Daddy Found a Butt Munch

All hail the mighty rainbow trout!

The past several posts here featured swans, chickens, lizards and tigers.  This post is an attempt to launch out of the animal world and back into the human, but let’s go out in style, shall we?

As Dave Barry used to say, I am not making this up.

After a couple of hours out of the house this weekend, I returned to the breathless excitement of my young daughter exclaiming, “Momma!  Come see!  Daddy found a butt munch.”

Ahem?  I mean, I’m sure he did.  What?

Rod and reel....where are the fish?She dragged me into the kitchen where her father rolled his eyes in mock horror.  “You’d think fishing is safe….we were just looking at fishing flies.”

My girl proudly opened the latest L.L. Bean fishing catalogue.  “See, momma, there’s the butt munch.”  And lo and behold, there it was.  The Butt Munch Beetle, to be exact.  It comes in metallic blue, metallic copper, or metallic green.  $2.25 each.

Here are some other words and phrases we acquired recently, thanks to L. L.:

  • Psycho Prince
  • Squirrel Nymph
  • Quasimodo
  • New Trick Soft Hackle
  • Mouserat
  • Hornberg
  • Surf Candy
  • Crazy Charlie
  • Rag Head Crab

And while these, my friends, hold a fair amount of barely suppressed laughter from the parents in the house, by far and away the child’s all-time favorites are……..wait for it…………

The Bean Wooly Bugger

The Egg Sucking Crystal Leech and the Hot Bead Bugger.  Wooly Bugger comes in a distant third, and let me tell you, it’s no surprise a Hot Bead Bugger will cost you a pretty penny.  It’s $2.25 where the Wooly Bugger is but $1.85.

Not particularly noted by the child, but worthy of honorable mention to those of you who appreciate such strange pockets of humor, I leave you with my nominees for underdog flies of 2011:  The Shenandoah Chugger; The Humpy; The Conehead Madonna; The Zonker; and The Mushmouth.   Sometimes truth is just funnier than anything you can imagine….and I am not making that up.

Image credits (in order of appearance): Mountain Anglers, J. Gaucher, L.L. Bean

Real Friends: Manning Up to Curve Balls, Together

A very good friend of mine from college shared with me this (edited) email that her own father recently wrote to a group of his fraternity brothers.  My hands-down favorite has to be the “we all manned up” comment at the end.  The timelessness of the friendships moved me, and got me thinking about my own feelings about old friends.

Despite our ever more technologically connected world, I generally feel more disconnected from my friends.  I love Facebook for its capacity to keep me from not losing touch all together with far-flung relationships; and yet there is the danger of buying into the dynamic that people are products.  We set up our own profiles, we decide what photos go up, what stories are shared, what image or slice of our realities we want to present.  I only know what you want me to know, and vice versa.

I miss that greater sense of entirety about my friends’ lives.  When we all were in the same physical space more often, I knew that you said that dumb thing in front of an important person.  I knew your mom was mad at you, that your dog was really sick, that you wondered why I hadn’t called.  I knew you liked peanut butter in your milkshakes and had to take a nap every day or you became an unbearable pill to be around. 

We could talk about politics and sex and religion because we weren’t afraid the other one would walk if we said the “wrong thing.”  I knew you were a cheap date, that you were not sure you liked girls “that way,” and that you cried when you woke up from a bad dream.  I knew you were under too much pressure, that you had almost cheated on your taxes but didn’t at the last-minute.  I knew you were afraid, really afraid, that you had picked the wrong career, or the wrong life partner, or the wrong dress.  I knew you were an unrepentent dork about Star Trek, and that you were not even joking when you said, “Worf’s hair looks really good like that.”

Knowing these kinds of things is what makes for real friendship, and we can only know them from time spent together.

Here’s to real friends…………

Dear brothers, I certainly enjoyed seeing all of you this past weekend.  Sarah and Tim overdid the hospitality and I know everyone appreciated their generosity and hard work as much I did.

Many thoughts hit me on the rainy ride home.  I did not take notes, but I should have because the details were as interesting as the big picture was chronological — our “here’s what happened to me” stories.  Following are my general impressions of our collective “my life so far”stories:

  • Small decisions can have big long-term implications and impact.  Many of those “small decisions” start with a whim and develop into life changes.
  • Big decisions that turned out to be questionable can in fact be course-corrected for the better.
  • We are a funny bunch.   Our collective sense of humor has only gotten better over the years and  probably has served us well in life.
  • In spite of the very different paths we each have taken over the years we are a relatively homogenous group, sharing the same values, stories and friendship.
  • Fifty three years is a long time not to see someone you like to be with.
  • We have accomplished much, yet retain modest egos.
  • We received a damn good education at our school. The Liberal Arts degree (that some of us initially did not know how to turn into jobs) gave us a wonderful foundation for a wide variety of challenges.
  • It seems like we are all happy with the way things turned out and are content. Those of us who have retired seem to enjoy being irrelevant compared with the stress of running businesses, practices and careers.   Those of us still working have figured out both what we like to do and a way to get paid to do it.
  • We have all “manned up” and dealt with the curve balls life sends us all.

Image credit: The Complete Pitcher

2 out of 3 Can Be Bad

I especially like her head.

Today we break from our regularly scheduled seriousness to capture a slice of life at the Kroger store.

“I want you.  I need you.  But there ain’t now way I’m ever gonna love you.  Don’t be sad….2 out of 3 ain’t bad.”

Well, it can be bad.  Say, when the missing #3 is, oh, I don’t know……LOVE!  I actually heard this on the radio as I was parking my car to go grocery shopping this week, and I was reminded how even as a little kid I thought, hmmmm…. this guy doesn’t seem to get it.

This was, much like a Seinfeld episode, the perfect set up for what happened next.

While chatting up a friendly fellow who was willing to take the time to talk about his motorcycle with my two year old, I learned that he and I both had daughters who were more interested in vehicles than dolls.  His daughters are now grown, he said, but he still kept all of their old Barbies in the attic.

“Oh yeah, we have some classics.  Some classics.  We even have the Princess Grace Barbie from 1959.”

Really?  Wow.  I never even knew there was one.  That must be really valuable.

“Sure is.  Very rare.  Just wish I could find the head………”

There are just some things you’re gonna need to make it all work. 

Like love.  And Princess Grace’s head.  I’m just sayin’.

Gardens and Goats

To two West Virginia bloggers who inspire me, I say a bright good morning and big “thank you” for your influence.

W. Va. Fur and Root combines a love of the natural world with a healthy skepticism about people.  The writer is well-read, loves food and wine, and is passionately loyal to her friends and family.  She reminds me of the old saying, “I won’t start a fight, but I’ll finish it.”  She’s willing to be intentionally vulnerable, and as such is always strong.  The humor is righteous, and the world she creates online is magical.

I wrote this of Connie in December 2009 and it still holds:  “I’ve come to believe her personal hideway is a corner of my own mind, a room where I can really go from time to time to both escape my own realities as well as find comfort in our shared human experiences.” 

Where else can you find Faulkner, barns, pop culture and accountability in spades?  Maybe one other place…

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

May I present The Goat Rope.  There is a degree to which it would be a crime to attempt to explain this blog.  One really should experience it on it’s own terms, and I hope you will.  I just popped over there for a visit and saw this line:  “One reason I’ve been strip mining Thoreau’s Walden these days is…..”  This is totally normal talk for Rick, and I love him for it.

On this blog, you will grow to anticipate Quaker theology, marial arts, razor wit and deep mellowness blended with a fierce and bright-burning quest for justice.

It might be a coincidence that both of these writers live on rural land, co-exist with animals and gardens, read like most people breathe, and have not an ounce of pretense or charade.  But I’m paying attention, just in case there is something to it.