Fair winds and following seas. You made us proud.
In 2014 my very clever wife made this very special Christmas gift.
The two small horns are Lily’s puppy teeth.
It graces our home as a reminder of the magic that is Christmas.
The simple things really are the best!
Here’s hoping this finds you safe, happy and in the company of those you love.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Because the difference is so stark between George H.W. Bush and the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the loss is felt more profoundly.
This is wonderful tribute to George H. W. Bush by Bill Clinton.
For the last few years I have been posting this Thanksgiving day quote from Theodore Roosevelt. I have yet to find one better on this day.
“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”
Theodore Roosevelt, Thanksgiving, 1903
And never forget on this day and every day, paraphrasing Winston Churchill, we enjoy Thanksgiving because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
For them I am eternally thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Inevitably, it comes up in conversation at some point. “How long have you been guiding?” Quickly followed by something related to “do you enjoy it?” or “is it hard?”
My pat answer is related to having been a guide and instructor for more than 20 years and fly fisherman for more than 50. Here is the thing, that answer is really not a very good one. It is time answer as opposed to an experience answer.
People, when they ask that question are not really asking about the length of time. They are asking about what they experience has been like. That got me thinking.
Guiding and being a fly-fishing instructor is an essential part of my life. In a lot of ways, it helps me manage the other parts of my life, like my job at the Marine Fish Conservation Network, or being a grandfather or a husband.
Here are some things about guiding that people deserve to hear when I answer that question.
• It’s fun, it really is. Sure, guiding is work and the pre- and post-trip stuff is a pain but when someone catches a fish or makes a good cast the smile on their face makes me smile. When we start laughing together because of pure pleasure the sport provides that is fun. Smiles equal fun.
• Working outside is a extraordinary opportunity. During most days, I sit in my office, looking at my computer. Working outside, especially in and around moving water is a much more enjoyable experience. There is much more sensory involvement, sights, sounds, smells and direct human and animal interactions. Doctors even prescribe it as “ecotherapy.”
• It is a teaching experience. Every guide trip and every class, I learn something. The guests and students expect me to help them the whether it is catching fish or learning to fish. But that is only half the equation, they have to be able to learn from me, and that is my responsibility. Teaching is tough but learning is harder. Being able to communicate in a way that allows people to succeed is my goal every time I offer instructions. But as fulfilling as it is to see someone succeed, the knowledge that I am learning at the same time is the big reward. And, more often than not, I learn something about myself.
• Practicing what I preach. Conservation of our natural resources is essential. It is what I do at the Network and what I believe to the deepest reaches of my soul. Having a chance to share that conservation ethic is a rewarding part of my guiding gigs. Talking about clean water and showing best fish handling practices like “Keep ‘em Wet” directly engages my guests and shows them why conservation is essential to a good fishing experience.
• Guiding has made me a better person, more patient, more understanding and more tuned into my surroundings. Truth be told those attributes have not always transferred to the rest of my life. There is some comfort in knowing that and realizing I have to do better. Perhaps that is the thing I like the most.
Admittedly I have struggled with the putting into words my reaction to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Born, raised and schooled in New Hampshire, whose state motto is Live Free or Die, but now having lived more of my life in Virginia, I was struggling to understand how strong feelings of southern heritage had been co-opted by hate groups. How could I express my sense of right and wrong?
My good friend Tim Mead, who’s thinking I respect and admire, posted his Manifesto on his Facebook page. Nothing I could write would improve it or capture my thinking any better.
1. Nazism is evil. Saying there are other evils in the world, as has been done in the last week, does not mitigate the evil of Nazism. Making that case is an attempt to distract us from the real issue.
2. Persons who arrive at a public gathering carrying lighted torches, flags bearing Swastikas, clubs, and yelling racial, ethnic, and religious slurs are looking for trouble. Despite a claim, these are not “nice people.”
3. Apprehension that “political correctness” diminishes the richness of public and private discourse does not justify racial, ethnic, and religious slurs. One of the hallmarks of a civilized society is respect for other persons. Those who lack such respect, therefore, must be considered uncivilized.
4. The United States of America was founded on such respect. Has it always been manifested in its most prefect form? By all of our national leaders? No to both questions. Has progress been made? Yes. We ought not regress to an earlier standard.
5. Statues are symbols. Statues of Confederate heroes were erected in two periods. One after 1876 and through roughly 1920. To resolve the disputed election of 1876, Republicans essentially ceded to Southern Democrats the power to usher in the shameful Jim Crow period. The other started after May 17, 1954, the date Brown v. Board of Education was decided, and lasted through the late 1960s, the end of the Martin Luther King led Civil Rights period. What do these periods share? These statues were erected for political purposes. Now they are being removed for political purposes. For those with a “let locals decide” bent, note the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue was decided by local officials. Turn-about is fair play.
6. Much of politics is symbolic. And symbols are important. Consider, as an example, the hoorah about athletes standing for the national anthem. It doesn’t make a RAs difference (for those without an academic background, RA stands for Resident Assistant) for the game whether the national anthem is played (indeed, the practice was only started during the Red Scare of the 1920s) or athletes stand. And the athletes who chose to stand or not stand do so as symbols.
7. In many senses, what we are seeing is nostalgia for the Confederacy. Let’s make this very clear. The constitutional argument, then and now, for the Confederacy was state’s rights. And the right the states which secceeded, unsuccessfully as it turned out, was the right to maintain chattel slavery. During the late 1950s and 1960’s the argument for state’s rights was the right to maintain Jim Crow.
8. The United States is not a Christian nation, hostile to other religions, and where other religions are forced to take secondary places.
9. The United States is not a white nation, hostile to other races, and where other races are forced to take secondary places.
10. Folks who disagree with any of the above are free, indeed I invite you, to unfriend me.