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Old 04-07-2013, 07:51 AM
hairwing530 hairwing530 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: northern Michigan
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

With no tying class yesterday-- "my kids" voted to take a day off in tribute to their fallen friends --I caught up on correspondence, wrapped a few more bugs, and most importantly, spent an hour or two with one of Montgomery Jackson's many gifts to me-- the journals. In their reading, the closing pages of Journal III and the opening entries in Journal IV reminded me of an annual tradition that was started while I was still in the midst of my teens, one that had gotten a little lost this year because of the loss of two of "my kids," especially "Sam."

On the eve of every "Opening Day" since 1968, a small group of friends would gather at the river and set adrift a small chunk of AuSable driftwood carrying the favorite fly of the angler in whose memory we dedicated the floating honor. The hook points were cut off and the fly was firmly affixed to the top of the driftwood for the long journey downstream, just after the appropriate initials are knife-cut into the wood...

It began as our own sort of spin-off on an Oriental funeral tradition that Mongtomery Jackson had seen when he was overseas. The first fly set adrift was a #12 Adams, in remembering my grandfather. "Doc" Holship's Royal Coachman came next in the years that followed, before we added the late Lauren's Light Cahill and Laramie's Parachute Adams (like father, like daughter). Come the afternoon of April 26th-- rain, snow or whatever --the group will add Montgomery Jackson's take on a Griffith's Gnat and "Sam's" Little Black Caddis to the flotilla. It seemed fitting way back when, and even moreso today.

Some might think this tradition we hold to a bit "unique," in a strange sort of way. Maybe it is... but, certainly not to the group of family and friends who'll gather that day. Aside from carrying those now gone in our hearts, the flotilla just feels right...

Besides, I believe that more than just a few of us take a great deal of comfort in the tributes and the mysteries that will be carried downstream to any angler lucky enough to encounter the little "drift boats..."

I'm off to find a few pieces of "river wood" for drying before the day in question...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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