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FFIM • View topic - Cedar chairs

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FFIM is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and preserving Maine's fisheries
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 Post subject: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 29th, 2020, 5:50 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3403
Location: Vassalboro, Maine
Ah winter...I guess it is a time that makes me enjoy other times so much more. Kind of like having a turtle bite my toe- feels so good when it lets go.

This is a transitional year for us. The old fart from out front has hit the edge, or, Dad at 83 (going 84) has run into Father Time. His issues have consumed us for the fall and winter (so far). It is both terrifying and educational to deal with hospitals and end of life issues. While this only tangentially relates to flyfishing, it will get there.

Fall at Grand Lake Stream was brutal in it’s sadness. The changes coming with the alewives will change the river we love so much, and the biologists we spoke to are sullen and long faced about what next fall will show. In fact, the lead biologist told Gussa and me to “...enjoy the spring, because the fall will be awful.”

Dad was at camp all fall. You may have seen him sitting in the cedar chairs and yelling at his dog...he may have had a drink going. The truth is, Dad knows about fly fishing what a normal human knows about speaking Klingon. He never was much more than a proud worm dunker, as proven by the dozens of worm containers I have removed from the refrigerator over the last 25 years. Much like me in baseball...he talked a good game but didn’t really play.

Anyway, he sat out front and watched- sometimes for hours at a time, and he came to know many of YOU by your hat, or your net, or your size/gender. “The Big Guy caught 3 this afternoon.”, “The cowboy hat guy fell in, but kept fishing.”, “Hey, did you see that young woman with the blue line cast? She looks like she can really throw.”...

More to his liking were the people- again, some of you- who stopped and had a beer with him. He loaded a cooler for 2 weekends each morning and I took it down to the chairs so he could offer a little drink to fishers as the moved past. Mostly it was Jeff’s crappy beer, or whatever had been left in camp- but many of you made his day by sitting and letting him connect.

On the last 2 weeks of the season, 2 dear friends from Massachuecetts ( HOLY ****!!! Did I spell that right?) came to spend the week at “bird camp”. Both of them are facing life issues also, but we do not talk about that...we are here for the hunting and fishing. They got 1 bird...must have been the dumbest partridge in all of Maine. Mostly they rode the roads so Dad could go, as he can’t really walk...and often they stayed at camp and watched the show out front.

When I could, I was there, as were both brothers and Gussa. It was clear by then this would be his last fall at camp- and maybe his last time ever at the river’s edge. Typically, when the season closed, the next morning he blew out of camp before any cleaning or work was done, and headed home. This was also near the last time he drove...as he had hit almost every tree in Washington county, and many in Hancock county.

As it stands, dad in fighting cancer, a heart that works at 15%, and dementia. He is remembering 3 dogs, but thankfully not the current one. He is sure he is in a really nice hotel, but isn’t sure where ( for some reason, he thinks he is in Millbridge?!!).

So...what this has shown me is that I will renew my plan to rage against missing a day on the water. Push that extra effort to get out of bed and drive north. Never take the easier way of saying I can’t go… I once said fish hard as we will all be dead a long time. I was much more sanguine about that statement then. I mean it now. Push. Go. Get that best friend to go. Spend the money, rent the camp, drive the drive, tie the flies, rush to the finish line...and love the fish on the end of that line. Catch one for those who can no longer do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 7:43 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 29th, 2016, 6:46 am
Posts: 79
Location: Sebago ME, Errol NH
Well written tribute to your Dad. I will say a prayer for both your Dad and yourself asking for patience and that the love you share will get you both through this season in your lives. Best of luck to dear old Dad.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 8:48 am 
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Wanna-be Maineiac

Joined: December 11th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 2487
Location: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris...
Nice post Chris and thank you for sharing your story here with us. I agree, life is short...to short to say it can wait or I’ll go next week.

Prayers to your family.

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 9:04 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 174
Location: Windsor
Very nice Hutch. Very true as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 11:35 am 
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FFIM Addict
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5593
Location: Near the tying bench
This is a tough post to read and respond to.

I'm going to miss the old curmudgeon. He brought levity to life with a wry Downeast former state trooper sort of way. He was (and I'm sure still is) colorful to those around him. As evidence of his colorfulness, my father, though he only met "the old fart" out to camp once when he stopped out for a plumbing inspection, still occasionally asks how Lew is doing. Cherish your remaining time with him. He will be missed by many along the Stream.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a tub of worms this spring and take off on the back roads by yourself to dunk a worm (or two) in his honor. You've got a lot of exploring left to do around the local area to catch up with where he leaves off. And you might even learn something.

As an aside, but since you brought up birds- bird season was interesting Downeast this year. I didn't see many birds in the roads, but while out moose hunting- I jumped quite a few up in various covers (some were surprising places to find them). The most I saw in one day was 26. That might be a record for me in that area. None were harmed, as I was focused elsewhere. A trip to Africa and then a move to the new house consumed most of the rest of the fall up until late duck season on the tidewater. But this fall- the birds are going to be in trouble (as the dog is getting some more formal instruction, and I will have more time to hunt).

I learned a long time ago that you have to enjoy life along the way. Make the time to do the things that make the memories for down the road.

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"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 12:08 pm 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 1488
Location: Bangor
Beautiful words Hutch. After my first real middle age Doctor visit yesterday ( hip does NOT need to be replaced) and watching friends and acquaintances start pass and particularly friend's parents, your thoughts are very prescient.

Good luck and tight lines to you and your family. We will meet on a river some day!


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 4:00 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 4335
Location: Ellsworth
Very nice tribute to your Dad, Hutch. Treasure every minute you still have left with your Dad. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was having to put my Dad into an Alzheimer’s unit. Even knowing it had to be done, I left there feeling like a real ****. I’m well aware that aging is all part of the circle of life, but that doesn’t make it suck any less.

I still take your words to heart ever summer when I head West. You told me that almost a decade ago at one of Mikes Tie & Lies, and I’ve never forgotten it.

I’ve lost four really good friends in the last year......so I’m really trying diligently to live every day like it’s my last day. With the loss of SuperBoo I don’t get to see you as often as in the past. Hopefully we’ll run into each other on some stream this summer.

Dave M


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 4:10 pm 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1447
Location: Wells, ME
Beautiful tribute and timely words. We lost the man that taught me to fly fish, my father in law, last fall - also a tough battle with cancer. As I sorted through his old photo albums, it broke my heart that I didn't know him "back in the day". 60 years of fishing licenses in an album - so glad he kept them all. If those pictures could talk, I'd listen to the stories all day.

Cherish those memories - they are truly priceless. Dunk a worm, cast a fly, crack open a beer - I wish you all peace.....

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May your hope always outweigh your doubts, before this old world finally...punches you out.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 30th, 2020, 9:03 pm 
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Joined: September 28th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 2792
Hutch,
A very touching tribute. Cherish the time left. And allow the memories to help guide you.
Our prayers to your father, you and your family.

Ron and Emily

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

Sir John Buchan


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 8:02 am 
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Joined: December 3rd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 2299
Location: N44.88305* W68.67206*
A fine tribute indeed, Hutch - your Dad had a great run and couldn't have made it with a better set of sons! Many of those exact thoughts went thru my head when our Mom left camp for the last time a little more than a year ago...be strong & good luck.

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The best things in life...aren't things.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 8:23 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 10:35 am
Posts: 369
Location: flatland and Vienna Me.
Very well written again. Your a lucky man to have all those memories with your Dad. I loved the part where he knew the fisherman by description. Wishing you and your family all the best in these trying times.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 1:18 pm 
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Joined: October 16th, 2006, 12:00 am
Posts: 1443
Location: Harrison
Very poignant. Best to all involved.
I don’t mean to move this thread sideways, but part of the sadness in that post applies to the River. That its glory may be waning, particularly in the fall. I’m not sure how alewives factor into that water, but your testimony of a tough fall and predictions of more to come can certainly be corroborated elsewhere.
The Sebago area is one. Fall is now a month late, has been for more than five years.
I hope all fathers and sons (and daughters) are able to accumulate memories as richly as you and yours...but the times are certainly changing.

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"It gets late early out there" - Yogi Berra


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: January 31st, 2020, 3:10 pm 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: February 27th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 1538
Location: Mercer, Maine
Beautiful tribute to your Dad and to embracing Life.

Couldn't agree more.

Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: February 1st, 2020, 4:21 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3676
Location: T3R11
Friend of mine sent me a link to this post. He's pretty good with his information so I needed to take a look. The subject has a great deal of relevance to an old man who sits in an age right between guys like Hutch and his father. It's a poignant and powerful story about issues many of us face now or will in the future. I also have a favorite river I've watched roll by for 30 years or so and increasing I spend most of my time watching the water and the young people fishing. Take the advice of many here and fish and travel when you're able. Those cedar chairs wait for all.

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Ignore climate change at your peril.


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 Post subject: Re: Cedar chairs
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2020, 11:23 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: October 16th, 2006, 12:00 am
Posts: 290
Location: Back in E Vassalboro
Hutch,
Your words sound very familiar, I found most days it was better to laugh than cry but they both really do work. You and the brothers are good sons to journey this together with your dad. The stories are endless but I will never forget the night your dad said to my brother "hey Fidel, you gonna light that thing?!" as only he could. Thinking of you and your family.
Bails

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"I'd rather die while I'm living, than live when I'm dead."
Jimmy Buffett


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