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Gift from a Daughter

Gift from a Daughter

I was in a nice little bookstore in Charlottesville, Virginia called the Blue Whale the other day. They specialize in used books. I came across a book on fishing the Blue Ridge mountains that caught my interest. I opened it to the copyright page and saw it was a bit dated to use as a fishing reference. What also caught my eye was the handwritten note in the front of the book. From Christmas 2002, a daughter named Virginia wrote…

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Drummer in the Woods (in Virginia)

Drummer in the Woods (in Virginia)

Where have I been? Where to begin? It has been a very busy year. As I summarized in my Christmas letter, “Maddie returned from a year abroad working at Lego’s headquarters in Denmark in February; she took her dog Cabot (that we had dog-sat for 8 ½ years) in March; we lost old Cal in March; Maddie and her boyfriend Pat got engaged in August; we sold a house in Vermont in September; Karen and I were reunited and we…

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A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

Back when we were young and didn’t know better, my wife and I thought it would be nice to have a little camp somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The girls were still little and they went where we went. There was no weekend soccer and no sleep-overs. We couldn’t yet imagine the time when Karen and I would adjust our schedules to accommodate theirs. It was during this blissfully ignorant time in our lives that I decided to take…

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Saying Goodbye…Saying Hello

Saying Goodbye…Saying Hello

With the painful loss of a dog comes a fuller and more complete appreciation of the gift of companionship that you had. A couple weeks ago I made the difficult decision to put down our Brittany, Cal. Cal had just turned 16 and was failing. Despite his age and health problems, I still felt the part of Judas. Mostly blind and deaf, Cal came obediently over to the car door so I could lift him up to drive him to…

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What the mirror doesn’t show

What the mirror doesn’t show

“Well the truth about a mirror, is that a damn old mirror… don’t really tell the whole truth. It don’t show what’s deep inside. Or read between the lines. And it’s really no reflection of my youth….” (George Strait, “Troubadour”) Everyone has a story and it is difficult to guess what that story is when all you see is what is reflected on the outside. I can only imagine the difference between how I see myself and how the younger people at work see me. Maybe…

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Bearly Thanksgiving

Bearly Thanksgiving

My family and I spent a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother Jim’s house in Woodbury, Connecticut. We were outside setting up for our annual archery tournament and the kids and I discovered some interesting tracks in the backyard. Being trained scouts, they started following the tracks by carefully walking directly in the tracks. I managed to take this picture with my iPhone before it was stomped out. My nephew, Jack, was the lead tracker. He followed the tracks under the…

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Black Flies and Trout Fishing

Black Flies and Trout Fishing

(as published in the Mountain Gazette, June 20, 2013, p. 10) Like baseball and football, fly fishing has its own season. The forest browns turn into green. The days grow longer. Your senses know the trout will soon be rising for the fly. An annual May fishing trip only adds to this normal level of seasonal anticipation. Snowmelt in May on the West Branch of the Ausable Once again, my dad, brother, and cousin met at the end of May…

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Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 3 of 3

Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 3 of 3

Burdock was gone and my fragile marriage was restored. Since I had gotten rid of the new puppy, I asked Karen if she going to return her new shoes? To paraphrase, her response was, “no!” The Cold War was over, but was I happy? I really enjoyed Burdock and I was now bird dog-less. How could I ever grow up to have an outdoor blog without having a bird dog of my own? What to do? They say that money…

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Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 2 of 3

Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 2 of 3

Katie and me riding in the car… Katie:  “Daddy, we thought that Mommy would be really happy with the puppy, but she wasn’t.  She was really mad.  But it isn’t my fault right?  Because I’m just a kid.  You’re big and you should have known better.  Right?” Me:  “That’s right honey.  It is Daddy’s fault.  He should have known better.” Burdock was a good puppy.  He was very sweet and easy to house train.  I took a week or so…

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Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 1 of 3

Bird Dogs are more expensive than planned, Part 1 of 3

Back in our days in Virginia, when I was just a budding sportsman wannabe, I had a dream of having my own bird dog. I researched breeds and research breeders.  Occasionally, the anticipation of an event ends up being far different than the eventual reality of it. This is especially true if you don’t share your puppy plans with your wife.  Trust me; this I know. First, some background. My wife Karen had decided that she’d like to leave work…

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