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  #161 (permalink)  
Old 12-19-2013, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

jerry, I can just about smell that smokehouse from here! I may just follow my nose and pop in for a nibble . I wish! Some day I hope to be on "that side' of lake Michigan and enjoy that fabled river with you. And afterward sit with a beverage and listen. Just listen...

I know all too well the pain of "the back-outs". My low back puts me on the sidelines for a week at a time at least twice a year. I wouldn't offer my back to my worst enemy

Its so hard to read the impending diagnosis of sweet young Emily The Big Boss has the final say tho. The Great Physician. Miracles happen and I will continue to pray for one for miss Emily.
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  #162 (permalink)  
Old 12-20-2013, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

jbird,

You have a "rod slot in reserve" whenever you find yourself on this side of the lake, and in my neck of the woods. And, when the fishing is done, we'll sit in the riverside porch and enjoy a "refreshment" or two. It's amazing how well the tinkling sound of ice in a glass harmonizes with the "river music" that signals the currents flowing past the house...

While I pray each night that our "shared" oncologist can find a way to halt or cure the bum-rush of Ms Emily's leukemia, I fear that her case might be one of those times when modern medicine comes up short in its efforts. Then again, after defying the odds-- still out-living my own original prognosis of 24-36 months and again fully sighted after being told that I would be blind for the rest of my life --I take comfort in the fact that miracles do occur! Time will tell... time and the Man Upstairs...

By the time the early afternoon hours roll around today, the smokehouse duties should be close to wrapping up, giving "the guys" plenty of time to clean up the place and to put the tree in its stand for the decoration by those more talented than us-- our wives. Unless I miss my guess, I'm of the opinion that our wives believe that "the fishing crew" would adorn the limbs with Royal Coachman, Light Cahill, Hendricksons, various Wulff patterns, and no shortage of brightly-colored salmon or saltwater flies! As if that would be a bad thing???

At any rate, I'll be manning the home fires, as the lower back still feels like it's been rusted in place. Besides, over the last six years, I've never been much for activities away from the house on this date in time. Had she not been the first daughter lost to us, Lauren would have celebrated her 28th birthday today...
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  #163 (permalink)  
Old 12-23-2013, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

I like the soft glow of old lamps. Be it lantern, oil lamp or even a gas-light, they all seem to carry a certain warmth to their illumination that oft times defies proper description. Once you've partaken of the enjoyment of their light, however, it's hard not to recognize it immediately.

Such was the case with my early-morning "sneak-peek" of the interior of "Trail's End" today. The traditions and feel of the Christmas seasons of my distant past were brought to life by my wife, our daughter Jesse, and the wives of my fishing cronies. To see the beauty of their handiwork via an old oil lamp brought a HUGE smile to my face, taking me back to a simpler time many years ago.

Within 24 hours, the cabin known as "Trail's End" will provide the backdrop for a very old-fashioned Christmas for one special young lady-- one of "my kids" known as Emily. As this will no doubt be her last Christmas with us, me and mine, and a host of friends/fishing cronies near and far conspired to make this as true to the traditions past as possible. It was Emily's wish, and we are going to make it come true...

And, I have every confidence in the belief that those who watch over us from the heavens-- my grandfather, "Doc" Holship, Montgomery Jackson and our two late daughters, Lauren and Laramie --all will be in attendance on Christmas Day...
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  #164 (permalink)  
Old 12-24-2013, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

One last post before departing for the two-track leading into "Trail's End" and the final preparations for the next few days. There's a fireplace and lamps to be lit, a woodstove to fire up, and an old gas-fired power generator to get running-- bad back or not.

The intent has been and continues to be the realization of one of the most important wishes of a dying youngster known as Ms Emily-- an old-fashioned Christmas in the woods. And, me and mine, friends both near and far, will make it happen over the next couple of days.

But, before I go... Merry Christmas to all of you here on the forum. You've blessed me with your friendship and understanding over the months, and a man couldn't ask for a better gift! May the Good Lord bless your upcoming holiday season!

Be well, my friends, and again... Merry Christmas to you all!

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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  #165 (permalink)  
Old 12-24-2013, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Your Christmas gathering will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know the Lord will lend a very real presence at trails end. There will certainly be no shortage of Christmas spirit bursting inside those walls. Peace to you and your family Jerry and pass along our prayers and hope to miss Emily
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  #166 (permalink)  
Old 12-26-2013, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

jbird,

My heartfelt sympathies for your loss, especially at this time of year. There is NO good time to lose a loved one. Our prayers are with you and your family...

An update on the events of recent days regarding Ms Emily's Christmas at "Trail's End" will be forthcoming at a more appropriate time.

And, jbird... just so you know... Emily loved her fly box! Many thanks, my friend...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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  #167 (permalink)  
Old 12-27-2013, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

As I sit here looking back on the last few days, some 24 hours removed from the end of Ms Emily's "Special Christmas" at "Trail's End," I recall the events of those two days with a special fondness. The festivities gifted a very special young girl with making one of her wishes come true-- an old-fashioned Christmas in the woods. The folks who lent a hand in making this happen did me very proud, indeed. It was a gathering that the late Montgomery Jackson would have enjoyed as well...

It was good to see so much "life" breathed back into the confines of "Trail's End." The activities were non-stop, with as much joy and affection as one would expect with such a group. And, with the massive number of gifts wrought by hand, it was a veritable showcase of skills, talents and devotion to making sure the dreams of a very sick young girl all came to pass.

Somewhere, as this is being written, I like to think that there is a very special group looking down from the heavens in approval-- our two late daughters, my grandfather, "Doc" Holship and the late Montgomery Jackson himself. Whether they know it or not, they all were in my thoughts and prayers over this very special Christmas holiday...
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  #168 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2013, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

I took another walk beside the late Montgomery Jackson last night, crawling head-first into another of his journals that chronicle "the life and times" of yours truly in more detail than is sometimes comfortable. His writings are honest observations on my "adventures"-- or mis-adventures, depending on who you ask --but written in a fashion I'd best describe as "grandfatherly" in their wisdom and approach. With every turn of the page, I manage to learn a little something new-- about me, about fly fishing, and more to the point, about life itself.

The two recently read chapters, for example, were the late Montgomery Jackson's thoughts on how to best "adapt," if you will, to life's ever-changing landscape and roll with the punches-- the ol' "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade" sort of thing. He opined that there are few hurdles that can't be overcome in life, no matter their size and no matter their origins, and sometimes in spite of the odds. That is, if one has the courage to lock horns and brawl with your demons...

He flashed back to the first days of my cancer diagnosis, and used my rehab as an example. He recalled my frustration at being unable just to do the little things at first, an anger that was soon turned into a determination to reclaim my life as it had been. He observed my attitude as being my own style of "adaptation" and rolling with the punches before getting back on my feet and swinging back.

Over the next few pages, he detailed my responses to those times when a "life punch" set me back on my heels. Seeing each "challenge" laid out before me made me realize how fortunate I've been to have gotten this far, and how blessed I've been to have my family and friends firmly planted in my corner on every occasion. In his words, they'd all kept me strong when my own resolve weakened or was in question.

He ended the last chapter read with these words... Lad... Never stop fighting the good fight, and above all else, NEVER surrender...

As we ready ourselves for a new year ahead, his sentiments will be the first "resolutions" on my list of things to accomplish once more, come the year 2014. Here's to a grand year of trout, moments astream with friends, and the best of rivers in which to wet a line...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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  #169 (permalink)  
Old 01-03-2014, 06:09 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

It rises up from its base some 14 or so inches, topped off by a paper-thin fragile shade that has yellowed from use over the years. With a cut-metal silhouette of a rising trout affixed to its side, the small lamp has served its purpose well since its arrival into my hands, acting as a riverside beacon, much the same as it did during its time at "Trail's End."

When the small lamp originally came to be, it was powered by the standard sort of power source-- electricity. After it was rescued from a small roadside antique store for the sum total of $6, the late Montgomery Jackson took it north to "Trail's End," where he tinkered with it before converting the lamp to battery power that pulled minimal draw on the batteries and placing it in the window next to his desk.

And, for many years, it was "on" far more than it was "off," serving as a sort of "Welcome" sign if you will, for those caught on the river after dark whenever the late Montgomery Jackson was in residence, and often when he was not. On his stretch of the river, it didn't take long before many a lost or weary angler came to know the small lamp and the shelter of the old cabin's porch as a "rest stop," a place they could pause and catch their breath before making the last push for home.

In late 2009, after my arrival home following my sight-restoration "miracle surgery," the little lamp came to be a part of my own office surroundings, courtesy of the late Montgomery Jackson. Restored and re-wired for electrical use, it has been sitting in the left corner of the window just 3.2 feet from where I write this since then-- always on, and always welcoming a weary, lost, or at times, thirsty angler along our stretch of the AuSable River.

As for the window once forever illuminated by the small light at "Trail's End?" I should be finished with the "spare" that the late Montgomery Jackson never had the chance to complete, just in time to power it up after "my kids" and I finish a special tying session tomorrow at the place still decorated for Christmas and known as "Trail's End." With its lighting, I pray that it will continue the tradition of serving as a beacon of hope to light the way for every "lost" angler-- man, woman and child, and especially those who will tie their flies within the walls of the old cabin, come Saturday-- "my kids..."
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  #170 (permalink)  
Old 01-06-2014, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

As of this morning, "Ms Emily's Trail's End Christmas, 2013" officially has been boxed and put away. The decorations came down yesterday, only after a special tying class at the old place for "my kids" on Saturday afternoon. The smiles were on endless display throughout the session, as we tied a few flies, sorted through some boxes of materials and generally had a great time.

Even Mother Nature was in a cooperative mood, as we had moderate(?) temperatures, plenty of wildlife passing through the woodlots around "Trail's End," and enough snow to keep things interesting. With the fireplace blazing in the background and the cabin's woodstove kicking out a fair amount of heat, I couldn't have asked for a better afternoon.

As well, Ms Emily was feeling up to class on Saturday afternoon, and her attendance only enhanced the hours spent with bobbins and dubbing/hackle in hand. The "Community Jar" saw its share of "donations," flies tied one and all by "my kids" and me.

And, as we began to wrap things up for the week, I brought forth the "project"-- the late Montgomery Jackson's little "light in the window." After placing it in its old place, "my kids" held their breath while Emily turned the switch, restoring the soft glow of light to the gathering darkness outside.

As of late yesterday afternoon, the little lamp still sat in the window, softly shedding its light onto the new fallen snow. Slowly, I'm doing as the late Montgomery Jackson's failing health wouldn't allow during his last couple of years-- restoring the true "feel" to the place known as "Trail's End..."
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