Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

October 2012

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fall leafOctober 1, 2012

Happy October! Hey! I'm first on that one!
Wow. Can you believe? October? It's still like summer!
Anyhow, I put up the Kwikfish contest! Please feel free to enter and get your whole family in on it! Sit down after dinner or something, and make it a date!
I went to Freddies yesterday and they had Christmas stuff out! This is so whacky! So early!

fall leafOctober 4, 2012

Click to zoom

Photography by Andrew Martin

I see things out of Andrew's eyes.
I'm making progress. I have gone from thinking about Andrew every moment, to now about every other moment. I'm moving on. I hate to move on, though. In a year or so, I bet the vision in my mind of Andrew will be fuzzier. It won't break my heart as badly. I'll never forget, but I'll move on. I'm not sure I like that, but I guess that is how we heal.
I was picking blueberries a bit ago. "Andrew, is that you, shining that warm sunshine in my eyes, so that I can see the big, dark, ripe berries better?
The sunshine was bright against the blue sky. The shadows from the bushes hid the berries, until the sunshine lit them.
I have plans for these late blueberries. Even though they are a bit Fall-tart, they will go well in cornbread. Oh, Andrew loved it when I first discovered putting blueberries and a bit of cinnamon sugar in my cornbread.
No one loved food like Andrew.
You know that saying that you should "approach love and cooking with reckless abandon"? That's Andrew! The web rumor is that this quote is from the Dalai Lama, but not so. The Dalai Lama doesn't do chain e mails! I don't know where that quote came from, but it really does describe Andrew.
Andrew LOVED.
I went out to play with Revvie and Willie this morning. I was still in my bathrobe, and made it clear out to the river, before I sat my chair down. My slippers were soaked, and so, the edge of my robe. I was chilled until I found a place direct in the morning sun. I had taken the duck chair to sit and adore the river, to have my coffee there while the dogs played.
The whole scene was an exotic orange, just like the picture, above. The river was glass-like and totally still, and up from the shore rose a cliff of fiery maple leaves and jagged rock, lit up from the sun. The river reflected it, just as orange. Again, my eyes filled from Andrew's eyes. Exactly the same color he saw when he took the picture above. Exotic orange. That should be the name for an oil color. Instead of Burnt Umber, maybe- or a cousin to burnt umber. "Exotic orange".
I know exactly the moment on the road, above. I wasn't with him, but I've seen it, a million times. The time of day; the feeling in the air. I just wasn't nearly as capable of capturing it on film like Andrew did. He had an amazing eye for photography. He could capture pictures of animals that I never could. Like this one!

Click to Zoom

Photography by Andrew Martin

I love that picture! I could never capture that! How did he do that? I've seen Willie like that! Capturing it, though? Huh uh! Not me! He had the ability to capture things on film that I only had in my mind's eye.
So, who will take pictures now? Who will make me laugh like Andrew did? Who will soften my heart when I'm mad or upset, like he did? Who will break the silence of a sunset with his guitar, softly playing?
I could be so upset at something Andrew did, and two seconds later, he'd have me smiling or laughing but for sure, loving him. He was just a lovable sort. His many good friends are a testament to that.
I walked by Andrew's open window a summer ago, and remember thinking how sad I was that he wasn't there, that season to play "berry fairy" with me. I'd walk by the window in the years of him growing up, and yell, "Berry fairy!" I'd hand him the best of the season's crop in a slightly mushy handful.
I was so sad that he wasn't there. But, at that time he was alive. Just not present. Now, he will never ever again be in that window, or any window! How am I going to get thru this? By this? Over this?
I guess I won't. A hole in my heart, never to be filled.
David and I feel that hole, and we hug, now, like never before. We realize, now, how fragile life is. We love each other. We hug hard. We hug long. Kind of like not wanting to let go, just in case...
It does happen. People die. They leave us. I know that, now. We knew it before, but we really know it now.
Go hug someone you love.
Willie loves berries. We went from the blue berries to the raspberries, and picked the last of the crop and ate them. One for Willie. One for me. One for Willie. One for me.
Then, onto the blackberries. That took some hunting, but we found a few and they were warmed by the sunshine and heavenly sweet!
I held out my hand to give a couple to Willie. "Berry fairy!" I said to him, as he gobbled them up.
I smiled. He did, too.
We all move on.

fall leafOctober 4, 2012... later
In my mail:

Clancy Holt, longtime fishing guide, is having a GIANT fishing garage sale this Friday-Saturday, 8-4:30 p.m, October 5 & 6. When we say GIANT we do mean just that. Fishing rods, reels, tons of tackle, and much of that, brand new. We also have a 1993 fifth-wheel, good condition, great for hunting etc...27 ft long.
Address: 910 U.S. Highway 12, Chehalis, Washington 98532. From I-5 take exit 68 (White Pass Highway) We are due east appx. 5 miles from freeway.
Just past milepost marker 70.. top of the hill. For information, please call Clancy on his cell @ 360-880-0409. See you all soon.

October 8, 2012

I love Willie's baby voice. He doesn't use it until he's over here, playing with Rev. Then, he puts it on and it really makes me smile. A blast from the past! He's over a year old, now. He's not a baby, but he sure sounds like one when he's over here!
It's pure, childhood joy for him to play with big Revvie. They really love each other.
You should see how happy the Revster gets, when he hears my car coming down the lane. They really do need to live together. They are a pair to draw to, for sure!
We are teaching Willie not to go after the chickens. So far, no problems. We put him on a leash and go into the chicken cage, and all Willie cares about is the treats that Bill throws to the chickens!
We have a problem, and it's keeping us from fishing. It's called "Willie".
Don't get me wrong. Willie is a great fishing dog. He's really no problem. No problem, like taking a camera fishing. It's really no problem! But-- if you want to actually take good pictures during a fishing trip, you should dedicate your time to taking pictures, alone, and not fishing.
I learned this when I first started to write and share my writing. You really can't do a good job of fishing, writing, or photography, if you combine any of the two. So, choose one or the other.
I can't fish well, if Willie is around. He's still learning how to be an independent dog. Actually, Rev is the same. Can't fish well, if Rev is in the boat.
If only they'd just lay in the bow (Lay? Lie?) we'd be good to go. But, no! It's "Give me a treat! Give me a love! Pet me! I want water! I want to potty, now!"
So, both Bill and I get frustrated at the thought, and just stay home.
The problem is that Willie is not kennel trained, and we are also afraid of leaving him alone in the house. Will the leather couch still be there, if we leave him in the house?
We used to just leave Kilchis and Rev in the house, alone. No problems. I never kennel trained the Kilchman dog.
But, Willie? He's still a punk kid, and still not to be trusted, totally.
"So leave him in the kennel!" I hear you shout.
:( Wah. I'm a baby. I spoil my dogs rotten! I'm afraid to leave him in the kennel! Way back when he was a pup, I tried. He worked himself into such a fit of fuss that he hyperventilated!
It may take some time, but we are leaving him in the kennel, while we are home, for increasingly longer intervals. He seems to be better. We worked up to almost an hour, yesterday. Still OK!
So, perhaps it's me, again, that needs to be kennel trained.. (You think?)
I just don't like it, though! I wish he could stay in the house, where it's comfy and he has a couch and a television to watch. I just think about the rain and the wind, and the cold.
Oh, brother. Am I that sick?!
Don't answer.

PS: I just made it thru an entire column without mentioning Andrew, my broken heart, etc. I am coming around. There is joy in the world, without Andrew. I just have to find it!
Never, ever will we forget my magical young man, but we can enjoy life, still. We must. Andrew would want it that way.

fall leafOctober 8, 2012Andrew Photography later....

Better late, than never! All four of us are going to fish the bay! Willie, Rev, Me and Bill! I'm going to catch a fish! You watch! I MUST get back into doing things!
And just to prove me wrong, I'm taking my camera, my dogs, and my notebook with me! Whoo hooo! Here we go!

fall leafOctober 12, 2012

It's finally raining! Willie and I went out and did a rain dance. The soil in Oregon City is so full of clay that it just gets rock hard and the rain rolls off! I'm very disappointed in my soil, and didn't even think about that, when I bought a home. Oh, how I miss the soft, nutrient rich soil of the coast, and of Canby, where I grew up. I didn't think that it would be so different!
No wonder bark dust is so popular, here!
Bark dust gives me shivers, remembering back to my youth and those awful slivers you'd get in people's yards, who had bark dust. I never got over that! Still don't like the stuff. Slivers or not!
Speaking of my childhood, I got stung by a bee, yesterday and had absolutely no reaction! I'm allergic to bees, I thought! At least I was, before I was treated with weekly shots, as a child. I hadn't been stung since then. Ouch! It hurt, but no swelling or anything! Cool!
So.... This is how it happened. I have to kind of talk about it. Or, write about it. I think it might help. It might not, but here goes.
You know, I think I'm still in shock. I go into Andrew's room, and everything seems like he is just gone for the day. I found Andrew's coat. David and I were talking about it, because I bought them identical coats one year. Well, one brown and one black wool coat/blazer like thing. They are really nice, and I said to David, "Well. Now I guess you have two of them."
The things I say seem callous, sometimes. I mean, let's see. Andrew is gone, so now you have two coats, David! Wow! Cool, huh?
After I said it, David and I stood there in the quiet. I was holding the arm of Andrew's coat, and I just fell into it, smelling him still there in that coat, and I said to David as the tears fell, "It seems like he isn't really gone."
David readily agreed. A little too much, I thought, and it worries me. Is David OK? Andrew was his best, closest person/friend/brother. They were 13 months apart, and nearly inseparable, even when they'd probably rather not have been quite so close! They were just so close! They could read each other's mind, finish each other's sentences, talk, without speaking.
We were a threesome. That's for sure. All of the things a threesome does, we were. We did two against one, quite often. Most of the time, it was David and Andrew against me, but every once and a while, I was blessed with the agreement of one or the other of them. Now, it's just David and I. We agree a lot, these days. It's comforting, I guess. We have a lot to agree with each other about. We both miss Andrew like crazy. Is it healthy to disbelieve that he is really gone? Still? Maybe at first, that's healthy, I think.... but still? I don't know. I don't know what is normal, and what is not. Most people say that whatever you feel during a time of grief is normal. That's good.
... I got up that morning, just like any other morning. It was an ordinary instant, just like any other ordinary time in anyone's life. I got up. Made coffee. Took Willie out and played flashlight a bit.
I grabbed my netbook and started to read my mail and the mod board on ifish. The sun was shining and it was calm out. Willie was laying in his favorite chair, as I worked. Everything was normal. Sargie the cat, rubbed up against my leg, wanting food, I thought... Now that I look back, I think he was overly needy that morning.
The night before, David had picked Andrew up at the bus station. He had been at a friends home overnight. David brought him a piece of pizza when he went to pick him up, and Andrew was so excited. He was starving, and when he got home, he told me how thankful he was and how excited he was that I had gotten pizza.
Tammy and I got in the hot tub. We do that most nights, and we talk girl talk and giggle. Andrew retired to his room, and so did David. The house got quiet. I slept, just like any other night's sleep.
As I was working on ifish, I felt I could better use my laptop, since there was real work to do, that morning. I was going to write a column or something. I can't recall why... but I wanted my laptop.
I went to get it, and.... it was gone. Again! Darnit! Andrew KNEW that when he borrowed my laptop, he was to return it so that it would be charged by morning!
I was letting Andrew sleep in. Usually, by that time of morning, he'd be up and off to take Willie for a walk. I didn't think it strange that he was sleeping, as he had probably been up late with his friends, the night before.
But now? Now, I needed my laptop.
I said to Willie, "Let's go wake the Roo."
He wagged his tail and followed. He loved Andrew. He knew right where to go.
I opened Andrew's door softly, and glanced inside. The window was open, as usual to let Sargie in and out.
Andrew was in his chair. Andrew does that. He falls asleep in his office chair, while reading the computer. His head was leaned back, just like it always is, when he falls asleep like that. But... he was quiet. Andrew is not a quiet sleeper. Andrew snores like no one else! He had a sleep study, a couple months back, and all I heard was that he had sleep apnea, and that he needed to go back. Darnit, but I couldn't get him to follow up on anything medical, these days. Nothing. He just refused to go. He was three years behind on his heart studies. He is 6 foot four, and I couldn't carry him there, anymore. He was 25 years old, and made his own decisions.
I walked toward him and about a foot away from him, I knew. I reached out to his forehead and felt him. My hand jerked away and went direct to my mouth to muffle the scream.
I backed out of his room and backed right into David's, yelling, "Is he? Is HE? IS HE?"
David could hear the terror in my voice, and asked "IS he what?" and I didn't answer, and he knew and he went in and yes he was!
The rest of the day is a blur. I know that I had trouble dialing 911. I didn't know how. I finally figured it out and just kept telling them, "Please come. Please come." She asked me questions and told me to be calm but "Please come" and "My son is dead" is all that would come out.
The police came. I called each one of my brothers and sisters and the reaction was the same. "WHAT?" I had to repeat it and it was hard, each time. They all came.
It was so odd. It was like a family reunion at my home. It was awful, the whole day. I mean, what do you do? I cried. I cried all day. and all the next day. And... it was such an ordinary time, and then chaos and now everything is changed.
Andrew and I were mirror images of one another. We had the same slant to our eyes, the same winsome kind of look to our faces if we didn't smile.
We thought the same. He'd often say, "Get outa my head."
He made me laugh. Oh, how he made me laugh! In the middle of being mad at him, he could make me laugh!
Most of all, I loved Andrew so much. Deeper than love can go. I guess that is the way it is with your own children.
I couldn't go back in that room. Sometimes I wish I had, but I couldn't.
Now, the room is empty. My sisters cleaned the room up a bit, and took the laundry to clean it and it's still on the floor where they returned it, in a laundry basket.
No, really. I still can't believe he is gone, forever. I'm afraid that the memory of him will leave me, or get fuzzy. I don't ever want that to happen!
Sometimes I just feel like I've been thru too much. Do we ever hit a limit where you can just say "No more! I'm filled up! Pick on someone else!" Makes me smile. Andrew would have understood that. Laughed at that. Agreed.
But, he's not here. He's just not here, right now.
I will see him again. So, maybe both David and I are right. In fact, yes. I know we are right. We can't believe he is gone, because he really isn't gone. He is all around us, in the wind, in the rain, in the sunshine... and someday, when it's our turn to go, we'll meet him once again.... and he'll make us laugh. But, dang. As the rain falls, today, I sure miss my Roo. Roo, it's OK that you had my laptop. It's ok...
Sometimes David will say, out of the blue, "KJ, jokes over. You can come back, now."
I still hope. I still hope that it's all a nightmare. I think that hope is expiring. This is just way too long of a nightmare.
I hold tight to David, now because I know what can happen. I haven't gotten upset at David for anything, since Andrew passed. Now, perhaps that is abnormal! But, it's just not worth it! Life is just too short.
When I see Mom's out with their kids, I have this strong feeling that I want to go up to the Mom and tell her to hug and love her kids like there will be no tomorrow. I haven't, yet. I doubt if I will. But, I sure have that feeling. If you are reading this, go do it, now. Hug them tight. You never know when the last time will be.

I'm not going to proof read this, because it's pure guts. It's exactly what I needed to write. So, if there are mistakes, I do apologize. I'm just not going to change them. It is that rare writing that I didn't have to think about. It just typed itself out, exactly the way I feel. There is no wrong about how I feel. It is what it is.

fall leafOctober 14, 2012

Willie and I have adopted the morning walk that Andrew did. And, the afternoon park, when we have time.
Yesterday at the puppy park, I was visiting with a guy that had the most darling black poodle pup. Come to find out, it was BCF from the board!! He guessed who I was, once I said I lived along the Kilchis river, and the fact that my dog's name was Willie.
It was so fun to meet him! What a great guy! We spent quite some time visiting, and then my sister, Linda, came to join us in our walk. We had such a great time! I love my sisters.
I'm in Oregon City, now, and longing to get back to the river. When I left, I was having so much fun watching the October caddis land on the water, and the cutthroat trout attack them, like a bass does a top water lure. The water was just boiling! Something grabbed my rod and broke my line! I didn't have a chance with it! It was one of those days that I head back to the house, breathless, to tell Bill the story. He's always so excited to hear things like this.
It's more fun to me to cast to a salmon's rise upriver with an exciter fly of some sort and catch the cutthroat that follow the salmon, than to catch the salmon, itself. By the time a salmon gets upriver to our home, it's almost to its destination, and I hate to stop it. I'd so much rather watch them, than catch them. It's stopped raining and Bill says the river hasn't risen all that much. So, I haven't missed the first migration upstream. (I hope!)
It doesn't happen every year that I catch the "show", but sitting on a rock, waiting to see salmon jump over the riffles is a treat that I have engrained in my memory. I wait for it, each year! The wait is long, and sometimes doesn't produce, but when it does.... whoo hoooo! Sometimes we see salmon that are old, and must be springers, and sometimes salmon that are fresh, and are fall chinook. Sometimes, both!
I haven't decorated for Halloween, yet. I'm late!
Lately, during our walks, I've been enjoying watching the neighbor's decorations go up. I wonder to myself if the people that decorate for Halloween have had a difficult life, or not. And, do they still decorate, if so? By the time you get to own a home these days, you've probably had some sadness, right? And they still decorate? I love that!
It's the fact that people are always striving to create joy in their lives, that I love! So, today I'm going to go up to the attic, and dig out my decorations. I'm going to decorate for Halloween, for Thanksgiving. For Christmas! I must! I must create joy! If I don't create joy, if I don't fish for cutthroat, if I don't do the things I love, then I won't be happy, and those around me won't be happy, either. Life is hard enough, right? Let's do all we can do make folks smile.
The neighbors know about Andrew. I just think it will be awesome, and a good way to show that people can make it through tough times, if only they make the effort. Often times, I think they think they almost owe it to the bad times, to not decorate and celebrate, and have fun in life.
I'm going to shine those Halloween lanterns on my front porch, like never before!

October 19, 2012

I'm tired of my life being a drag. This must change. From now on, you know, since I can't possibly have any other bad coming my way, (ha!) I'm going to be happy and I'm going to have fun.
OK! All done with the sadness! Phew! It's been a tough run! Good thing that's past me, right?
So, I'm going to go to a grief class once a month and besides the time that I walk in that door, and then walk out, my life is going to be sunshine and happiness. I will allow myself one hour of grief, and that's all.
You know, I had forgotten how beautiful Fall is here at the coast. I adore the shiny wet rocks, spattered huge, with bright orange maple leaves and tiny red alder leaves. Here at the coast, you can enjoy the leaves, and not worry about having to buy leaf blowers or think about back breaking-raking. You can just let them be! Kick them around! Enjoy them. Roll in them! Since being in Oregon City and having to deal with cleaning up leaves, I have learned to somewhat dread their falling.
Not here! Here, they can just be!
Soon, the winds will come and blow them all into the river. That's all well and good, until you start to fish! The next phase is waiting for the rivers to rise, to flush everything out to sea. Ah.... a crystal clean (and not to) clear river. Visibility 'just right' for steelhead!
Alongside the now beautiful leaves are scattered dead October caddis moths, pasted flat onto shiny rocks. Shiny black, shiny gray, matted colors, the same. I'd never either seen or noticed these moths death before. They look as if they've been painted on by an artist.
With all of these combined components, or shall we say the artists "medium", the river beach is just beautiful this time of year. A beautiful collage of Fall! Not the sun, sand and water kind of beautiful- but the brilliant colors of Fall- beautiful. Soon, we'll have the glittery ice and snow-show-beautiful! And back once again to the lush-green and purple flowers of 'spring-things' beautiful. I can't think of one season, frankly, in the Kilchis river canyon, that doesn't shout "beauty!" Every season is full. Almost gaudy-full. Everything that makes up every season is lush and dense and almost overdone here.
When I first walked down to the river when I got here, it hit me that winter is full on its way, and Fall is really present. It seemed to happen with the flick of a switch. Summer, and everything that it was, including comfortably wearing shorts and t shirts, is now past. We are full into sweater and salmon season, now!
Not one salmon is dead on the river beach, yet. As Willie ran along the river, every 10 feet or so he took a wild splash into the water. For sure, if there had been salmon swimming, they were gone, now!
There are folks fishing for salmon at the other end of the property, already. Revvie crossed the river and went to visit. Willie is still a pup, still a Mommy's boy. He stayed pretty close by my side.
Later, Bill headed to town and I became a bit bored and restless. I went out to check my rods in the garage, which were a bit messed up and abandoned looking, half hanging and half fallen off their racks. Lines of every size, almost looking like a decoration for Halloween. What a tangled mess!
I needed a spinning rod. Where in the world was it? My fishing stuff used to be so organized, but now, it represented the chaos of my life, and what I've been through the last years. Collapsed lungs and, well... let's not go there. Things are going to change, now. I'm going to take one of these rainy days and work on my gear. I must. All of my rods and gear will be neat and orderly and represent my new and happier life. Oh, those good intentions...
I finally fixed up an old Lamiglas I was given by Jim Erickson and fitted it with an abandoned bass reel. Oh well. It'll do! I found a pink and purple hot shot, and grabbed three loose silver sized spinners from the work bench, stuffed them in my pocket, and off Willie and I went for the river. I just figured I'd take a couple casts. I wasn't even thinking salmon, or silvers, or cutthroat. I was just thinking fishing. Fishing for the fun of fishing...
I was so taken aback when a pretty darned big cutthroat (13 inches or so?) grabbed that hot shot! I always get such a kick when those cutts grab lures bigger than they are, sometimes! Once, I was letting out a kwikfish-- like a K14 or something? And a cutthroat hit that lure like a bass hitting a top water bass lure! It hit it again and again! I couldn't get that lure out there, to target salmon, for my life! It makes me giggle just to remember that day!
Anyhow, I had pinched the barbs on the hot shot, and that cutthroat came off, right at my feet. Fun! I wanted to do that again!
Off to another hole. It was one of those days when I just picked off the easy ones in each hole.
The next hole produced an even bigger fish! I don't know what kind of fish it was! But, it was the first cast, and it was heavy! Steelhead? Silver? Big, big, big cutthroat? I don't know, but I played it about 10 seconds before it came unpinned.
Smile. My face changed from concentration, from the sadness that I have been through, to a big, broad smile! There! That's Jennie! That's how I am! Happy! There I was, alone on the river with my dog, smiling like the world was nothing but good times.
I can do this! If something as simple as a fish on the line can produce a smile that big, I can change my life from sad to happy, too. Turn that frown upside down!
Having your life be a drag is just no fun. I know that there are other people who feel the same. Life can be so hard.
So? Change it! It's not easy, but it can be done! Surround yourself with beauty! Go down to your local river and go fishing! It works! No one can make you happy, but yourself. Do it! Do it with me, OK?
Let's go fishing!

October 22, 2012

Everything is totally salmon around Tillamook.
Even in town, the boats go both ways down the hiway. Some to Nehalem, some to Garibaldi, some South to Memaloose.
Drift boats criss cross the roads, going to rivers, this way and that, and others, who you see parked at bait shops in trucks and SUV. They don't haul trailers. Instead, they tote coffee thermos', jars of eggs, and that hungry look in their eyes. Bank fishermen! What fun! They are free to go anywhere! Sloughs and river banks are theirs!
I'm in as the rain pours from the skies. I was out fishing this morning, until the first drops fell. Then, Willie and I headed for the house, before the sky broke totally open. My window is cracked and I can just about hear the river rise.
Three days I ago, I began my fishing adventure in a boat. No luck. It was so crowded! We tried Garibaldi, but there was not one open spot. That's tough on me, as I can't walk far enough these days, to park so far away. So, we headed home to wait until those who lacked the skill to catch fish left. (ha ha!) We ate donuts at home, and went later in the afternoon. What do you know? I lacked the skill to catch anything, also!
Two days back, I stayed home and tried spinners.
Yesterday, it was jigs.
This morning, I fished with eggs. Then, the rain fell.
It's kind of tough, actually, fishing with a dog that constantly requires my attention.
"I'd get him in shape!" says Bill. He'd like to stick the dogs in the kennel and just go. But... but... but... Bill! How COULD you?
I'm beginning to get it. I almost can, now. Willie takes all my time! Playing flashlight and digging holes that trip me, and requiring the throwing of sticks. This isn't fishing, Willie! What? Is he a stick hugger? Is he against the killing of salmon?
I tried to explain to him that these fish are going to spawn, anyhow, and they make great table fare. No luck. He barks repeatedly at my feet, showing me his latest prize. A large, wet, ugly stick, covered in river goo. Yuck, Willie! I don't want to throw that!
It's quiet, right now. I guess Willie got enough exercise so that I could write. But, when I get up to get coffee, I'll be he makes it clear that he is now rested and ready for round two. The rain has stopped, after all.
All of this is doing me good, no fish and busy dogs, anyhow. It's keeping my mind busy and off of things that haunt me.
Yesterday, in between fishing trips, I drove to Astoria to meet with an old fishing friend, Ester. I fished with Ester on the Columbia River "social security" beach for years, when I lived in Warrenton and Astoria. Jeff would watch the kids, and Ester and I would go fishing in an old Subaru that could handle the deep sand.
So many memories of our young family came back to me on that drive. I must have cried ten times.
All in all it was good. It was so good seeing Ester. I realize more and more that we must keep in touch with people and that life is so short.
But, I think that was enough traveling back into time for me, and I'd rather stay on the river and just think of nothing but salmon.
Jigs, eggs, spinners, herring... they fill my mind, and that's a good thing, right now.
I'm going to become the fishing bum that I always dreamed of.
Fishing. Nothing but fishing. It hurts so much less than thinking!
When I do think, these are the words that comfort me:

I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordon
I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand and when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout and come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand.

October 26, 2012

Well, first, there was a nice break in the weather, so Willie and I thought we'd go down to the river to play. Not five minutes after we had made it to the shore, the sky broke open! The wind blew and hail poured down on my head!
I half ran to the door, where Bill held it open for me. "Are you sure God loves you?!" Bill laughed.
"Not funny." I thought to myself. I didn't laugh. I really didn't! I mean, do you think I haven't considered this? I'm a firm believer in my Heavenly Father and we have a close relationship. So, sometimes I don't get it! I really don't! And, like most humans, I do wonder!
Think about it. In one year... one year alone, I lost my Dad, my son, and my dog. My dog is in that category because I loved him. I had him for 13 years, and although I love my people more than my dogs, he was my closest companion. He was my shadow. You can't help but love a dog like that.
But, I'm not stopping there. How 'bout my health? I am recovering from chemo and radiation from breast cancer. I've had surgery for a collapsed lung where I nearly passed on, and I sprained my ankle but good!
This is one year. ONE! Does God love me?
Yes. I can't explain what's going on but I firmly believe I'm loved. If I wasn't loved, I wouldn't have been able to handle all of this. I'm still getting a grip on it, but my life goes on, and I'm still smiling.
So, get this.
The next morning at the river, it's pouring down rain. Rain or no, my dog needs to run, to do his duty, and this means we are going outside. Both of us.
So, I'm in my bathrobe, thinking I'll get all cold and wet, and then run up to take a shower.
I grab the big black umbrella, and brave the coastal forces. I'm singing to Willie as I always do, and I have flashlight in hand, because, well, Willie loves flashlights and it gets him to run and play and move. Fast.
All of the sudden, he grabs the flashlight from my hand, and flees. Fast!
"Willie! WILLIE!" I shout. Where is he going? "Willie?!" He's headed down the trail to the river! The river that is fast rising.
Willie did not come back.
I walk to the trail, my bathrobe getting longer and longer in the soaking rain. It's now dragging behind me, soaked thru. My Uggs, not meant for rain, are soaked thru. Slosh, slosh, slosh. This was to be a fast outdoor break.
"Willie!" My voice cracks in the cold, and echoes down the canyon. I was not pleased.
There he is, at the river's shore, wagging his tail. "Isn't this fun, Mom?" There is very little shore to the river. The river had risen so that any flat beach, where you could stand, was under water.
I called down to him from the top of the trail. "Where is my flashlight!? Willie! The Flashlight! Where is it!?"
He pranced along the river and in it, half swimming, half running, wagging his tail fast, searching madly. "Oh, brother! Willie! Where is it?"
Willie was having the time of his life.
I had no choice. That was a 40 dollar flashlight from Coast! My very favorite flashlight! I'm crazy about flashlights, and I can't afford another like it! Thank goodness they are water 'resistant'.
Standing in the rain, I pulled off my Uggs revealing cold, bare feet. I rolled up my pajama pants. I took off my soaking robe and I gingerly made my way down the steep trail to the river. The rain was still pouring.
Blackberry vines poked the bottoms of my feet as I made my way in the mud, singing "Ouch! Oweee!" all the way.
That was a fun new song, thought Willie.
He wagged his tail. "Mom? You having fun?"
There it was! A light in the water, shining brightly. That's a Coast flashlight, for you! I didn't even bother to roll up my sleeves, and plucked it from the depths, two feet in. I convinced myself that it wasn't much different than unhooking a fish.
I gave Willie a strict talking to. Shame. Shame on you, Willie. No more flashlight for you, today!
He wagged his tail.
I made my way back up the trail, picked up my soaking clothes and boots, and made my way to the door of the house.
Bill held the door open.
"Don't say a word, Bill. Not a word."
"-And yes. God loves me. My flashlight still works. See?"
I turned it on to show him, as I told him the story.
I jumped into a hot shower, and it felt so good!
The rest of the day, I sang....

This little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine/Let it shine/Let it shine

October 30, 2012

I don't know why. I just don't know why. At all. Not one bit.

I was so happy. My PGE bill was running like 400 a month. That's for a house that is 1200 feet, max. That's a bunch! I qualified for low income energy assistance, so I took advantage. That's a good thing, because I can barely afford my mortgage, and my heat bill is running the same as my mortgage!
So, the guys came to work and everything was fine. They were great guys! I was feeling rather hopeful! And then.... when they were up in the attic, they came rushing down. "We heard cracking! Can we come in to look?"
Well, sure... uh.... Oh, man!
The sky was falling. I mean, literally, falling. They rushed to put up braces, as the other guys held the sky up with their hands over their heads. As they held one spot, another broke loose. Even in the bedrooms, sheetrock was comin' on down!
I went outside. Can you imagine having sheetrock and all of that insulation coming down on your head? And my piano? And my bamboo floors!? Yikes! I'm sure the bamboo floors will look just dandy now, anyhow, after I watched them hurriedly put up those braces. 2x4's scraping across the soft wood. Yikes!
I don't know why. Why in the world is this year so bad?
I called my sister. I call my sister for everything. She is the Mom in our family, now. She wasn't home. She called back, asap and David answered. She said to him, "Why in the world is this happening to you?" David replied, "At this point, why wouldn't this happen to us?" Yep. He's got it down. He gets it. He knows.
Tammy came home from work. There was a note on the front door, telling her to come in thru the garage. We were told not to go into the living room, so it was all barricaded off. She listened to the story and exclaimed, "What? Is this house cursed?"
Is it the house? I don't know... Remember the story about the electricity? And the plumbing? And.... Yeah. Yeah. It's the house.
And yet, still, in the back of my mind, that song plays. "This little light of mine... I'm going to let it shine." Why? Am I crazy?
I don't know, but I'm glad I have faith like a river. Right now, the Kilchis is about bankful and maybe over. That's the kind of faith I need. Full to bankful. Yep. Faith like a river that doesn't go out to sea.
I don't know, but all I do know is that I'm liking it more and more at the coast. Things like this didn't happen to me at the coast.
I want the coast back.
They are fixing the ceiling, today. They are worried, however, that it may have affected and destabilized the entire house. We'll see.
To be continued...
Because, what do you know? Ifish is down! Agh...