December 17th, 2001

By James Castwell

I can put up with Halloween, the kids, a 'punkin' (which my wife gladly carves), making sure we have enough 'goodies' to avoid 'tricks.' It's not too much of an annoyance. Now, Thanksgiving takes a bit more attention. Real food, not candy, possible adult visitors, not goblins, and it does seem to signal the end of much of my fly fishing for the year. That is not all bad. I need to re-group, take inventory of myself and the stuff myself has accumulated and/or lost over the season. Yes, Thanksgiving can be accepted.

But, the 'Big One,' The Christmas holiday sure can get in the way. Now, don't get me wrong here, I appreciate all that it is and represents, but, for me anyhow, it seems to take up a whole month of my winter, such as winter is, out here west of Seattle, Washington.

Winter, with all it holds, should be a time to sit by the fire-place and relax with one of the books which have piled up over the busy summer months, and regress to an 'armchair' fly fisher. No such luck, here it comes, and there goes my start of winter, winter delayed by the holiday.

"No, you can't buy anything for yourself, not now, Santa is coming," she says!

"Nuts," sez I!

So, I don't buy anything. Now, the President says we all should go out and spend money. Right, but, on everybody else, not me. How can I re-supply my tying stuff, hooks, and necessary tying 'do-dads?' I can't, I have to wait 'till the 'Holidays' are over. Holiday from what, I ask? The whole month is spent at the same speed as a gerbil on a spinning wheel. Busy as hell, get nothing done.

Business? "Fergeddaboudit!" Fall is over, Spring is too far off, the 'Holidays' are coming, wait 'till after the first of the year. So much for anyone in business making any decision short of which to put on sale and what to raise prices on. I think the government should declare the month of December a DMZ (de-militarized zone). It interferes with the end of the year, it is not part of the new year, and generally, just for me, messes things up.

Way too many go into hock, spend 'quality time' with people they don't generally speak to most of the rest of the year, office parties become things best forgotten, and by more than a few, can't be recalled even the next morning. Christmas is great, December is irrelevant. Perhaps we should simply add more days to November, that might help the problem. Make Christmas the 55th of November, have winter start on January first.

I need to start 'getting ready' for a fishing trip in March, I need to not only tie the flies, I have to figure out which ones to tie. Fly lines? Which ones do we need, and do I have the right ones? I need time, time to ponder, time to 'get my stuff together.' Time, that's it, December takes up my time.

The way I see it, Gregory, (the calendar guy) could not possibly have been a fly fisher, if he had been, he would never saddled us die-hards with a silly month like December.

By the way, there is no fly called a 'Hum-Bug,' no real fly-fisher would honor December by tying one. Proof positive! ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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