My old man, Brayshaw the Elder, had been doing well at a large well-groomed pond in a subdivision near home. He asked us to drop by one morning a few weeks ago and fish it with him. Brayshaw the Youngest was at a slumber party, but I brought along Brayshaw the Younger.
He fished an old jitterbug that was in an old metal tackle box in the garage. That old metal tackle box belonged to Brayshaw the Original, my grandfather, who caught more big fish than anybody I know. I don't know that The Younger understood what it meant to me to see him fish his great grandpa's old bass lure, but he made it work nonetheless…
Fishy genes don't come from nowheres. Brayshaw the Elder, my old man, with the best fish of the morning…
He managed a handful of smaller ones too…
Brayshaw, T.J. didn't catch shit.
Four generations, three on the water and one in spirit.
The following day, at 6:00am, my dad went under the knife for some exploratory surgery to determine whether the tumor on his left kidney had fucked over his other kidney and/or bladder. As it turned out, it had not and the prognosis is good.
Next time, T.J. catches fish.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I have been working hard and have done little or no fishing these past months. I needed to relax and unwind from incessant work stresses.
There’s nothing like a warm autumn day on a trout stream to meet the need. And so it was last Friday that I extinguished residual obligations and drove an hour or so to the Farmington River. I would be meeting Todd, who is the human embodiment of a comforting autumn day. His company, beside a clear running river, would be good for me.
I was almost there – around Collinsville, I think – when my left leg registered the merest slip of the clutch pedal. I imagined that I’d imagined the difference, the way we men hide from pending disaster, and drove on to the river. Boy, was it glorious out – warm, right enough, with caddis coming off and huge maple leaves floating by in perfectly welcome numbers. We’re only fifteen minutes into what will be a reassuringly long time by water, but it’s time to move up-river (Todd having already landed the first fish of the day: a very respectable brown trout.)
|A respectable brown trout (Salmo trutta)|
There is a point in any day when one should face that you are well and truly fucked and should give up. Here was that point, manifest as a clutch, depressed, never to rise.
Despite his protestations, I insisted (repeatedly) that Todd get back to the water. If I couldn't fish, he surely must, and my tow would be here before too long. Such was my imaginary hope of a quickly fixed car, all at minimal cost.
Five hours in a parked car does not equate to the healing properties of a warm, autumnal trout stream [manuscript in preparation]. Multiple calls to an insurance company and to all manner of rural garage owners (many of whom don't actually exist) are no more medicine than are hours of false positives, during which time one could, had one known, have been fishing [Atherton et al, personal observation].
It is fall, and I remain, sirs, in need of relaxation from recent stresses.