Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
April 2003

Columbia Springer Season
Jennie's Fishing Life

FISHING THE COAST

A journal of my adventures.


April 1st, 2003

Whewie! It's good to be home to the old page! I pulled a trick, and put this up for April Fools Day. Bob, of Piscatorial, WAS going to put mine up, but then he went and got sick and didn't have time. I hope he gets better soon. I still had fun, and it was fun to read the comments, here.
It's been a long day. I'm hitting the hay early. It's 7:44, and I'm headed for bed.
Tomorrow, off to Portland to take Andrew to the eye doctor. Think good thoughts for him. :)

April 2nd, 2003

I picked the winner of the Kelly Short Contest. I posted it here!
I was going to Portland today, but I chickened out. It's icy and snowing right now, with a forecast of 4 to 10 inches. Yeah, I'd rather not. I just washed and waxed my truck! I'll reschedule. :)

April 3rd, 2003

The new server is working great, I'm fairly caught up, the April Donation Drive is going well, and... well.... I think I'll go Springer Fishing!
Pete just got a new boat, and invited Bill and I along today! Whoooo hooooooo!
I think I'll wear my new survival suit to see if it keeps me warm and safe while on the boat!
This is my trip, you know... This is my day to bring home a juicy springer!
Gotta go get ready. Have fun, and I will too! :)

April 4th, 2003

I've had it happen so many times that it has become frustrating. I get cold, out on the Columbia, or out on Tillamook Bay, or during steelhead season, when ice hangs off the overhanging branches of the North Fork of the Nehalem. I glance down, and expect my casting hand to look the same way.
It can ruin a trip, or at the very least, make it uncomfortable.
That known, you can imagine what a relief it is to know that I am over that! Done! Won't happen again! --and it's all thanks to USIA!
I've always been a fleece nut. Not just any fleece, but you know, the quality fleece you feel on some articles of clothing at specialty stores.
The thickest, the softest, the most expensive fleece of all fleeces! I've been known to hold it up to my face, just to feel how soft it is! It's true. It's like your best teddy bear!
You can imagine, then, how incredible it felt to try on my first Exotherm 1. Sixteen ounce fleece covering my whole body! I was told, when I put it on, to wear very little underneath while wearing my dry suit, as moisture will be looking for a place to escape.
I'm finding it hard, at times, to look forward to summer, because I know I won't need to wear this as often. The cold temperatures of this week have been a delight to me. A perfect excuse to wear these, 24/7!

Even if you don't fish. Even if you don't expose yourself to the cold temperatures of the outdoors much, I feel that everybody should have a pair of these! Just to wear around the house, if nothing else!
But take it one step further. Say you are an out of doors type, and you need more protection than even the Exotherm One provides. With the comfort and warmth of the Exotherm One, add a wind and water resistant shell, and you have the Exotherm Two!


Exotherm II ( right ) is a 16 oz fleece one piece jumpsuit with water and wind resistant outer shell, hand warmer pockets, inside breast pocket wind guard, knit stretch panel across the upper back, with foot and thumb loops. Order is all black or with color accents.

The Exotherm Two is designed to fit under my dry waders, and my wet waders, and the same, warm and soft fleece lay against my skin.
No more shuffling for which is the warmest sweater, or how many layers of turtle necks I need. One suit, I'm done!
It's really incredible stuff. When I'm home, lounging around after a long day on the Columbia, like yesterday, I wear the Exotherm one. Kilchis thinks I am a teddy bear, and tries to attack me!
Yesterday I put the Thermolux Two to the test, out on the Columbia, with Pete Morris, Bill Hedlund, and Bill Snyder. They are all witnesses! I didn't shiver once! It hailed, it rained, it blew sideways, and I smiled through the entire day!
Yes, the proper fishing gear is important to a successful day on the river. The right rods, the right lures, and tight lines... But I'm convinced, and surely you will be too, that the proper dress is the one most important piece of gear, if you want to stay at it as long I do!
Exotherm and Thermolux is the key to enjoying my sport during the worst of weather. Funny how it happens, but it is indeed, in the worst of weather, that I've found the most success in my fishing.
If your wife is a fair weather fisher woman, try her in a pair of these! It's amazing, the difference it will make!
-- But make sure you get a pair for yourself. It would be very unfortunate, (and somewhat embarrassing) if during the hot bite, you froze out before she did.
Visit USIA here!

April 7th, 2003

Ugh. My body feels heavy. Last night, exhausted, laying in bed, I couldn't get comfortable. Too hot, too cold! I just wanted to jump out of my skin! I think... I really think, I have the flu, or some other viral bug. Ish.
It only makes sense, though. I have been burning the candle at both ends. This server change had me really stressed out. The guy that I dealt with at that company was really bizarre, and I have never been treated the way that he treated me, in my entire life. I'm SO glad to be rid of that company, and SO glad to be in the hands of people I trust.
Glancing at my calendar, I have something penciled in almost every day, with more than one appointment on many of those days.
Thank God for the donation drive, which will help me with the server expenses. I have hand written perhaps 150 thank you cards, addressed them, and sent out decals for everyone that has responded. I am thankful, and by golly, I'm going to show it! Without ifishers, ifish wouldn't be, and without ifishers that help out, ifish would be sluggish and slow! :) Thank you so much, everyone!
I woke up this morning, took the kids to school, and put up a new contest with Chris Nordling of Catchsomefish.net. He has given us a drift trip for two! Thanks, Chris! As soon as he checks it out for errors, I'll post it!
I'm doing contests nearly every day during April, to give away goodies on the board. I have asked Shane Stewart to help me, and do some of these contests for me. It'll be a hoot! I just love giving away stuff. In fact, it's probably my favorite part of the job-- But right now, my plate is full, and I'm stuffed! :)
Then, I did some updates on some non ifish clients, and found my A drive isn't working again. I give up on floppies, OK? Transferred the site to a zip disk, and I'm doing much zippier, thank you very much.
The rest of the day is devoted to down time. I need to rest. I could be fishing, but I used my very best strong voice, and said, "No, Jennie, no fishing! Jennie must rest!"
So, with some handy dandy new vitamins and a bottle full of my Wellness Formula, I'm going to proceed to walk upstairs with a pot of tea, and a good book, and do just that. REST.
But--- I have to go to the vet, get Kilchis's shot records, and go to the college to sign up for an obedience class! I have to go to the bank, and to the post office, and mail out some more "Thank You" notes! I have to go to the store, and get orange juice and veggies! --and I have to catch up on the discussion board! --and plant some plants I planted in mulch pots because they are molding, and plant my begonia tubers, and feed the birds, and do the dishes and vacuum and dust! I'm supposed to write another tech article for OWAA. I have to pay the bills, and learn how to use my new Quick Books program, and... I really would like to fish, too!
Life... There is just never enough time in an ordinary day to get everything done that I'd like to do! Yes, daylight savings time helps. It adds a couple more hours to do these things. But, still... I'm ever more behinder.
So, knowing that, and feeling how heavy my body feels, and feeling the dull ache in my head, I'm just going to admit that I'll never, ever, in a million years get caught up and do it all.
...and I'm going to bed. Really, I am.

April 8th, 2003

I'm fairly bright, I think. I mean, I am able to do many things, and although I have never taken an IQ test, I would bet it would come out alright.
Why is it, then, that I'm so thick skulled?
Yesterday, knowing full well that I didn't feel well, I totally over did it!
And just now, Bill pulled out of the driveway to go catch a springer, leaving me behind, with a sulk and a sniffle and an ache.
Yes, I went to the store, and ran errands. Yes, like I said I wouldn't, I went to the bank, and the vet, and the post office. I came home and cooked a nice dinner, while complaining to all around, how badly I felt. I worked hard on ifish. I got SEVERAL projects completed and uploaded... and I complained.
My intention, yesterday, was to rest. I didn't! I pay now!
I heard that yesterday just wasn't very hot on the Willamette. I guess it depended on where you were, but I spoke to a number of guides who usually catch their share of fish, (and more), who didn't run into many yesterday.
So, you know what that means? They are going to nail them today, while I'm home sniveling!
It's so odd, and sad to have the Kilchis closed. I have walked out on the beach a couple of times now, and it is entirely beautiful! The water, probably the prettiest steelhead green I have seen! Talk about temptation!
I can just see me now. "Yes, officer, I am fishing. I couldn't help it."
Kilchis got over his limp on his front right foot, then it went to his front left foot, then... a week later, it went to his back right foot! Now, he seems to be alright, but he is again favoring his front right a little bit.
The first pigeon of the season, and the first white crowned sparrows have shown up. They mingle amongst hundreds of junco, who haven't left yet. I always hope that the junco will summer here, but they haven't yet. I do see them, however, down the road in the summer. I wonder why? My hummingbirds are increasing in number by the day. I probably feed around 6 of them now, and my stove is busy, boiling sugar water for their heavy consumption. I'll never forget the year that I witnessed the huge migration of hundreds of them, all in one day. A thick, black cloud of hummingbirds who together, made a loud, ominous humming noise as they approached the house. Amazing!
Today, I have the house to myself. The kids will soon leave for school. I would tell you that I am going to relax today, but I am learning that it doesn't matter what I say. The minute I lay down, I think of the neato things that I could be doing, and I simply rise and go do them, without a thought.
Part of me wants to grab a fly rod and go whip some flies around the Wilson. Or go to a local stocked lake and try some dry flies? These, with a rising fever, and a headache, are the angling dreams of the truly sick.
I better take along a kleenex and some aspirin.


April 9th, 2003

I do celebrate the freedom of the people of Iraq! I pray that our troops are in less danger, and that the rest of this goes well!
It was so interesting to watch the troops and the Iraqi people together, celebrating. It gave me goose bumps!
Dudley and Bill fished the Willamette yesterday and didn't do much. Didn't see much, in their area, either. So, I didn't miss anything, I guess, and I got alot done, staying home.
Off to the dentist with the kids, now.
I'm going to hit the Columbia tomorrow, and let me tell you right now:
Tomorrow, will be MY DAY!!!!
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the men and women who put their lives at risk to free these people from this evil dictator.
My heart is deeply saddened, and goes out to the families of thousands of Iraqis and to the U.S. soldier's families and parents, who have lost people that they love.
Did I tell you that seeing that statue come down gave me goosebumps? It did.


April 11th, 2003

Lesseee.... It's 5:30 in the morning, the kids have multiple days off of school. Bill is getting ready to go springer fishing with Jim. I'd like to go, but, for some strange reason, I have a real job lately!
Ifish has taken on huge dimensions in my life, and keeps me running. With 5000 people visiting ifish daily, and needing little bits of help here and there, I spend my days answering e mails, deleting ads, changing monikers for people, adding new clients, and now, with the fundraiser, writing down amounts, tallying, writing thank you notes, stamping, addressing, and mailing out tons of gratitude.
Fishing? What is fishing? Jennie's "Fishing Life" column has lost it's "fishing!" Somehow steelhead season passed me by with a fraction of the trips that I usually went on. It started last summer, with the "too busies!" Now, is it going to continue into Springer season?
So far, it has. This is the second trip Bill has gone on, without me. I have decided to put it to a stop! I just can't let this happen. Life is too short, and darnit, I'm not!
So, in a first effort to start enjoying life more, and start working less, I called my internet attorney.
I have had multiple different offers from assorted folks who have ideas about ifish. Anywhere from making ifish.net it's own ISP and selling domain hosting, to having someone sell ads for me, to someone else, who is an internet business specialist, who has offered to turn ifish into a portal site with a redesign, so that it will be more automated.
The last guy promised me that all I'd have to do after he started to help me, was to be a consultant, write my column, and be present on the board occasionally. Otherwise, he'd have me fishing, (even in Mexico, Bahamas, etc.!!!) going to shows, and smiling for the camera! Could it be true? This is starting to sound really, really good!
All I know, is that at this point, I need help. I was never trained in marketing, nor sales, business administrator, nor editor. I am a pianist, for gosh sakes, with a deep and unending love for fishing. I have learned the lesson that I'd heard before,
"Pick something you love, passionately, and stick with it. You will succeed." It's true! It's not luck that happened to ifish, it was a deep passion that runs through my veins. That passion is fishing, plain and simple.
I also love music with a passion. I can say that I was successful with that, also, but when my eyes began to dim, and I couldn't read music as well, I needed a change of pace.
The same thing is happening here. My body was not cut out to do a full days work, let alone, the long days of sitting at the computer that I am doing. I just can't do it. I get sick when I overdo it. Really sick.
Problem with me, is that when I get passionate, I have a great will to do things. Greater than what my body can truly handle. That's hard to admit, you know? But, I give. It's true. I get so excited about things, and start off on a dead run. I keep running, through excitement about it. Then, I push too far. When my legs don't want to travel, my mind forces them to, and pretty soon I fall. When I do fall, I'm down, bigtime. Sometimes for two days. Sometimes, more.
Then, I get behind. Then I get behinder... When I start to feel better, I get the passion again to catch up, and the whole cycle starts again, and pretty soon I'm saying no to fishing. No, to friends calls, no, to my kids offer to play games, and no to the very essence of what is really important in life.
I don't want to miss out on these things, so I am going to change things. I need a balance. I need to fish, and be with my kids, and sit, for hours, like I love to, and watch the birds out of the kitchen window.
The first step, my attorney advised, as did my business planner, is to find skills that I am weak at, or that I don't enjoy, and get help.
The funny thing is, that with all my work done, I'm finding that I don't have time, to seek help! Isn't that ironic? I must make time!
I must admit, even the first very brief meeting (months ago) with my business advisor, took a huge burden off my shoulders! Then, with a false sense of change, I put off doing his assignments.
So, it's back on that track. I'm making phone calls next week, meeting with prospective business partners, that have called in the past, seeking a plan for ifish that stays current with my vision for this site in the first place.
It's not easy sharing ifish. Ifish is my baby, and no one loves my kids like I do. But, it's time. It's kind of like ifish is 18, now, and I need to let go a bit. Let go, so that I can live again! After all, when the kids leave the roost, don't parents get more time for themselves?
I can feel it now. Spring is coming, and there will come a day when I can wake up, not see a list of things to do a mile long, that make me not able to see the finish.
I'll walk out to the deck, like I've done in the past, still in my pajamas, and the sun will shine, and I will put off getting dressed for half the day. I'll just sit, soak up the sun, watch the eagles sore over the river, and drink coffee for way too long.
Then, I'll hear the roar of Bill's engine, and the boat trailer clanking as it settles onto the trailer ball.
I'll race to the shower, put on my fishing clothes, grab my gear, and we'll be off!
I'll always be a part of this site. That, I am not willing to give up. But I need help, and by golly, I'm not too proud to ask. So, it's off to past e mails of offers, that I have filed neatly away with responses of, "Thank you for your offer, but at this point, I'm not interested."
I am interested now.
I'll never stop loving ifish the way I do now, and it will always be my baby. I just need some help with it, so that I can revive the "fishing" in my Jennie's Fishing Life.

April 11th, 2003

Lesseee.... It's 5:30 in the morning, the kids have multiple days off of school. Bill is getting ready to go springer fishing with Jim. I'd like to go, but, for some strange reason, I have a real job lately!
Ifish has taken on huge dimensions in my life, and keeps me running. With 5000 people visiting ifish daily, and needing little bits of help here and there, I spend my days answering e mails, deleting ads, changing monikers for people, adding new clients, and now, with the fundraiser, writing down amounts, tallying, writing thank you notes, stamping, addressing, and mailing out tons of gratitude.
Fishing? What is fishing? Jennie's "Fishing Life" column has lost it's "fishing!" Somehow steelhead season passed me by with a fraction of the trips that I usually went on. It started last summer, with the "too busies!" Now, is it going to continue into Springer season?
So far, it has. This is the second trip Bill has gone on, without me. I have decided to put it to a stop! I just can't let this happen. Life is too short, and darnit, I'm not!
So, in a first effort to start enjoying life more, and start working less, I called my internet attorney.
I have had multiple different offers from assorted folks who have ideas about ifish. Anywhere from making ifish.net it's own ISP and selling domain hosting, to having someone sell ads for me, to someone else, who is an internet business specialist, who has offered to turn ifish into a portal site with a redesign, so that it will be more automated.
The last guy promised me that all I'd have to do after he started to help me, was to be a consultant, write my column, and be present on the board occasionally. Otherwise, he'd have me fishing, (even in Mexico, Bahamas, etc.!!!) going to shows, and smiling for the camera! Could it be true? This is starting to sound really, really good!
All I know, is that at this point, I need help. I was never trained in marketing, nor sales, business administrator, nor editor. I am a pianist, for gosh sakes, with a deep and unending love for fishing. I have learned the lesson that I'd heard before,
"Pick something you love, passionately, and stick with it. You will succeed." It's true! It's not luck that happened to ifish, it was a deep passion that runs through my veins. That passion is fishing, plain and simple.
I also love music with a passion. I can say that I was successful with that, also, but when my eyes began to dim, and I couldn't read music as well, I needed a change of pace.
The same thing is happening here. My body was not cut out to do a full days work, let alone, the long days of sitting at the computer that I am doing. I just can't do it. I get sick when I overdo it. Really sick.
Problem with me, is that when I get passionate, I have a great will to do things. Greater than what my body can truly handle. That's hard to admit, you know? But, I give. It's true. I get so excited about things, and start off on a dead run. I keep running, through excitement about it. Then, I push too far. When my legs don't want to travel, my mind forces them to, and pretty soon I fall. When I do fall, I'm down, bigtime. Sometimes for two days. Sometimes, more.
Then, I get behind. Then I get behinder... When I start to feel better, I get the passion again to catch up, and the whole cycle starts again, and pretty soon I'm saying no to fishing. No, to friends calls, no, to my kids offer to play games, and no to the very essence of what is really important in life.
I don't want to miss out on these things, so I am going to change things. I need a balance. I need to fish, and be with my kids, and sit, for hours, like I love to, and watch the birds out of the kitchen window.
The first step, my attorney advised, as did my business planner, is to find skills that I am weak at, or that I don't enjoy, and get help.
The funny thing is, that with all my work done, I'm finding that I don't have time, to seek help! Isn't that ironic? I must make time!
I must admit, even the first very brief meeting (months ago) with my business advisor, took a huge burden off my shoulders! Then, with a false sense of change, I put off doing his assignments.
So, it's back on that track. I'm making phone calls next week, meeting with prospective business partners, that have called in the past, seeking a plan for ifish that stays current with my vision for this site in the first place.
It's not easy sharing ifish. Ifish is my baby, and no one loves my kids like I do. But, it's time. It's kind of like ifish is 18, now, and I need to let go a bit. Let go, so that I can live again! After all, when the kids leave the roost, don't parents get more time for themselves?
I can feel it now. Spring is coming, and there will come a day when I can wake up, not see a list of things to do a mile long, that make me not able to see the finish.
I'll walk out to the deck, like I've done in the past, still in my pajamas, and the sun will shine, and I will put off getting dressed for half the day. I'll just sit, soak up the sun, watch the eagles sore over the river, and drink coffee for way too long.
Then, I'll hear the roar of Bill's engine, and the boat trailer clanking as it settles onto the trailer ball.
I'll race to the shower, put on my fishing clothes, grab my gear, and we'll be off!
I'll always be a part of this site. That, I am not willing to give up. But I need help, and by golly, I'm not too proud to ask. So, it's off to past e mails of offers, that I have filed neatly away with responses of, "Thank you for your offer, but at this point, I'm not interested."
I am interested now.
I'll never stop loving ifish the way I do now, and it will always be my baby. I just need some help with it, so that I can revive the "fishing" in "Jennie's Fishing Life."

April 12th, 2003

Good morning! Had to get up early, even though I didn't go to bed till late. I am fin clipping today, at the Whiskey Creek Hatchery. Join us! It's really a blast, a great family event, and I'll have some hats for sale, if you don't have one yet.
Kilchis and I went to dog obedience class the other night! He taught me a lot!
No, seriously, we had tons of fun. Kilchis lives in a place where he doesn't get to interact with new dogs very much, so my main goal was to socialize him. After a few growls, we started to get along much better. He realized that most of those dogs just want to play. There were, however, a couple of dogs who wanted to bite. (Including a 9 month old Mastiff, who was 5 times his size!) Kilchis wanted to play with him, and the Mastiff... uh... didn't. All in all, we had a great time, and we are looking forward to next week. It's really fun to have something to do for just Kilchis and I. Kilchis is really very smart, and follows my eyes intently as we work as a team.
After I wrote my column below, I half heartedly waved good-bye to Bill as he went fishing, and a huge depression set into me. I wanted to fish SO badly... "Bye, Bill..."
It was no secret that I wanted to go.
All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind. I thought, I can get this work done, and drive down later. Then I thought, if I could only get this done, maybe I could go trout fishing, or fish on the Wilson, or...
I busily typed away, hammering little chips off of my "to do" list.
Pretty soon, I got a phone call, then another, then another... Things to do, piled up higher. Frustration mounted. The next phone call was Bill. He had driven to the Nehalem Boat launch, 45 minutes away, to meet Jim, and continue on the journey to Westport.
"Jennie?"
"Yes?"
"I just couldn't go without you. I got to the boat ramp and told Jim I had to go home. I'm on my way home."
"WHAT? You left Jim after making plans?"
"Yes."
Pretty soon, sure enough, here comes Bill down the winding road, towing the jet sled! I ran upstairs, pulled on my fishing gear, and ran to greet him in the driveway.
"Let's go!!!!"
So, we called Jim back, told him of our secondary plans, and headed out. I totally left everything undone! It was GOOD for the soul!
We didn't catch fish, but I always love fishing with Jim. Out of his gruff exterior comes comments that make me ponder things I wouldn't otherwise.
Little things, like on our way out of the harbor, there are boats, many years deserted. Lining the tidal flats. On their sides they lay, destroyed, beaten by weather, and abandoned. I'd seen them, but I'd never thought much of them.
Jim's comment? "I wonder how many shattered dreams lie there, and the stories they would tell?"
He pointed out some Osprey, and we talked in length about how to predict waves in the ocean. Did you know if you count the waves crashing to shore on the beach, you can multiply it by 2 and come up with the swell, fairly reasonably? We argued fish politics, and joked about nearly everything.
Oh yeah, and over Neahkanie, we came to a screeching halt where huge boulders had just fallen onto the highway! My nightmare comes true! I hate that part of the drive! It was scary... These rocks would have killed!
Anyway, yes, I am behind on work, and I have a huge weekend. Fin clipping this morning, then to Portland to the NW. Steelheaders Banquet and Auction. Tomorrow, to church in Clatsop Plains, and Monday, off to fish the Willamette.
Funny, we drove all the way to the Columbia, just because it was open, only to find out that the Willamette was red hot.
Fools rush in!

We had one strong takedown, all day, and that was the rule for all of the boats we talked to, out of Westport.
So, off to the shower I run... and all the behinder I go, on ifish.
It was worth it, though. I am so glad I went yesterday... and so very glad that Bill has a big heart.

April 13th, 2003

The NW Steelheader Banquet last night was fun! I'm on the run, with 5 hours of sleep, and off to play for church this morning.
I have to leave you with one thought that made a huge impact on me.
I love to listen to my favorite fisheries biologist and public speaker, Jim Martin. I'd buy a ticket to most anything that he speaks at.
The message he left us with last night, was this:
Suppose all of Oregon's fish were now gone. At that point, how much of your time and money would you give, to get them back?
This, my friend, is a question that should haunt you into getting off of your slack hiney, and into action.
It sure did mine.

April 15th, 2003

Wow! I have a day to myself!
Last night, I was so tired... Bill was in Portland, so the boys and I had a free for all dinner. My choice? A bowl of cereal in bed. While eating my bowl of cereal, I dozed off! I woke up at midnight with cereal all over the place. Whatamess!
Watched the news at midnight for a while, then fell asleep again. When the alarm went off at five, I didn't want to get up!
We drove to Portland yesterday, early, to fish the Willamette. The fish and river Gods are not cooperating with me. The river was high, strong, and muddy.
I fished for an hour, then told Bill that if I was going to take a whole day off to fish, today wasn't the day.
He took me to the boat ramp, and Kilchis and I drove home to work.
So, today, I'll take the boys to school and enjoy a full day of cleaning house, playing with my garden boxes and feeding and watching the birds.

Buddy


The golden and white crowned sparrows are here. Our squirrel, "Buddy" comes to visit often, and eats with the juncos!

Junco

I think that this time of year is my very favorite for watching the birds, the wild rabbits, and the squirrels and chipmunks. Everything is so busy that you can sit at the kitchen table for hours and see something new every minute!
...and that, my friends, is what I plan on doing today.

April 16th, 2003

The river, and the world all around me is still alive and gorgeous!
Last night, it all came to life for me, when I walked down to the river bank with Kilchis, just before dark. I got there, just in time to watch a small, (maybe baby?) otter slide into the water, and splash about.
Then, later, downstream, a bigger otter Ka-pluuushing her tail into the water, several times. I suppose it was to warn me, but instead, it delighted me! Kilchis, too!
I've been down to the river, again today, for much too long, but actually far to little!
Here are but a few of my treasures:


Imagine my delight, when I saw a piece of crystal poking out of this 10 inch boulder. I picked it up and smashed it on another rock. It split into pieces, and the whole insides were pure white, sparkling crystal!


Below is a small chunk of it, close up!
It's beautiful!


It's spring! It really is!
Join me for a walk around my yard:


A cherry blossom, close up.

Late daffodils!

Soft pastels...

Looks like butter. Yum!

Wow! Lush!

Oh Dear, a deer!

...and the river is finally greening up! Kilchis is delighted to be able to chase dippers clear across the river, and his favorite rock to swim to, below, is finally showing,
and covered with moss!


The water is receding and little patches of bright green grass are taking the place of soggy dead sticks and downed trees. You never know what kinds of fishing lures you will find embedded in these grasses from chinook and steelhead season! The Easter lure hunt is on!

O.K, so I've been out enjoying things a little too much! It's back to work for this girl. Still, as I put my batteries for my camera back in the charger, I feel one step ahead of things. I'm already recharged, and ready for just about anything you throw at me.

It's S P R I N G !

 

April 18th, 2003

I'll never forget back in about 1982, living in Cannon Beach. I knew the roads in the city like the back of my hand. No one traveled them much, in that day.
Routinely, I'd drive my little Toyota into town to get my mail, maybe stop by "The Round Table" where all the locals gathered to have coffee and discuss the highlights of the day.
I was on my way back home, one spring day, and I, just for a quick moment, glanced down at my mail. At that very instance, a small lab pup, probably 10 months old, darted out in front of me. I'll never forget the horrifying sound as my tires went over it's body. I left my car in the middle of the road, running, and ran after the pup, who was in shock, and laying in a field.
He was panting heavily, and died soon after.
I was devastated, and I guess, in shock. The owner of the dog kept trying to make me feel better. He kept saying, "I'll get another one! It's OK!" I still, to this day don't understand those words. Get another one? Replace your best friend? Huh?
I think he and I probably had different kinds of relationships with dogs.
The next thing I knew, I was in a neighbor's house, and I was really cold. They were serving me hot tea, saying that I shouldn't drive, until I calmed down. They thought I was in shock. I was in tears, and shattered.
I still don't know how to talk about what happened today. It seems surreal, like it didn't happen, and at the same time, I can't believe my fortune.
Yesterday, I had gone fishing, and gotten my mats all dirty in my car. I washed them out, and haphazardly threw them back in.
Today, Bill and I were quarreling. I don't even know what about. It was something silly.
Anyway, I got into my car, to go to the post office. I couldn't take Kilchis with me, so I was watching him carefully, as I backed out. He was to my right, clear of the car.
I didn't use any gas to back up. My foot gently tapped the brake.
With Kilchis, well out of the way to the side, and nothing in view in the front, I pressed the gas to move up the steep driveway, to the road. My engine raced, and it lurched oddly forward.
I head a sickening thud, as my car raised up and lowered. I didn't remember anything in the road there, and then, in my rear view mirror, I saw Dee Dee, run away from the car.
I threw the car in park, suddenly realizing what I had done, and ran for Dee Dee. My heart was thumping, racing, and everything came back to me about the dog I had run over in Cannon Beach.
I saw Bill run from the garage, and he was screaming at me...terrible things.
I felt awful. I was scared out of my mind. I love that dog as much as I love Kilchis, if not more, since I've known her longer.
Bill was holding her, and obviously, in semi shock himself. He wouldn't let me near her, kept shouting, "You ran over my dog! Get out of here!"
I have decided to forgive him this, since I think he wasn't thinking right. Right? In thinking, I suppose that was a better reaction than telling me it's OK and that he could just get another one. I think I can relate more to Bill, than the owner of the Cannon Beach dog. But still, it stung, clear to my heart.
I felt so helpless, and my stomach churned, and my eyes welled up in tears. That familiar, cold shaky feeling came back to me.
Finally, inside, we toweled off Dee Dee, who seemed to be alright, except for a cut underneath her eye, and on her chest. She was muddy, having been thrown to the ground in a mud puddle, but otherwise, still a happy Dee Dee?
I went back out to the car, and realized that my car mat was over my gas pedal, instead of behind it. Thus, the lurch forward. Perhaps, though, looking back, this may have been a blessing. Had I gone any slower, the damage may have been greater?
It's been two hours, and Dee Dee still seems to be doing alright. Perhaps a little sore, but alright.
I just don't get it though. How can an animal be OK after being run over by a Ford Explorer?
I don't know where on her body she got run over?
I am still sick, near to nausea about the whole thing. I think I've cried, dried up, and cried some more for about 2 hours now... and still, Dee Dee is OK.
I've held her in my arms and apologized over and over and over. I've given her cheese, and turkey and so many hugs I can't count.
This is not a good day. I keep playing it over and over in my mind. The sickening thump, the feel of the car going up and down, the vision of Dee Dee running from the car, of Bill yelling at me... of all these things... It's a nightmare.
But then again, as I said earlier, I can't believe my fortune. God only gives you as much as you can deal with. I think he knows that I couldn't deal with losing Dee Dee right now, or in this way.
It could have been much worse, and had it been any worse, I don't know how I could live with myself.
I'm having a hard time living with what happened, as it is.
Now excuse me for a bit... I feel those tears coming back again.

April 19th, 2002

When Dee Dee gets to go hunting, for three days afterwards, she stumbles and falls, has trouble getting up the stairs, and requires aspirin therapy.
I got up this morning, fully expecting this, or worse.
What a relief and surprise to see her nuzzle me in the morning to get up at 5:00! She wagged her tail, as if to say, "look, Mom! I'm all good!"
She walked down the stairs, perfectly, howled at the door to get out, and chased off after imaginary creatures of the night, with Kilchis!
She eats. She drinks. She goes to the bathroom just fine.... I think she's fine!
...my oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine coming my way,
Zippety doo dah! Zippety day!
No kidding. I am so relieved! I took her to the store this morning with me. I have to have her near me all the time, now, just to be certain!
I guess the Willamette is producing again! ...and where am I? On the coast!
I think I'll go hit one of the local rivers here for steelies today, just to dink around.
I'm going to my sister's in Lake Oswego tomorrow for brunch. It'll be good to see my Dad again, who is freshly back from Palm Springs.
Well, off I go.

Where is that zippity sunshine, by the way?
Off to the river with the dogs.

April 21st, 2003

Yesterday, we went to church, stopped on the way home at Rob's, for pancakes. I challenge anyone in this world to figure out their recipe for pancakes. Every time I go, I look around for a new waitress who may be willing to spill the beans. Nope! They hold onto their secret like a fishermen with a new egg cure.
Speaking of new egg cures... Bill left his Amerman egg cure out on the garage shelf, unsealed. What did he get? A solid block of egg cure. Wasted? No!
Bill, on Scott's advice, melted the cure in water, in a pan, on the stove, and used it to cure some fresh steelhead eggs we caught last week. They turned out just as good, if not better than the other Amerman eggs we cured. Cool! They are just beautiful!
Last night, I took Kilchis and Dee Dee for a long stroll on the river bank.
We all search for different things. Dee Dee is so slow, but lately, I've been just as slow as her. I was so tired! I played the piano at church and I played hard! Really difficult pieces, and on top of that, assorted classical pieces before and after. I felt like I had put on a concert. I did!
It was a relief to just stroll by the river. Every day, the river drops a bit, to reveal the shoreline that hasn't seen the light of day since last summer. New agates, that have fallen into the river from fresh mudslides catch my eye and fill my pockets.
It took a while to get the point across to my boys, but now they are satisfied that I am serious. The point is well engraved in their minds.
If they go down to the river, they MUST bring agates back to the driveway to deposit in our collection of beautiful agates. It's just the way it is.
David knows it. Andrew knows it. Bill knows it too, but still needs and occasional reminder. It's harder for the adults to remember. (I'm still a kid.)
So, nose down, all three of us, Kilchis, Dee Dee, and myself, scoured the river bank in search of treasures.
Kilchis found an old salmon skin, which I took to be about a month dead. That means that a Fall salmon died only a month ago? In March? Wow! Cool find, Kilchis! Now quit rolling in it! Dee Dee found some deer tracks, and I found about 6 new agates to add to the driveway of dreams down to the river. One of these days I'll take a picture of it. It's really quite amazing!
After our walk, we all trudged slowly back to the house. I glanced around in the evening light to find that all around me was a deep, soggy, beautiful green of spring. The evening clouds put an eerie glow on all of it. Fresh, clean, green spring. Perfect for Easter!
But where were my Easter Elk?
All day I had hoped to see them. I'll never forget two years ago, when I rose on Easter morning to find a whole herd of Easter Elk in my meadow. It was like truly "seeing" the Easter bunny!
...and so now, a new tradition has been born in our family.
The Easter Elk did indeed come to visit. How do I know? They left little baskets of goodies for Andrew, David, and Bill! Filled to the brim with new bird feeders for Bill, new socks for the kids, and assorted plastic eggs filled with candies and treats.
You may think that this is a bunnies job, but not at our house. We have bigger and better things planned.
We have the Easter Elk, and darn do they ever treat us well. . I'd like to see them hop some day, though.


April 20th, 2003

HOP HOP HOP!
Happy Easter! I have to run off to church now!
Jen

April 22nd, 2003

Bill and I will be in Salem at the capitol on Thursday, and so will you, right? RIGHT?
We can't miss this one! We are tired of this fight, and we want to make sure it is perfectly clear. There are thousands of people who want to save our hatcheries, RIGHT? Click here for more details.

It occurs to me lately, to make sure I don't wear hand lotion. I'm particular about what shampoo I use, or what cosmetics. I second guess almost everything I do. I'm not relaxed anymore. I'm tense, rigid, and apprehensive.
I stare at my rod tip, and talk to God. Next thing you know, I may even be washing my anchor rope with lemon joy. Maybe even scrub the bottom of the boat with the stuff, too.
I mentally prepare myself for what might happen next. If I feel a fish, do I feed him line and wait, or do I lurch at the first touch?
I go through mixed emotions faster than a mental ward patient.
Today is my day! I feel powerful, and positive and strong! I love to fish, and my passion for it will never cease!
Today is not my day, again. I will never catch a springer, and today is my last trip trying. I give up, and fishing is a pure waste of time.
What am I doing out here? I have work to do!
I need a mental doctor.
Hitting all of our favorite spots on the Willamette, yesterday, with a combined 7 bites on the boat, all missed, Bill and I were starting to second guess nearly everything.
Who am I? What am I doing out here?
I got a new Shimano reel. It's a 401 CT, and I've always wanted one. Is it bad luck? Had I bought an OKUMA instead, would I have fish?
Let me try a little Marie's Shrimp Scent. Now some Anise, now some sardine, now.... yes! I turned my back on Bill and slid a half of a cinnamon jelly bean on the shank of the hook! This will do it!
It did not do it. Perhaps lemon, instead? Lemon! Yes, Lemon joy-- lemon jelly beans!
This is the Jennie of luck, oh mighty salmon Gods! This is the Jennie that you can flip through your memory book and see fish of every color, shape and size on ifish.net!
Defying the odds Jennie! Remember me? The girl who roasts 11 steelhead in one day? The girl who outfished 5 guys on the Wind River and lay in the bow of the boat after my limit was caught, while the boys caught up? The Jennie who was told I'd never catch anything "that way" and proved otherwise, time after time after time?
Remember me?
Obliviously not.
Springer fishing is not pleasant, nor fun for me, lately. It's hard darn work, and I plan to keep at it. It's rainy and cold, so I have my Exotherm gear, and man, does that help!
It's exhausting, both mentally and physically, and requires long hours of travel for me.
Each day I go will be the day, and so far, it has turned out... not the day.
After Bill finally nailed our 8th bite, I whooped and hollered and netted the fish with glee! We had gone over the same exact spot countless times, and hooked a fish there, only to have it get away! I was so happy for him!!!!! ---for about 4 minutes.
Then, I sat myself down with a heavy heart and started again, that mental mania that drives me to wonder about my sanity.
I smelled my hands. I checked my hook tips, and ran my fingers down the monofilament leader. I adjusted the way I held my jaw. I layed out a various and sundry collection of attractants, lures, and... tried to adjust the tightly tied knots of a rotten mood.
I tried to tell myself I don't care. "This is only fishing", I said. "It's only fishing... it's only fishing..."
So why, when five minutes ago, I was smiling and netting Bill's fish was I now, secretly snarling at my worst enemy?
In my mind's eye, I played out the story. I pointed my finger at him in front of judge and jury. "That man caught a fish right in front of me! He is a terrorist, and now I fear for my fishing days! I cannot be at peace until it is put to a stop and we are on an even battlefield!!"
Where, oh where do these emotions come from?
Back to sanity, Jen, quick! Pull up! Pull up! Bill is not one of those guys on the deck of cards for the military, Jen! His only offense is catching more fish than you, consistently, in the last month!
On the ride home, Bill reminded me of his vast and lonely stretch of time, where I consistently outfished him for months on end. Of a dry spell he had, and handled it with maturity and finesse.
Although I remember that stretch of time, vaguely, I could not adopt a feeling of satisfaction from it. The whole ride home, I was either near to tears, upset, or fleetingly dreaming of the next trip, where indeed, I would again, be the Springer Queen!
It really doesn't matter to me, you know... if I catch or not catch. It's fishing I enjoy, after all... The beautiful days, the carefree breezes and the sound of the song birds on the shore....
Ah... the good life!
Gag! GIVE ME A BREAK!

April 23rd, 2003

Dang, sometimes it's tough to run ifish. I can barely keep my relations running smoothly with my family and close friends. Try remembering 4000 people's identities, and keep everyone happy.
In fact, I've never been really good socially... I'm not that cheerleader type that can make friends with just anyone.
But what happens, is that sometimes I know people by their moniker on the board, and sometimes I know them by their name. Sometimes someone on the board will do something really nice for me, and I remember them dearly, and then next time I meet them, they use their name, instead of their moniker, or vice versa.
Add to that fact that I've only known them through e mail, and then they get a blank stare, or a socially acceptable formal handshake, when I meet them in person. OOPS. Social fishing blunder!
Then, on top of all that, we have my vision problems that, on top of all else, skews the whole familiarity problem.
I think that visually impaired folks sometimes rely on other means than facial recognition when identifying people and friends. I know I do.
For instance, when I used to play piano in restaurants and bars, I would get so embarrassed when someone would come up to me and give me a tip, and ask for a song. I'd introduce myself, or act like they were new, and then find out they had been in the audience all week, enjoying my piano playing. Social piano blunder!
So, I'd either admit my visual faults, and tell them that when they came in, could they please get right in my face, and say, "Hi, it's me, Joe, and I've been here every night for a month." or I'd adopt a new policy when new folks walked in, I would smile real big, and act like I knew them, even if I wasn't sure! That one was tough on me, because I'm not a natural socially aggressive person, and it always seemed so... so... fake.
But I'll tell you, it works! People like to be greeted in that fashion! I saw that my tips increased, even if I was working out of the bounds of my natural or normal responses.
...and so, when I'm on the river, sometimes people yell out, "You are Jennie at ifish, right?" and I say "Yeah, HI!" with a big smile. It's not my normal reaction. My normal reaction would be something like this:
"No, yesterday I was running ifish. Today, I am just Jennie, fishing.. Who are you?"
Not that I'm not glad to be greeted, just that my curiosity of people get the best of me. I want to put a name to a moniker, a face to a name. I want the connection!
But if I asked, what if it were someone I should know well by now? The distance between two boats is usually so great that I can't make out a face, even if I did recognize them!
Anyway, it can be frustrating.
I have to question myself, and how to handle things. Most often, I ask Bill, or whoever I am with, "Do you know them?"
I go from a place, out here on the Kilchis where there is no one around except the birds, and the trees, and the river and the bees... to a public river!
So, I've decided, the only way to solve this, is to tell you right here, and now... If you see me on the river and want to say hi, you should board my craft, get right in my face, and say, "Hi Jennie... I'm fish 4 more on ifish, and I wanted to say hello."
This is because I absolutely refuse to try my other option, which would be trolling around with a huge smile on my face, greeting everyone on the river with a big, "Helllllllllllllllo!"
That's just too stupid, besides the fact that in the last five trips out on the river, I have been down right fishless. It's just darn near impossible for me to smile if I can't nail a springer.
Maybe next season, the perma fix grin will be real, and natural, and my tag will be full of scribbles, and my face will just glow!
I certainly hope so.
I can just see it now, though. I'll catch my limit, and be smiling away, and the next boat that comes by, I'll yell "HI!" with a big sunny, fish bonking smile!
It will be someone who has never heard of ifish, and will turn to their buddy and say, "Wow. That chick is really strange!"

April 24th, 2003

Pheh!
Get up at 5:00 A.M. Check on ifish. Shower at 6:00, Take the boys to school at 7:00... Come home to prepare to leave at 9:00 for the Salem hearing.
Drive with the boat caravan of 10 boats from Tillamook to Salem.
Fun!
Stay at hearing most of day.
Listen to many many people support 2260, and two lonely voices, including one angry person who likes the Nestucca all to himself, whine against it.
During his 3 minute speech, I held up a "Sportsfishing means business" sign, and got in trouble from the security guy. OOPS!
Come home at 5:00, pick up David from bowling. Pick up pizza for dinner. No time for cooking!
6:30 take David to school dance.
Come home.
7:00 Check on ifish, take aspirin for various aches and pains and go to bed!
Tomorrow:... much more relaxing... NOT!
5:00 Up and work on ifish and chug coffee.
6:00 Shower and eat more aspirin.
7:00 leave for Jennie and Andrew's yearly, very stressful echocardiagram to see if it is time for heart surgery... (or are we off, scott free for yet another 'who knows how long?' (Oh, please, God!)
9:00 Jennie's Echo in Portland
10:00 Andrew's echo.
12:00 Lunch.
2:00 Andrew's eye appointment in Lake Oswego.
4:00 Check into Hotel, Andrew, David and friend in one room, Jennie in another... all to herself!
5:00 off to the Salmon Quest Dinner in Vancouver!
11:00 Come home, crash!
Next day: Play with the kids in town... Ride max, go to the mall, go to music stores, play video games, see movie... PLAY!
Pheh!
P.S. Say a prayer for our tests... I do get stressed out about these! My aorta has grown to 4.5, and when I get to 5.0, they would opt for surgery. Yuck.

April 27th, 2003

Today, I try to pretend I do not have ifish.
I have been taken down a notch in thinking I will live forever.

I think that that is probably a good thing.
Invincibility: Foolishness.
The fact that both Andrew's and my aorta have stretched out a bit much, is a reminder that I need to not work so much. A reminder to play more, garden more, read more, sit quietly and watch the birds, and to appreciate life, and love and existence.
I was wrong about my aorta when I wrote last. Last year, it was 4.2 and now it is 4.5. Odd that I would say that earlier. Like I knew, or something.
Andrew's, however, took a big enough leap that it warrants being checked every 6 months now, instead of each year.
It was an odd feeling, as we spoke with the doctor. Who do I care most about? My life, so that I can live to see Andrew and David grow up? Or Andrew's life, so that I can live to see Andrew and David grow up? Whose death do I fear most? Andrew's death, or my own?
The thing is, I have heard people talk about which way they would prefer going. In their sleep, at home? By drowning? How?
It's odd to know that I will probably die in a way that I have read about, in the literature about Marfan. A sharp painful searing, that goes through my back, and into my chest.
I think I'd rather drown!
It brings me to remember my Grandfather's death, which I thought, a wonderful way to go.
My Grandfather defied many odds. He had polio when he was a young parent, and the doctors told him he would never walk again. My Grandfather walked again, against all odds. He then was diagnosed with Diabetes, and his vision was not good, yet he still did everything he wanted to, and so much more!
At the ripe old age of 87, my Grandfather worked late into the day, planting the garden, in the Spring of 1986. I remember, when I'd visit their farm, I would check his pockets for candy bars, kept in every jacket. We never took any, knowing that they were essential to his life for diabetic attacks, but we were so tempted!
My Grandmother told the story so very well.
Grandpa walked into the old century farmhouse, that still stands on the highway that goes from Forest Grove, not far from Pacific College, (Which my great, great, great Grandmother Tabitha Brown founded,) to Banks, and on to the coast.
The highways have all been changed now, and I recently went to visit, and got lost!
My Grandfather hobbled in, with the aid of his cane. He always had that cane, which aided his stride due to the effects that polio had on his legs. I remember seeing his legs, which were nearly all bone and skin, and very little muscle.
He opened the door, said to Grandma, "Well, Grandmaaaaa, (I can hear his voice, still!) It's been a good day. I got the last of the rows of corn planted."
And with that, on that very sunny spring day, my Grandfather collapsed into his chair. My Grandmother heard him fall, called 911, and although when they arrived, his heart was still fluttering, he passed away, shortly thereafter. He died, seemingly in no pain, and with an appreciation for life, and love, and the good day he had spent cultivating and planting the crops that had sustained their lives for so many years.
I still have my Grandfather's favorite reel, an old Mitchell 300. There was never a more serious, nor competitive angler, in the history of fishing.
My Father remembers my Grandfather and often comments on how he rarely said a bad word in his life, until it came to fishing outings.
When other boats would follow him around, he would finally get fed up, and say to the boats following their successes, "Brother, would you like to board our craft?" But he wouldn't say it in those exact words!
I can only imagine how he would feel now, as the rivers have crowded over capacity, and the banks have filled with shoulder to shoulder casting.
...and then, there is ifish! It's a crime!
I'd shutter to think of a trip where he'd blame me for his crowded fishing hole!
I remember, sitting with him in a boat, wordless, for hours, holding his rod arm out in an awkward, polio affected way, staring at his rod tip with the intensity that I have noticed myself doing.
I suppose it's an inherited trait.
I loved my Grandfather beyond words, both for our shared love of fishing, and for our combined experience with health difficulties.
My Mother and Grandmother often commented how Grandpa felt an affinity towards me, because of my medical problems, and how he could relate to them.
He always referred to me as his "little Jennie."
Well, Grandpa, "little Jennie" is thinking of you, and realizing that I need to spend more time doing what is important in life.
My Grandfather's life is a reminder to me, to play more, garden more, read more, sit quietly and watch the birds, and to appreciate life, and love and existence.
I am going to dedicate my day today, to my Grandfather, and go on a trout fishing trip. I think he would like that, and so would I.
I'm going to go find that Mitchell 300, and hold it close to my heart.

April 29th, 2003

Steelhead fishing in April! I love it!
Steelhead fishing in warm weather! I wore a sleeveless shirt most of the day, as I floated down the Wilson river with Jim Erickson and Bill.
We knew that there probably weren't many fish. "This is boat ride, a mostly a get together and talk, trip." Erickson commented, but not necessarily in those words.
I hooked two, both on the prettiest pink Brad's Wee Wiggler that you have ever seen! It perfectly matched my lipstick!
-- and by the way, if you do see it, it's still at this spot at the end of the drift near the bridge where I nearly ALWAYS lose my plug! When will I learn? There is a slot that is kind of a last chance slot, and it looks so entirely fishy... and every time I get there, I hear my Dad's words. "Jennie, if you aren't losing gear, you aren't fishing right!"
Well, Dad, I'm fishing right, right there! There is a collection of my favorite plugs right there, and come summer, I'm going to put on my shorts, and wade up the river and see how many I can retrieve.
This one was my absolute favorite! It consistently outfished both my fellow angler's plugs on both sides, more than once.
Who needs shorts? I feel like wading in to retrieve it right now! Argh! I hate losing favorite plugs! It's like the ultimate sacrifice to the river!
Anyway, I landed one slightly burnished hen, and hooked one heck of a beautiful bright broodstock fish, that appeared, from a distance, to be very substantial... or over 15 pounds, anyhow.
I was holding my rod at the time, checking for tangles with Bill's lure, because his had stopped working. All of the sudden, "Whoa! Fish on!" I know from experience that it's tough to hook a steelie while a plug rod is in my hands. As much as I love to feel the bite, as much as I know to keep still and not jerk back, my land ratio is just not as good as when the fish hits against the sharp knock of a rod holder.
I held still and frigid while my heart pounded and the fish whomped the rod up and down. I felt him moving away and I finally pulled up on him. The beautiful slab of steel came bursting through the still, glassy waters, gave one explosive 'leap and twirl' and dissolved back into the water, as if in a movie played backwards. The water gradually mended it's wake, the spray of water settled, and my plug shot past my ear and behind me. It all happened so quickly that all three of us glanced around at each other, speechless for a moment and then spoke, all at once.
"Did you see how bright that was?"
"It was finclipped!"
"Big, beautiful steelie!"
...and I, unable to move, line limp by my side, was left staring at the glassy, motionless water, replaying what I swore I just saw, and felt, and experienced. A jolt of surprise that left me stifled and breathless. I questioned the accuracy of my memory.
I once again glanced downstream. No sign of a fish. No sign of broken water. No shadow nor permanent imprint of the flying fish I swore was just there!
The sunlight teasingly shimmered on the dead water below our boat.
It was a total mirage, right? Like a man walking in the desert, dying for thirst and stumbling for a water fountain, right?
I have been so fishless, as of late, that even the thought or dream, or the flash of the fish I felt feeds me.
I'm fairly certain it happened, but I certainly can't prove it. I'm not so certain that it really matters, anyhow.
Ask Jim. Ask Bill. They think they saw it, too!
If a mirage in the desert so satisfies my thirst, then let it be!

April 30th, 2003

With a lazy yawn, on the last of my errands, I stopped off at the Bay City Post office. Slid out of my seat, and was hit by a rush of warm, spring air.
I have a couple angels that I look forward to seeing in my daily travels, and my post office gal is one of them. Always cheerful, always laughing, she leaves me with a message of hope that helps me through my day. I feel like the song, "You know they are a Christian by their love, by their love..." is so true, by the encounters I have with people. She is one, and one that I look forward to seeing. That's why I usually save the post office, for last.
With that note, I greeted her with a smile, told her I was a bit tired, a bit hassled, and headed towards my box. "I got a package!" I exclaimed. I always love getting packages, and lots of times, we open them together.
This time, however, I just headed to the truck. I hesitated. Open it now, or at home? NOW! I opened it up, with absolutely no idea what the contents could hold.
It was a tie dye shirt, with a nice note from ifish member, Fast Water, with a note that began,
"Here is a spring time gift to help brighten things up a bit. There always seems to be clouds over our heads during the winter and the harshness of the wind, and the rains of the season, can, at times, seem unrelenting and unfair.
But spring is here, and hope springs eternal! Flowers bloom, and birds return! Sounds of life reborn to life and rejuvenate the soul!
The electronic world can be a harsh and stark place to live in.. The only thing that makes it bearable is a community of people founded in common interests or beliefs. But are there seasons in the electronic world?
I tie dyed a bunch of tee shirts just before Easter and I would like you to have this one as just a knock around shirt.
Take time to enjoy Spring!"
I immediately ran back into the post office, with a huge smile, and renewed joy, and couldn't get the words out fast enough!
"Now, how can you have a bad day when there are people like this out there?"
She read the note, admired the shirt, all the while, her big, joyous "Isn't life a picnic!" attitude shining through.
Thank you, Fast Water! Thank you, Spring! --and Thank you, God, for Fast Water, and for the post office lady, who I have spent so much time with on rainy days, as we ponder situations, and on sunny spring time days, as we spend time sharing, and discussing your plans for our lives, our world, and Your Wonder!
Take a minute to read Stan's new column... speaking of Springtime... and bass!
I'm off to Portland to take Andrew into the doc-- then home, then back again tomorrow at 3:30 AM, sharp, to fish with Bill Monroe, and The Oregonian's embedded reporter in Iraq! FUN! He promised me a Springer you know... PROMISED!!!!

 

 


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