Wiiing My Way Into The Sunset

Well, we are selling our home and moving into a 55 and older community.

There are two reasons I like a 55 and older community. One, all yard work that this poor bastard once did, will now be done by some other poor bastard. And, two, it guarantees that we have a legal excuse to say “no” to any hard-luck relative or relative with kids who asks to “temporarily” move in; which has happened in the past. (Sorry, we were not the best at saying no, not to mention they were not the best at staying “temporarily.”)

One retirement community that is on our list is one of those developments that has assisted living available if needed. Though certainly not needed now, with us pushing 70, realistically a little help may not be that far off. After several guided tours we’re leaning toward renting, rather than buying. At our age, owning a home with all their responsibilities no longer sounds appealing. But there is one small turd floating around in this blissful pool of retirement. They have community events…Let me reword that. They have community events for old people. I’m sorry, let me reword that. They have community events for “really” old people. Actually, the events are also for those younger residence, but it seems only the older folks attend. And after witnessing a few get-togethers I can understand why. My wife, however, squealed with delight, which didn’t surprise me. She is a social bee by nature. Sorry, I’m not. It required every fiber of my being to force my lips to curl up into a weak smile. Wonderful! Here is a sample package shown us….

1. Card parties–Outside of gambling, I am not a card person, especially when playing with people who require reminding from time to time as to what card game is being played, not to mention how to play.

2. Exercising–They lift weights that I believe are a stick with a foam ball on each end. The exercise regiment becomes less strenuous from there. Now don’t get me wrong. If you have read a fraction of my posts you’d already know I’m not a big fan of exercising. In fact I once strained a muscle while stretching to keep from…straining a muscle. But I refuse to go to a social gabfest under the pretense of it being physical exercise.

3. Happy Hour–Alright! Now that is not only an activity I enjoy, but one I am actually quite good at. In fact, if possible, I could become a group instructor. Unfortunately, our guide invited us to such an event. It quickly went down hill from there. The most exciting conversations explored everything from who just died, to asking anyone’s thoughts concerning the newest pocket catheters. I couldn’t even get a buzz on no matter how many doubles I belted down. And, now that I think about it, my arm-neck jerk were probably more strenuous than their exercise program.

4. Sports–They offer competition bowling, golf, and tennis. Unfortunately the games are being played on a big screen television, using a Wii. I could hardly contain my excitement! Believing they were really putting a cherry on the pie, and knowing my love of fishing, they also mentioned there was a fishing tournament game I could play. Goody! Nothing like sitting in a computerized bass boat when I have the real thing sitting in my garage. Decisions! Decisions!

5. Ball room dancing classes–I thought my wife was going to wet herself with excitement. Of course by then I had my belt off, looped around my neck and was looking for the nearest open rafter.

6. Excursion Buses–A chauffeur to drive me to the mall or the nearest casino. Between that and someone else mowing the lawn and weeding the flower beds…and, oh yes, a two-car garage where the wife can park her car and I can park my bass boat, I’ll use my bag of tricks to get out of the rest. Of course my tricks never work. But that doesn’t deter me from trying.

Well, we haven’t done it yet, but I will keep my six faithful followers posted…..



Knowing When It Has To Go

I just finished reading one of my favorite blogs, Chocolate Vent. Her latest post was about knowing when it is time to discard personal items; clothes, a well-worn toothbrush, ect. ect.. It got me to thinking; an occurance that can cause a humor writer permanent brain damage if practiced too often. So for that reason it is something I try not to make a habit of doing.

“What’s that stupid look on your face?” Maxine asked, her arms crossed and her eyes narrowed in suspicion. How that woman can appear out of thin air is scary!

“That happens to be my thinking look miss no-it-all,” I smugly replied.

“Well stop it. It always gets you in trouble.”

She was right, but that’s beside the point. And it would have been fine if left there. But the normal woman, my wife being no exception, just cannot stand by not knowing absolutely everything that is going on in her home, which includes any activities within the gray matter between my ears. So she had to ask. “Okay, what are you thinking about?”

“Throwing away stuff. I’m trying to remember the last time I actually threw away something I own.”

“That’s because you don’t, you nimrod!” she shot back. “I have to do it for you! Take your tooth brush for instance….”

Oh Lord! Once more I had voluntarily opened up a can of worms, not to mention a mega bite computer vault located somewhere in her brain from which she can bring up all past information as needed. She calls it relative data. I call it a computer virus.

Though I pretend I don’t, I do notice certain personal items suspiciously missing, and new items appearing in their place; new clothes in the closet, a new toothbrush or comb on my bathroom cabinet, ect. ect., The bottom line, if it were not for my personal needs fairy visiting while I’m away, I would still be wearing and using the stuff given to me as gifts over the past twenty years of Christmas’ and birthdays. I just don’t take it upon myself to buy anything personal. In fact the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. Really!

I’ll be the first to admit I am terrible about throwing personal stuff away. It probably goes back to my childhood. Though not poor, we still didn’t have money to throw around. And at an early age I was aware of the sacrifices our parents made. So if a watch band broke, it simply became a pocket watch. Why not? It still kept time. Tooth paste? That tube couldn’t have gotten any flatter or more tightly rolled up when it was finally replaced. Clothes, if too worn or stained, they became play clothes until they had almost lost all resemblance to their manufactured beginnings. Underwear, hey, as long as I could tell which were the holes the legs went in, they were still in working order. Who was going to see them? “Always have new-looking underwear on in case you get in an accident and have to go to the emergency room!” Sorry, the hospital staff would have to deal with the trauma of my shorts as well as the injury. My mother always bought socks in either black or white. That way if one got torn or the drier mysteriously ate it, there was always a mate waiting to take its place. That practice remains with me to this day!

Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I am not a miser. I spend my money freely, just not on personal items such as clothes, jewelry, ect. Well, there is one personal item I buy. I do spend money on my number one hobby, fishing. And though I sometimes tout in my posts that I do it to extremes, I really don’t. But it is certainly an expense I don’t neglect.

So when it comes to throwing away personal items, I guess it is a matter of priorities. And sometimes…no, all the time, those priorities widely differ between my wife and myself. Now I think I may go up and take a look at my toothbrush…Naaaahhhh! Now that Spring is here I think I’ll go out to my boat and see if I need any new tackle….

No Disrespect For Winter, but….

I hate winter. As far as I’m concerned Winter has no place in my perspective of a, “It’s the most wonderful time, yes the most wonderful time, it’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeaaarrrr!” Sorry, that was a poorly typed out rendition of Andy Williams singing his Winter classic. OBVIOUSLY, Andy Williams or the writer of that song were not fishermen, or at least not fishermen who get even remotely excited about bundling up like Eskimos, trudging out on a frozen lake, drilling holes in the ice, and dropping a line through them. Sorry, no disrespect to those folks who do such things. I just happen to be one who doesn’t.

I’ll be the first to say that in my younger day while fishing for salmon and steelhead I cheerfully trudge across frozen river rock and stood in streams with anchor ice floating by without giving it a thought. But finally my aging body screamed, “Enough is enough!” I don’t know. Maybe that’s why so many old farts move to Arizona or Florida. But, for me who loves to fish for bass, Arizona has an obvious lack of lakes to fish in, and Florida has creatures swimming in their waters that can either give me a life-threatening bite, or, worse yet, eat me. So I think I’ll just grow old here in Washington State, thank you. But that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy our Winters.

For me Winter brings on…not a depression, but more like a funk. When the cold winds of late October, early November come, and trees begin dropping their leaves, revealing their skeletal interior, that is not something I consider a mentally uplifting time of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, though enthusiastically played out, do not hold a candle to seeing the first Swallows of Spring sweeping through the blue skies, hearing that first warble of a Spring bird in the morning, and seeing green buds springing to life on the skeletal limbs that a week or two before seemed so bare and lifeless. But, thankfully, it is now once again Spring.

I am now entering my 68th Spring. And I would be a fool not to admit that I am a whole hell of a lot closer to the end of my Springs than the beginning. So I will end this post by saying this: “Dear Lord, forgive me for grumbling about Winter. I know that they are just as much a part of my time on this earth as the other seasons. I just happen to be a fisherman who appreciates every season but that one. So Lord while contemplating my grumblings, please remember that some of Your disciples were fishermen. And I would like to think that was not by accident. I know that was a cheap excuse, but I am sorry. That was the best I could come up with. AMEN!

A Fashion Show For Bass Fishermen

Our fashion show is dedicated to fishermen such as Darold here.

Our fashion show is dedicated to fishermen such as Darold here

Before retiring, my wife was the executive secretary to the president of one of the nation’s largest labor unions. For that reason she was always fashionably dressed. And even now that she is retired and no longer finds the need to wear such cloths unless on special occasions, she still enjoys watching fashion shows on one of our cable channels. Of course I am bored into another dimension. The reality is, because most of us guys have the attentions span of fruit bat, any fashion show other than a wet T-shirt contest sends us off into la la land. But what about a designer fashion show for bass fishermen? Now that would be…well…different. And there is no doubt it would be the subject of conversation for weeks after, not to mention possible nightmares. Anyway, picture yourself at a fashion show, strobe lights flashing, and Merle Hagart pounding out a heart-felt, and, yes, lip-quivering rendition of “I’m Proud To Be An Okie From Maskokie.” And here he comes, the first bass fisherman model prancing down the runway as the master of ceremony’s microphone crackles to life….

And here comes our first bass fisherman of the evening. Yes ladies and gentlemen, highlighting his protruding stomach and belly button seductively winking from beneath its ill-fitting polyester plaid shirt is our first angler. You’ll notice his stained Levis are loose in the crotch and baggy in the butt, giving plenty of room for his abundant anatomy to spread out while bending over to net a fish. You will also notice their heavy-duty belt loops created to handle the heaviest of key rings, no matter how many keys are on it. Our model is also wearing a set of stylish sunglasses that can be found in almost any discount bin. But forget about a fashion statement, these over-sized babies easily hide the ogling eyes of the fisherman who spots a young lady sunbathing on a dock. And, er, unlike our model, we recommend the manufacturer’s tag be taken off. Thank you Ricky D Basser. And on to our next model….

This bass fisherman is obviously carrying a designer cooler made by…aaa, Bud Light. In a dimly lit room, its colors nicely compliment his pre-stained by the designer sweat shirt, with sleeves cut off at the shoulders to reveal a tastefully created and obviously well-thought-out tatoo of a snake wrapped around the body of a naked woman whose name seems to be…aah, Tammy Fay…or Ray, possibly Bay. Anyway, with a healthy touch of imagination, complimenting the sweat shirt are a nicely wrinkled pair of cargo pants, their numerous pockets giving ample room for fishing worms, maggots, salmon eggs, a forgotten sandwich, or any combination of the above. Their heavy-duty velcro straps ensure that whatever their contents may be, they will remained safely confined until the wife is shocked into another time zone when discovered on wash day. Thank you Billy Ray Thorpfester.

Our next bass fishing model is sporting a four-day growth of whiskers that highlight his well-worn baseball cap, its brim tightly curled. Of course the brim now serves absolutely no purpose in shading the eyes or face. So forget about cataracts or stage three melanoma, this tattered headwear becomes far more important as a fashion statement, and can be worn either forward or backward. It also compliments his tattered cowboy shirt missing its lower buttons and once more revealing another protruding belly. Below the belly which nicely hides the Bass Pro Shops belt buckle you will notice the Denim jeans. They sport ragged holes that reveal blindingly white portions of his legs. As he returns up the runway, you will also notice a well-worn ring on the rear pocket. That is where he carries his can of chewing tobacco. And as you can see by his smile which is revealing teeth obviously lacking their original count, he does enjoy chewing tobacco. Thank you, Willy B Wartle.

Our last model reveals a bold new look in bass fishing attire. He is wearing a nicely pressed and clean pair of cargo shorts and a brightly colored shirt covered with patches advertizing almost every lure, outboard motor, and boat manufacturer that is dedicated to the sport of bass fishing. If he actually uses any of the products advertised it is totally by happenstance. In actuality this bass fisherman couldn’t give a rip less about what products are represented on his shirt which he purchased on the internet. He simply wants to look like a professional bass fisherman who has sponsors begging him for his endorsement. So please, ladies and gentleman, let’s give the wearer of this style an understanding round of applause for wanting nothing more than to look like a…well, really good bass fisherman.

Well, what do ya think? The idea could go cable. Hey, if Duck Dynasty and Swamp Hunters can make it, I see no reason…..

IIIIYYYYYEEEEEEE! And Other Fishing Terminologies

I often use terminologies only familiar to fellow fishermen. To anyone else they are not exactly a foreign language, but more like words and phrases used with different meanings. So for the sake of my meager group of dedicated followers, here is my “Fisherman’s Dictionary.” So if you have absolutely nothing better to do, this may come in handy…Well it might! Sheesh!

1. Great day of fishing: Any day I fish alone, leaving no one to contradict my story.

2. Successful pattern: Two fish caught anytime during the day that were on two lures that even remotely resembled one another.

3. Structure: What I hit with my outboard motor, forcing me to dig through my tackle box for a replacement sheer pin that’s actually back home in the garage.

4. Top water lure: My grandkids’ Ducky Bobber left in the boat and worms after not getting a bite on every lure in my tackle box.

5. Catch and release: A popular practice among fishermen, but also the best cover up I’ve ever found for a fishless day.

6. Boating into the sunset: What happens when I motor out on the lake, unaware that my boat’s drain plug is out.

7. The D-Day launch: When I shove my boat off the trailer, certain that I had securely tied off the bow rope. And, of course, there is not another boater in sight as my boat quietly drifts out into the lake, with bow rope floating along behind.

8. The dry dock launch: This happens when I actually believed the wife could back me and boat into the water. But then for reasons still not clear, she slammed on the brakes, sending boat and me sliding off the trailer and onto the concrete nowhere near the water.

9. I caught a few: This is my standard answer when a fellow angler asks me how I’m doing. Of course “a few” can be any number which is usually zero.

10. IIIIIYYYYYEEEEEEE!: A sound made when a fishing partner is about to create a hole in my face where my nose is located with a treble-hooked lure he is about to cast.

11. A memorable moment: A big fish caught with witnesses on a near-by dock or boat. (Hey, it’ not just me. All fishermen are natural show-offs!)

12. The Texas spin step: The maneuver used when a family of five suddenly steps out of the bushes while I’m standing up in my boat using my portable urinal. This, of course, results in me peeing all over myself.

13. Fisherman’s toilet paper: Any form of wipe to use during an emergency when actual toilet paper is not available; usually something with all the absorbent qualities of wax paper.

14. A fisherman’s lunch: After forgetting lunch on the kitchen counter, lunch becomes stale bread wrapped around a strange form of dehydrated peanut butter and jelly from…okay, I don’t have the slightest idea when it was left in the boat.

And lastly, two of my blog followers each used a word in my comment box that immediately created crackling wisps of smoke emanating from my ears, and sending me scrambling for a dictionary. And you know who you are! Anyway, because I was so impressed with their expanded use of the English language, I promised them I would find a use for those words in one of my posts. That way I could have the chance to blow the brain fuse of some other unsuspecting illiterate soul. But first of all, I thought it only fair to give a fisherman’s definition of those words.

15. Petard: “An explosive device thrown in the water that will catch fish when no other lure will, resulting in fish immediately coming to the surface while at the same time swimming upside down.”

16. Verbage: “Making more of the written or spoken word than is necessary; hot-winded; drawing attention to oneself; flaunting self-importance.” Though not actually being familiar with the word itself, my wife compares me to its definitions quite regularly. I would go into more detail on the subject but I don’t want myself perceived as being aaa…er, verbageous.

The Secret Life Of A Catalogue Writer

For those who refuse to give up on their dream of writing for a living, yet just can’t get anything published, there are some who become catalogue writers. You know, the guy who writes the small paragraph next to the product, touting its reasons to be purchased? Being a bass fisherman, tackle catalogues come in the mail all the time. One day while thumbing through one of these catalogues and reading what was being said about each product, a thought crossed my mind. Now because there is not much between my ears to hinder thoughts from passing straight through without hanging up, when a thought does stop long enough for me to ponder, I take notice. I also take on strange looks that sometimes scares my wife. Anyway, the thought was, “Who writes these little ditties? Somewhere hidden inside a small cubicle is a person who is paid to do this.

Here is an example written for a fishing lure: “The naturally shaped and brilliantly colored finish of this lure is bound to bring cataclysmic strikes from even the most wary of big bass.” According to the author, this lure not only makes dumb fish react by clobbering the living bejesus out of it, it does the same with even the smartest. Impressive! Now this guy was born to be a catalogue writer, and has accepted his place in life! His fishing jargon is absolute poetry. But then there is the catalogue writer who can’t quite let go of his aspirations of being a true author with his impressive grasp of the English language. Such a person must have written this sales pitch for a certain make of fishing rod. It reads as such, with my thoughts as they came to mind.

These new super light fishing rods are built with high-tensile strength HTSC30 carbon blanks. (Okay pal, you’re attempting to sell this fishing pole to bass fishermen, many with a I.Q. just a little higher than a pastrami on rye, light years from being a structural engineer. You might as well have said it was made of ZYTL62 carbon blanks, or any other random combination of letters and numbers. I would have never known the difference.) These fishing rods also utilize a new double-helix construction. (Alright! Now all I have to do is figure out what the hell “helix” is. Oh well, whatever it is it’s double.) And this helix construction exponentially (Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Exponentially? Really? Okay, would all the bass fishermen out there please raise their hands if they have the slightest idea what that word means. I.Q.? Remember? Two of my fingers tied themselves in a double-hitched knot just attempting to type the word, let alone figure out its definition. All I know is if I were to ever use that word down at Kelly’s Bar and Grill, our local watering hole for us fishermen, I would be permanently ejected with no chance of parole. Ever! I have said it before, but it bares repeating. There are two rule infraction that will get you kicked out of Kelly’s: using words of four syllables or more, or telling a bald-faced truth. Anyway,) this increases strength while reducing weight. Slick and durable, Pac Bay Hialoy micro guides focus your line for longer casts. (I don’t have the slightest idea how fishing line is focused. I guess I’ll have to take a closer look while casting.)

Of course there is also another interpretation of the word “focus.” It comes into play in this story about two sisters from the deep south who were approached by a photographer wanting to take some pictures of them. One of them was a little nervous when he led them to an empty building across the street.

“What do ya figger he’s goin’ ta do?” the one whispered to the other.

“Well I figger the first thing he’ll do is focus.”

The other’s eyes widened. “Bofe of us?”

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. And he ends the pitch with this….

This rod is an exceptional value and a steel at $149.99. (Okay, who is getting the steel? Because I can purchase a fishing rod that just tickles me pink for around forty bucks, I think this buy would be stealing money from me. So all I have to say to the company of this catalogue, this is not the guy you want writing for a catalogue dedicated to bass fishermen. And I exponentially mean that!

Ya Can’t Out-Do Ole’ Bill

Have you ever known someone who has to “one-up” everyone and everything? Always saying something along the lines of, “If you think that was something, wait till I tell you about….” Of course you have. We all have. Everything they do is either bigger, faster, prettier, uglier, ect, ect. I once worked with a man who was a shining example. Old Bill.

Bill was a skinny little guy, standing maybe 5’5″, and weighing no more than 110 pounds soaking wet. For whatever reason he worked well past retirement age. I think that work may have been his only hobby. And because he was a widower who lived alone, the only people available to brag…I’m sorry, talk to were his co-workers. I never met his wife, but I can’t imagine anyone being able to endure this guy day after day, and year after year. She must have been stone deaf, or had skin thicker than a rhino, or both. I know for us there were days at work that were torturous!

Because I was and still am a guy who loves to bass fish, he once approached me and asked what was the biggest bass I ever caught. I told him 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

“Oh that ain’t nothing!” he replied with a wave of his hand. (Gee, what a surprise!) You ever fish Lake St. Claire?”

“Many times,” I replied. “In fact I caught a 8-7 there several years back.”

“You call that big? I’ve taken three from that lake over 20 pounds each.”

From anyone else I would have laughed, knowing such an exaggeration was meant to be a joke. But I knew that was not the case with Bill. “Wow, Bill, those are some big bass,” I replied, and let it go at that. For anyone not familiar with fishing records, the world record largemouth bass was caught in 1932 and weighed 22 pounds, 4 ounces. Now I don’t know what Bill meant when he said his three fish weighed “over” 20 pounds each, but he still came pretty close to breaking the world record. But what was really amazing is our Washington State record. His fish almost doubled it…three times…on the same lake…and for all I know, on the same day. Our state record was set in 1977 and, compared to Bill’s fish, was only a measly 11.57 pounds. Of course, strangely, that record still stands. I guess because ole’ Bill was such a humble guy, he probably didn’t want the fame. What a guy!

Now besides being a person who stretches the truth into another time zone, Bill’s intelligence was also left in another time zone. And when those two short-comings were combined, you had the perfect ingredients for the following incident….

While riding in the crew bus on our way to the job site, and with elk season approaching, the guys were swapping tales about past hunting trips. Of course Bill was sitting in the back, his beady little eyes dancing with excitement while waiting for his turn. And we all knew that sooner or later his turn would be coming. Of course, it was sooner. He could wait no longer. It was time for him to commence oohing and aahhing us adoring fans. Lucky us!

“Hell,” he bellowed, “you think that’s big? I once shot a bull elk that weighed 4000 pounds!”

“Bill,” one of the guys shot back, “that is so much crap! There isn’t an elk in the world that weighs two tons!”

Bill’s eyes widened in indignation. “I didn’t say it weighed two tons, dammit! I said it weighed 4000 pounds!”

I rest my case, and this post….