I'm a subtropical kind of guy. I don't like
cold water or cold weather, period. But we're
having a heat wave down here in sunny Florida.
No kiddin', it's January and it's in the lower
80's, for Pete's sake! Okay, so why am I sitting
here at this stupid computer writing this little
piece of drivel? Well, it started out like this...
Christmas morning was dreary, rainy and cold. Linda
and I were to head out in a few hours to visit the
kids in Lady Lake, a nice drive of say, seventy miles
northwest of here. Okay, a bright spot to see the
grandkids and have dinner. We just weren't sure if
dinner was lunch, or if dinner would be supper. I
figured I'd throw a few biscuits in the oven, you
know, those frozen kind. (Mary B's Buttermilk Biscuits,
try 'em, they're great). Anywho, I had pulled the honey
and butter out, set a couple of plates on the counter,
poured Linda a cup of java, and me a glass of iced tea.
I leaned over to open the oven door to check on the
progress, and WHAMO! Pulled a muscle in my lower back,
actually it was more of a little "twinge." I figured
it was due to my getting older, and I hadn't really
done anything that strenuous. WRONG!
We had our makeshift breakfast. I loaded up the Explorer
with the gifts and we lit a trail. About ten minutes
into the trip and I started shifting and squirming in
the driver's seat. Yep, the old lower back was rearing
its ugly head. When we arrived at the destination, an
hour and a half later, I almost had to be poured out
of the seat. Felt like I was damned near dyin'! Then
here came four grandsons out of the house, loaded with
Christmas spirit attitude and pounced on Gramps! YEEOOW!
(I silently wished at that moment, I was "loaded" with
Christmas spirits.) So, off I hobbled to the couch with
a whole lot less sympathy that I should have received.
Unfortunately, the kids had gotten their wish
for the little prism-colored discs that were
loaded up with exploding, video games. You know,
the ones that we adults can't get to the first
level, and they whiz right through them, yelping
and arguing whose turn it is to blow up something
on the game, and all the while jumping up and down
on, yep, you guessed it, Gramps, who is now writhing
in pain flat on his back on the sofa!
Okay, so I'll go out on the small porch and have a
smoke. It's freakin' rainin' like somethin' stupid
outside. Did I mention the porch is small? Nasty
habit, especially in a downpour! Got soaked. So
now I'm back on the couch, the other daughter shows
up with three more grandkids, and immediately a fight
breaks out amongst the little urchins 'cause there
ain't but two of those infernal game controllers,
and there's now six of the seven waging war using
me as the battlefield! Oh yeah, and Linda goes and
buys those blasted toys that make more noise than a
five-thousand dollar surround-sound system!
We finally got to eat supper, and with much
anticipation, I was ready to hit the trail back
to some peace and quiet. Not so fast, Dude! The
kids, during all the confusion, hadn't discovered
the rest of the stuff I, and my poor old strained
back, had unloaded from the truck. Round two. Back
out in a biblical-sized flood, just to have another
smoke, then back to the crowded settee and jumpin'
Linda offered to drive home, but I figured since
she was yawning as she offered, I'd better get
behind the wheel, since I didn't want to be
tangled up among the large pine trees that lined
the road back to "peace and quiet." After what
seemed like an eternity, we arrived safely and,
once again, I had to be assisted to my awaiting
couch and a heating pad.
Sunday morning I arose from a good night's sleep,
only to find this little nagging itch in the back
of my throat. I thought to myself, "It's nothing
a hot toddy won't cure." It was really too early
to pull a fifth of whiskey out of the booze cabinet,
but hey, it was to be used as an elixir. It's
justifiable, right? Linda crawls out of bed and
the frown lines on her forehead question my method
of madness as she observes me pouring up the
concoction. After the third or fourth, maybe fifth
steaming glass of the mix, the throat feels fine.
Heck, everything was feeling fine. At one in the
afternoon, I'm sportin' a little hangover watching
a few football games on the television while it
rains cats and dogs outside, all the while resting
comfortably on a heating pad.
Monday, it's back to work as usual. Not quite yet,
had to drive Linda to Auburndale for a business
meeting that we had almost forgotten. She could
have driven the two hours over there, but she
wasn't really sure where it was, and being the
kid that grew up in A-dale, I volunteered to do
the chauffeuring. Did I say two hours in that
damned truck again? Being the good guy that I
am, here we go…two hours there; three hours of
sitting in the vehicle's seat waiting, and two
hours back home. Throat feels fine, back hurts
like the dickens!
Tuesday morning comes and I need to get back to
work. At ten that morning, the throat thing was
back with a vengeance and something had gone
totally awry with my entire system. I was
slightly dizzy, my insides were arguing with
each other's way of doing business and with a
brief explanation to the boss (as he held a
newspaper in front of his face, warding off
my evils), I limped back home with the flu.
More hot toddies and off to bed.
Wednesday morning I was thinking seriously
about jotting down a will, as I poured yet
more steaming, liquored up drinks. I looked
outside at a slick lake and sunshine. I clicked
on the TV, immediately began cussing out the
weatherman as he described the next few days on
his projected forecast. It was to be in the upper
seventies and low eighties for the next five
days! Believe me, a fly rod was the last thing
on my mind, but the first thing I thought of
as I limped back to bed.
New Year's Eve the fever broke and I began to
almost feel like myself again. The long rest
had cured my back pain, but I had burned up a
week of leave and I knew the mountains of
paperwork would be piled high on my desk
awaiting my return, and yep, the temperature
outside was a balmy eighty-one degrees with
light to variable winds!
This morning, on my way back to work, I passed
at least ten or twelve boats heading in the
opposite direction I was going. There were
flats boats, bass boats, center console boats,
jon boats, canoes! I muttered obscenities in
the direction of each and every one of 'em, too!
I drove over the St. Johns River Bridge; the
water was as slick as a baby's rump. The sun
hadn't risen yet, the back was fine, and there
was only a slight hoarseness in my voice as I
swore in the direction of yet another lucky,
"I'm takin' the day off to go fishin' jackass"!
It's Friday. I'm behind my desk. The temperature
is still eighty degrees outside. I still have a
pile of stuff to get done by this afternoon. My
back is totally cured. There's no sign I ever
had the flu.
I thought about going next door and asking the
new boss for another day off for mental health
reasons. I filled out a leave slip and just as
I opened my office door, it started raining
I want some cheese to go with this fine whine, please!
See y'all next week. ~ Capt. Gary
Gary grew up in central Florida and spent much
of his youth fishing the lakes that dot the area.
After moving a little closer to the coast, his
interests changed from fresh to salt. Gary still
visits his "roots" in the "lake behind the house."
He obtained his captain's license in the early '90's
and fished the blue waters of the Atlantic for a little
over twelve years. His interests in the beautiful shallow
water flats in and around the famous Mosquito Lagoon came
around twenty-five years ago. Even though Captain Gary
doesn't professionally guide anymore, his respect of the
waters will ever be present.
Gary began fly fishing and tying mostly saltwater
patterns in the early '90's and has participated as
a demo fly tier for the Federation of Fly Fishers
on numerous occasions. He is a private fly casting
and tying instructor and stained glass artist,
creating mostly saltwater game fish in glass.