My two-year statute of limitation rule has expired for an entire chapter of my guide journal, so enjoy this 2006 entry. To put it in context, I was working a weekday desk job and guiding from a driftboat on weekends.
Date: July 29-30, 2006
Wednesdays are the equivalent to waiting for bail. You can almost taste the freedom but are well aware of the consequences of leaving too soon. My fishing report is about the fishermen, not the fishing, however both were exciting.
I peered over stout shoulders to find the column entitled, “Fly Boat # 4″ with a pair of names printed in adjoining boxes. The table was the work of an arduous autocrat, a superior accustomed to demanding order, not unfamiliar to composing memos while running a successful constructing company. The entire company was presently waiting for breakfast while passing around the boat assignments. This was the first time the Texans had gathered together for a weekend retreat. The group of 14 men was from a construction firm from Dallas. There were 2 dividing lines among the group. All of them either snored, or didn’t snore, and were grouped into accommodations accordingly. The other point of distinction was their working environment: they either worked “in-the-office” or “in-the-field”.
Saturday I guided Jacobo and John Wayne, who were unceremoniously awarded their nicknames within the first 5 min of the float. I forced John Wayne to give me a moniker b/c he kept calling me Sir, so I became Captain. Jacobo was from Montana, knew how to cast, and, according to his drinking-buddies, slept in his fly vest. This was a plus because it gave me time to teach John Wayne, who was dedicated to stop smoking. Learning to fly cast did not help him quit. Conversation was lighthearted and flowed through various topics, briefly touching down on athletic events, incidents of raw power and amazing feats of agility. The highlight of the day (for me) was hearing their reactions at the beauty of the trophy section. They were moved by its splendor.
Fast forward to Sunday: My companions were older and much more outspoken. I do not remember their names. They blamed their hangovers on the tartar sauce, if you can believe that. I knew immediately they were from the indoor bunch. Their ability to manage the heat was not evident, but their facility to whine was. For some reason they kept referring to the river as a lake. It was frustrating. I think it stems from the lack of rivers in Texas or the common practice of those with disposable incomes to build second homes “on the lake”. [Funny how language rots without proper usage. We are plagued by a routine, comfortable vocabulary.] Our conversations had a formula of weather plus one: this heat is so blank-blank segued a few seconds later by an unrelated topic, usually about one of their employees. Fish were caught, released, and so was I at the end of the day.
The contrast between Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been any greater. Saturday was a pleasant outing with people who worked in and appreciated nature. Sunday, on the other hand, was a strain; the bosses found the outdoors to be a burden and were not ashamed to let it show. The moral of the story? Live your life; don’t let your life live you.