Every year, a few weeks before my fishing trip, my wife tells me to let her know when I'm "checking out". She claims that I leave for my trip mentally, several days before I leave physically. I leave in 18 days. I haven't checked out yet, but it's getting close.
Happy Birthday to my sister Tina, who has a big one tomorrow. The ones that end in zero can be hard to take. Love you Tina!
I've been spending too much money on audiobooks lately. I put them on my iphone and listen to them when I'm driving. It's a great way for me to get books in and I really get into it. I have a hard time sitting and reading. I always fall asleep. The audiobooks just work for me. The last three books I listened to were Stephen King books. I had no idea that he was such a great writer. That guy is a master at building characters and telling stories. The Stand was incredible. I always thought of Stephen King strictly as a horror writer. Not true at all.
The annual fishing trip is four weeks away. We're going north again this year, to Deer Lake in Minnesota. I miss Taneycomo. It's was 2009 when we last went south for our spring trip. There's still a part of me that lives there on that dock at Ozark Beach on the bottom end of Taneycomo. I've done a lot of grieving there and a lot of laughing there. There's something about that place that recharges me. Deer Lake just doesn't feel the same. Getting away with the Troutslayers is the most important part though, so I will enjoy every bit of it. It just won't feel exactly right.
The reason we ended up at Ozark Beach on Lake Taneycomo 16 years ago was because Scot's (fellow Troutslayer) Grandma and Grandpa lived down there. Ozark Beach is primarily a retirement community. The guy that owns the complex has three cabins that he rents out. That's where we stay. Scot's Gma (Phyllis) and Gpa (Dick) lived at Ozark Beach and owned a nice pontoon boat that we always used. It was convenient and cheap, which is how most good lasting traditions usually start out. When we first started going down there, we always went to Phyllis and Dick's house for breakfast on our last day. Dick would always come visit us earlier in the trip, either on the dock, or in the cabin, have a beer with us and tell us dirty stories. They became a part of the trip that we all looked forward too. One of my favorite fishing trip memories happened maybe five years ago. Scot caught a big brown trout, his biggest one ever. It was pretty late when we came in from fishing. We went to the cabin for a round of whiskey to celebrate. Scot was full of whiskey and general good cheer because of his catch. He wanted to go show his Grandma. I walked over there with him. The lights were off. It didn't matter. Phyllis answered the door in her nightgown. Scot and I carried the cooler in and opened it up to show her the prize fish. The look on her face, so proud of her grandson, is permanently burned into my memory. Phyllis died a year or so later. Dick passed a week ago. Their house at Ozark Beach is now for sale. Our physical connection is gone. Our spiritual one will always remain.