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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 04-21-2013, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Jerry: Thanks again for sharing those recollections of days gone by with the late Montgomery Jackson! It must be a most memorable experience for you to have those journals to relive those times spent with him.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

After my moments of taking stock recently, I find my portfolio a little less full. From the original 13 students of "my kids" in this recent class, we now are down to 11. Another young girl passed the night before last, and I will be delivering the eulogy once more before week's end, something I dread because I'm not that fond of public speaking, especially when it means laying open my heart to a church filled with strangers. Yet, I will be there-- for "my kid," her parents, and the students and their folks who all will be in attendance.

Some of "my kids" and their folks gifted Debbi, Jesse and me with an impromptu visit yesterday. It was in the low 60's with bright sunshine, and "my kids" just felt the need to be near the river... and to talk. In all of my years teaching the free tying classes for kids battling cancer, I've found that "my kids" are far better at articulating their feelings than many of us adults. It was a fine sort of therapy session, the kind that tends to give one strength to do what must been done-- the eulogy --and to face life's challenges head-on. With their need to see me at the pulpit one more time, how can I not do it??

"My kids" and I also made a decision that was more their idea than mine. I've posted the "Boxed Flat 50 Flies" Plus 13 over in the Personal Classifieds. The collection will now include a 10-compartment fly box, 50 of my flies, and "The Magic 13" from "my kids." As we started our class this year past with 13 students, "The Magic 13" will be a tribute to the class-mates and friends lost to us all...

Knowing how the late Montgomery Jackson loved kids, especially those blessed with courage and grace under pressure, I feel safe in assuming that he'd be right at home among this group. And, who knows? Maybe he's been there all along...

Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Jerry: You are a good man! You are indeed blessed having battled brain cancer for so long, lost a couple of your own children and yet you find time to help other children in need. Delivering that eulogy will be very tough, but as you have done in the past, just open up your heart and everything will work out fine. God Bless You and Your Family!
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Larry,

I fight to pull myself upright each morning because it's just not in me to lay down and give up. I've both seen and experienced how crushing the loss of a loved one to cancer can be on family and friends, and I don't intend to put my own through that misery again... Not if I can help it!

As for the teaching "my kids?" I do the tying classes because I always get more out of working with each and every one of the classes, no matter the losses and no matter the personal cost. In her last days, I promised our youngest daughter Laramie that I would continue teaching the tying, for as long as my health and body could withstand the heartache that accompanies the sessions.

And, secondly, I made a similar promise to the late Montgomery Jackson some years back. He was an ardent supporter of the concept of "my kids," both financially and in his personal efforts. I gave him my word that I would teach each class not just to be fly-tiers, but survivors as well! As he put it, my "working the room" with "my kids" proved to them that cancer COULD be beaten, and that there COULD BE life after cancer... I've long been a man of my word, and with two such promises on the table, the annual classes will never be in question!!!

So, today, I putting together my thoughts for the eulogy to come, and some fly boxes for those who might want to get in on our small effort. In a few days, I may be offering a "special" package of sorts. A good friend is making a few unique wooden fly boxes for us. I'll keep you all in the loop on that one, if it pans out as planned.

Once finished, a visit to Trail's End is in the offing. Right now, I need to be sitting on the little cabin's porch, just thinking... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

The trek back into "Trail's End" yesterday was a good one, flying mud, slop and stress to my "Fish Truck's" drive-train notwithstanding. For the first hour of my visit, I sat under the cover of the porch and just watched a gentle rain continue to fall and thought about what I wanted to say, come Thursday's eulogy.

More than anything, I realized once again how I needed to convey the courage, bravery and grace of "my kids," and their own special approach to just living, even when they know their time is measured by their horrific disease. I need to remind those gathered for the funeral that "my kids" and many others just like them can alter another person's life and perspective on living, merely by being around them. As a whole, the kids who truly fight their disease are the epitome of pure honesty, grit and determination-- a sheer will to make the world a better place, even to the end. If they leave the church with nothing else, they'll know how special a child we all have lost...

As the rain intensified, I opened the lock and went inside the cabin, hanging the ol' Filson to dry, and opening the drapes before settling into the late Montgomery Jackson's old wooden desk chair. Far less padded than my own chair at home, it was comfortable, nonetheless, and sitting with the huge roll-top spread before me brought with it a comfortable sort of feeling that I'd always associated with both the man and this place.

I took Volume VI of the journals of one Montgomery Jackson and set it atop the desk, the light from the window being more than enough by which to read his written words. The "Opener" comes calling on this coming Saturday, April 27th, only a day after our annual "flotilla release." The fishing will have to wait for awhile, as the river is running extremely high right now.

It was a noise outside that drew my attention to the window next to the desk. There, standing in all its glory, was the first robin of the spring. And, as I watched it mining for worms and other earthy delights, I realized how some parts of my own life reflected a bit of Montgomery Jackson's style and influence. In our collective "offices," we both fancied putting our desks next to a window, from which we could watch the seasons change along the river corridor and see the waters below. As he'd written in the first pages of Volume VI, "I've always been willing to pay more for a good "window seat..." Truer words...

I closed the journal for later reading, eased the old roll-top's cover back into place and grabbed the Filson before locking the door. As I near the "Fish Truck," I glanced back at the cabin window where the desk of the late Montgomery Jackson still holds sway over the room. And, in that brief moment, I better understood his contention that in life and in living, a good "seat by the window" is almost always worth the price of admission... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Last edited by hairwing530; 04-24-2013 at 05:46 AM.
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2013, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

I didn't discover the small wooden carrier until about an hour ago, when I went out to the "Fish Truck" to retrieve and update an old vest that I carry in the rear compartment for those "spur of the moment" stops at a section of new trout waters. There, hidden beneath the vest and assorted paraphernalia, was "the box," one I immediately recognized as the late Montgomery Jackson's own "valuables" box. His grandson had made good on his word, delivering the aged leather personal "river diaries" of his grandfather-- there are three in all --to my doorstep.

As I write this, I'm letting the books shed that certain musty smell and air out a bit on the enclosed front porch. What they'll contain, in light of the journals I'm currently reading, is anybody's guess. No matter... I'm sure that I'll be blessed with more perspectives about a life spent astream, if such a feat is even possible... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2013, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

You have a gift!
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2013, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

The morning check of the journals came in the pre-dawn hours before first light today, and they're quickly becoming eligible for "duty INSIDE the home front." The musty smell is dissipating nicely, and it shouldn't be long before the "holdings" of the late Montgomery Jackson's "valuables box" pass the Speaker of the House's "sniff test," and receive their final stamp of approval.

I'm also airing out the contents of a large, thick envelope that I discovered beneath the journals during my explorations of the box yesterday. In it are a series of hand-drawn maps, with a wealth of notations regarding the river as it was at the time of the mappings-- hatches, trout lies, and fly suggestions/recommendations galore.

Whereas the 25 volumes detailing our shared time astream and afield are more personal observations about our outings, me, and the man I've become along the way, I'm guessing that the three journals in the wooden box are more clinical in the thoughts in breaking down the river's best fly fishing. But then, I'm just guessing, mind you, given my quick glances at the maps. Only time and further evaluation will tell...

Stay tuned... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

Later today, I will meet with a local mill owner and take delivery on the hewn logs that will add further support to the porch roof along the front of "Trail's End," along with some other "custom" lumber for repairs inside. I'm extremely partial to the cabins' interior, and will not see it altered for the sake of an "easier way..."

I won't be alone, thankfully, as the left shoulder is still a little stiff and aching from last week's fall. A couple of the "cronies" had guiding trips cancelled last night, and both will be front and center to help with the loading and unloading of the logs back at the cabin. "Trail's End" is rapidly becoming a "pet project" of pride, so to speak, to more than just me. Some of the guys have come to look at it as their own sort of "safe haven" from the elements whenever they work that stretch of river. The late Montgomery Jackson would have welcomed them all. And, I can do no less in his stead...

So, in the span of a few short hours, I will untarp the old farm tractor that Montgomery loved so much, hook onto the "converted wagon"-- it once served as an old-fashioned wooden-sided manure spreader in a past life before its conversion--and meet the mill's truck at the road. After the unloading back at the cabin, I'll cover the tractor and wagon again, tarp the pile of hewn logs and lumber, and take my leave after stacking another face cord of wood. Oh, you can rest assured that I'll hurt like "homemade sin" later on this evening, but it will be that certain sort of ache that always follows a day of getting things done, especially as I near the "60" mark.

And, if things work out as planned, come the "getting on toward evening" hours, I'll be seated on the porch at "Trail's End"-- weather permitting --with the packet of the late Montgomery's maps in hand. And, there on the old table next to me, will be another "wee dram," courtesy of the liquor shelf inside the cabin. I missed my usual toasting of the season and those who've gone before me on the night before the Opener, and I plan to make amends for that late this afternoon. While tradition would normally find me at the Mason Chapel, raising a glass from the porch at "Trail's End" with maps in hand just strikes me as the right thing to do. And, you'll all be there with me in spirit, sitting squarely among some of the grandest company I've ever spent time with...
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: I Met Myself Last Night...

No doubt, you're all fully aware of the old adage about "the best laid plans...?" Well, Murphy's Law took a good, swift kick to its backside yesterday, and the last 90+ minutes of daylight were, indeed, spent on the front porch of "Trail's End," wee dram in hand and the old Coleman nearby, just in case I stayed a little too long.

After the appropriate toast to those who live only in my memories and in my heart-- they also occupy a place or two in my fly-fishing vests --I went about the careful unfolding and laying out of the maps found in the late Montgomery Jackson's "valuables" box. Even in the waning daylight, his deft hand in putting to paper the things he loved most with his favorite "old-school" fountain pens was obvious and very telling. He'd drawn these maps with the hand of an artist, sketching detail after detail with a talent that you seldom see any longer. His "mappings" were equal to his sweeping and artistic penmanship, a combination of styles that take a lifetime to master, fully.

I started running out of light long before I made any sort of sizeable dent in the full appreciation of the maps. But, in the short time that I was privy to them, it became apparent that I needed to preserve these mappings in a way that will allow me further study without damaging the integrity of both the work and the paper-- "working" copies of them all, if you will, and some of the best sort of "reference" material imaginable.

The decision made, I fired up the old Coleman lantern, carefully re-folded the maps and made my way back to the "Fish Truck." Later today, a "fishing cronie's" wife who specializes in art preservation will give the maps the ol' once-over and determine what she can do with them. Once a plan is in place for their future, the maps and Montgomery's three-volume personal journals will all be studied most while seated in the old wooden chair at his roll-top, with the drapes thrown back and the sights, sounds and smells of "Trail's End" providing a very fitting backdrop. In my mind, it will be but one more step in a journey that I'm enjoying more and more each day...

Tight lines, my friends... Jerry, aka hairwing530
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