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July 10th, 2000

Cell-Phones
By James Castwell


I think the first one went a little like this. 'Honey, it's for you, it's Willy and he's got a problem."

Now, Willy was my next-door neighbor, a 'gung-ho, type A+, Navy kind of guy.' He was always up to something and I was the one he would come to when he hit a snag. I was used to Willy having a 'problem.'

'Ya, Willy, what's up," I answered, noticing the sound on the line as that of his 'cell-phone.'I almost didn't recognize his voice though, he was very quietly whispering!
"Jim, I need your advise...I'm on the side of a hill, behind a cedar tree and there are six elk in front of me. There is a big meadow and they just came out from the right and are starting to graze toward me. What do I do?"

"Where the hell are you?" I asked, almost in a whisper myself.

"I'm over by Forks, about a mile from my trailer on top of the hill I showed ya on the map. You were right, they followed the river and when things got started this morning, they came up here. I got in ahead of them real early," he again whispered.

Well, Willy and I chatted (very quietly) and discussed wind direction, ballistics of a 30/06, what may happen behind the elk that may affect where they went and how high to hold when shooting down-hill.

Can you believe that, talking to me from behind a tree while he was hunting elk? That was the first time. Unless you have had something like that happen to you it's hard to explain how I felt right after I hung up. Weird may come close. Darn weird may come closer.

I figured I wouldn't have that feeling of being connected and then so dis-connected all within such a short time again. I was wrong. It has happened this morning.

"Jim, can you get the phone, It's Al?" she called from the kitchen. I was in the office (on the computer of course) and picked up the extension at my desk.

"Good morning, Al, what's up?"(I always ask that).

"Hey, I like this fluorocarbon stuff ya gave me, do they make leaders?" I had given him a spool of 5X fluorocarbon to try on the cutthroat trout he catches, with way to much regularity I might add, in Puget Sound. Now, Al is probably one of the most honest guys I know, even though he is a fisherman and I needed a good test of the stuff. He uses a size eight or ten fly on a six weight rod. The fish run from twelve to twenty-six inches, mostly around sixteen inches though. I figured the 5X would hold and be strong enough to set a hook.

"Ya, they do, in fact I've got some coming, should have been here by now. You like it?"

"You bet. It comes off the spool and is straight, it doesn't have any memory. Good stuff."

We chatted a few minutes, I could tell it was his cell-phone by the sound, and made arrangements for him to stop over. I would fix him up with some more. About then he said, "Hey, I gotta go, I got a fish on!"

"What?"

"Ya, I got a fish on now, I'll call ya later, thanks."

Click.

Yes, he did call back later. No, he didn't have a cutthroat, it was a trout and he had called me from his float-tube from the middle of a small lake on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Well, there you have it. Another one. This time from a fellow my buddy fishing with a cell-phone in his pocket. I suppose there will be more. The 'winds of change, they are a blowing.' And I am right in the way.

As much as I try to bring back, get back, reestablish and re-build the old days, the fraternity of fly-fishermen, this stuff happens to me. Jerks me back to the present and flings me into the future.

Please don't get me wrong here. I am not against the things. They do have a place and I really did enjoy talking to Willy and Al while they were out there. But, is there something wrong with this picture or is it just me? Maybe I'm too old, set in my ways, getting crotchety, resisting the new ways. Perhaps. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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