning the client information data sheets, I see something that appears potentially problematic. Hummmmmmmmmmmm …. These folks are coming from Houston and Louisiana…. Yep, you guessed it. Hurricane Harvey mucked that up. When I spoke with my client, he was most apologetic about missing our trip and taking care of business back home. “I meant to call you last week, I guess things got pretty hectic here and ………..”. No need to apologize, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and no, there is no cancellation fee, see ya next year.
Of the numerous trips that I did run last week and the week before that, I felt compelled to check back with one of my folks by the name of Roger. Roger is a fun loving, easy going, and damn-it, here’s a stogie for the boat ride sort of gentleman. I shot Roger an email to inquire as to how he was faring in light of the developing weather events which dominated last week. It seems that his world was also fix’n to be rocked by Hurricane Harvey and by all accounts, it sounds like Rogers’s neighborhood, known as the US Virgin Islands was just about wiped off the map. Fishing in Montana last week and getting hammered at home this week. Small world indeed.
Then there was yesterday. As I was pulling away from the ramp in the early morning gray, I had that same uneasy, unknowing feeling working deep in my gut that I felt when I pulled off the ramp some sixteen years ago as the first reports of planes hitting the Trade Towers came over the radio. Yesterday though, it was all about Irma which had the entire State of Florida laid out before it. My clients, whom I’d spent some amount of time with previously must have taken notice. “What’s up Pat? You feeling ok? Where’s all that wise cracking smart ass banter that we usually go through?”
There’s a reason I don’t play high stakes poker. When I let down my guard and shared my burden and thoughts, that’s when I saw the first little tear roll down my client’s cheek. I let my folks know that frankly, my head wasn’t in the game today. I was more focused on Irma and my parents who were plopped smack dab in the middle of her projected path. The weather folks waffled a little and then announced that the storm was going to track right up the Central Limestone Ridge of Florida. Right over the Highlands with the hurricane eye essentially passing directly over my folks’ subdivision.
And that’s when Keene said that she understood (teary eye moment), and that they too had close family in the middle of the projected hurricane track. They too were worried silly. The rest of the trip consisted of occasional fishing, pushing down stream on the oars, trying to make cell phone calls, attempting to keep track of the storms location and progression and obviously, implications and damage via cell phones. It was a most uneasy day.
As of today, there is more unknown then known. No phones, TV, Cable, Internet or power is operational. Mom did text my much older and more responsible sister and indicated that they were ok, but God only knows what that means. I and a lot of folks are trying to make heads or tails out of what is or isn’t going on in Florida. Time and patience will tell the story. And then it hit me. Folks who really don’t know a hell of a lot about each other, one from Carbon County Montana, others from Central Kentucky or the Virgin Islands or Houston Texas, sitting in the middle of the Stillwater River, thinking and worrying about people and things two thousand miles away, but exactly in the same place. Has it been any different for you and those you care about? And then it really hits me …… Maybe that is the common thread. Maybe if we all care about someone other than ourselves, maybe we can all work though this and other situations with immense gravity. Looking for a larger life lesson and hope for “Merica? Think about that for some amount of time and then get back with me.
Since about mid-June, Montana and much of the western US of A have been sucking down thick smoke from all the adjacent forest fires. Today is the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11. Strange and challenging times in which we live. One of the great things about being a fishing guide is that you have a lot of time to think about stuff. One of the down sides of being a fishing guide is that you have a lot of time to think about stuff. It cuts both ways.
What the Future Holds
And the fishing? It’s good and getting good-er! It’s mid-September. The fall colors are beginning to show. The water is low and most folks have left the building not unlike Elvis. The weather is predicted to turn towards a more seasonal demeanor which means mayflies and streamers and brown trout with an attitude. Rain and snow are suggested for the upcoming end of the week. The fishing is as good as it gets! But at the end of the day, the catching is directly proportional to the skill set of the fisher-persons. And I promise, next time I check in, I’ll have more discussion of fishing and less discussion pertaining to other things ….. Maybe/Hopefully/ But it does make you scratch your noggin.