Capt. Gary Henderson, Florida

July 25th, 2005

Out Back

By Captain Gary (Flats Dude) Henderson
Dang it! I'll try not to whine, I do enough of that already, here of late. But seems these fish gods down here have it out for me. I messed up my back two, almost three weeks ago, just as I was beginning a week of vacation plans. Nowhere special, just a break since Linda was changing jobs and had a week off also. Heck, why not just do a whole bunch of things together, including a couple of days wading the flats around Titusville, then maybe over to Mosquito Lagoon. I had a few new places I wanted to investigate.

The weather hasn't been the best down here for a few months. The wind has been wrapping around these early hurricanes causing a northeastern flow that makes fly-fishing dang near impossible. I hate wind, just makes me grouchy and miserable. The afternoon thunderstorms have been quite intense. Earth shattering explosions follow brilliant blue bolts of lightning, and from what I understand, graphite is one heck of a conductor of electricity, and given the fact that standing waist-deep in salted water, right hand attached to a nine-foot piece of conductor...well, you get the picture. I'm just not ready to meet my Maker, and I ain't that stupid anymore. Anymore? I did enough stupid stuff when I was a kid, but believe it or not, I did get a little smarter as I got older.

To further complicate matters, as I mentioned earlier, the back got messed up. "So, how did you mess up your back?" you ask. I said I got smarter as I grew older? Maybe not.

Linda and I are NASCAR fanatics. I know some of you just don't understand sitting around the TV on Sunday afternoon watching forty-three cars go round and round. It's mostly a southern thing, so I understand that you don't understand. But hey, that's our gig and the Henderson household comes to a grinding halt on race day. The kids aren't even allowed to call, unless it's a life or death situation. And don't even ring that doorbell!

On July 2nd, NASCAR held the Nextel Cup race in Daytona (forty-five minutes from home). We used to go for the whole, four-day deal a few years back, but after fighting two hundred thousand other fans, jockeying for a thirty-dollar parking space at some mall, walking a couple of miles to the track with assorted bags and coolers, rain jackets and cushions, we figured it was a heck of a lot easier to sit at home in front of the big TV, and we could save a ton of money and aggravation. Oh yeah, not to mention me standing in line at the men's restroom, for a decade, waiting to pee! Guys drink an ocean of beer at the track, and when the NASCAR official throws an early caution flag, well, it just ain't much fun standing in line knowing we have two, full service restrooms at home with no line, and I'm ten feet deep in a line of drunk guys doin' the pee-pee dance. Besides, the food at home is better and it won't cost me five bucks for a stinking hotdog if I want one, and the beer's a lot cheaper, too. Bear with me; I'm getting to the back injury!

As most of y'all know, we built the new pool, and the new pool attaches to the lanai (er, back porch). There's no TV on the back porch (er, lanai). Hmmm, we pondered. It would be kind of neat to have one out on the back porch/lanai so we could actually watch the race on Saturday night from a couple of floating lounge chairs. We even found this clever floating "Polar Bar" devise that has a cooler in the center of a round gizmo that will hold a few beverages of choice! But what about the TV?

Wal-Mart is just a few miles away, so off we went in search of the perfect television; had to be the right height to peer at us from underneath the screen rail, and big enough to see from the far side of the pool…the perfect one. But upon arrival at Wally-World, we discover they had the perfect TV about fifteen minutes before our arrival. They actually had six of 'em. Do I dare ask the doofus question? "Uh, do you have anymore in the back?" Dang it! I just had to do it, didn't I? And y'all know the answer... "All we have are on the shelf." Of course, we all know about the alien pods in the back of the enormous store, what else could possibly be stored back there? Okay, they ain't the only Wal-Mart in the area, and we have exactly forty-five minutes to drive to Deland, buy a set, drive back home, set it up, jump in the pool on our new-fangled lounge chairs, open a cold one and watch the race! Oh yeah, and uncrate the new TV (that weighs a freakin' ton) if they have one! And danged if they didn't have just one left, and yep, it weighed a ton! Therein lays the problem.

Ten minutes to spare, we arrive with our new, 27" color, with front and rear AV plugs, remote controlled, lanai/back porch/pool TV in a box big enough for a small family to move in to. A carpet knife was fetched from the junk drawer; the box was slit down each corner revealing four huge pieces of Styrofoam; two on top and two on the bottom of the new set. Linda on one end, the Dude on the other. Lift from the knees! I see Linda going backwards! Thinking she was about to fall on her fanny, I compensated, but my poor old back didn't! YEEEOOOW! After the fact, I found she was only trying to kick the stubborn block of foam from underneath the TV's frame. *&%$##!!! But I never let go. Instead, we sat it on a furniture dolly and rolled that sucker out the sliding glass doors to the lanai; whatever.

Now, the pain in my lower back wasn't that bad...yet!

Within a few hours after getting the aforementioned articles gathered, blown up and assembled, we were happily floating around in the pool as the National Anthem played, and the guy yelled, "Gentlemen, start your engines!" But a pinching feeling was becoming quite apparent in my back. I tried my best to hide the grimace on my face, but my very observant wife notices.

"I'm okay, really...I'm okay."

Two, almost three weeks later, I've been to the doctor's office twice, got another appointment tomorrow, my medicine cabinet looks like a dang pharmacy, done wore out a heatin' pad, and I'm still hunched over this dad-burned computer trying to kick out some semblance of a story, since I haven't turned one in for a couple of weeks.

But the weather's been real nice these past two weeks!

'Til next time. ~ Capt. Gary

About 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.

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