The first significant snowfall each year is magic.  Pure magic.  My kids are walking talking buzzing humming and jabbering evidence of this.  The kids aren't the only ones who are excited.  I am too. I look forward to the first snow every year.

Knowing that the first snowfall is usually a little wet and heavy as the ground hasn't completely frozen, I look forward to the stickiness of the snow on every branch and blade of grass.  In time, this enthusiasm will fade as I am painfully reminded of my refusal to purchase a snowblower...but for now, I can dig it.

To add to all of this, it is Sunday.  The kids can rip through some breakfast and are (in a nice change of pace) glad to go outside right away.  The air in the house is happy as they put on every piece of snow gear they own.  Since it is Sunday, should they be in church?  Maybe according to some.  I respectfully submit that as they scream, hoop and holler and giggle incessantly in joy that is as pure as the fallen snow they are playing in, they are closer to god than anyone passing a collection plate right now.

As for me, I am brought back to my own childhood.  I was the same way....  So while my wife gets a much needed chance to sleep in, I slip on down to the Lab to enjoy the morning in my own way.  Coffee in hand.

No real projects or specific flies in mind to work on, just a chance to plug in to my own relaxed state of mind.  I've earned this.  I am at one of those places in my career where I am ready to step on through to the next stage...but getting to this place has taken a lot of my extra energy.  Now that I have worked through some of the bigger road blocks, I feel I can settle in and reflect a bit.  This morning is the perfect setting for some good old fashioned peace of mind.

Since the trout season is closed and I don't have enough time to travel over to Iowa for some winter fishing, the Lab is my destination of choice.

I put a gold bead on a size 16 scud hook.  No easy task considering the amount of coffee that I have had....but once the bead is on, in the vise it goes. Seems to me that some music is in order.  The mood of the day is reflective, so I punch up Pandora on my phone, run it through the speakers at my fly tying bench, and decide fairly quickly on "Outlaw Country".  I'm not usually a country music kind of listener, but this takes me back to being in my dads Ford F250 with vinyl bench seats, a CB radio and an AM radio blaring Johnny Cash, David Allen Coe and the like.

I guess, now that I think about this, it could be said that I have country roots.

I think to myself, "wouldn't it bake the old man's noodle if he knew I was in my basement thinking about all of this, and listening to 'HIS' music by way of a phone that pulls a radio station out of of the internet??"  He still hasn't figured out how to set the clock on his VCR for crying out loud...

Wrap the lead.  Start in the middle of the shank, and twist it on up to the bead.  Then wrap some thread and secure the weight in place.  As I do this "King of the Road" comes on and I am grateful to listen to the song without my dad howling the words at the top of his lungs.  God that man had a terrible singing voice.  He knew it though.  And the more pain I looked like I was in, the louder he sang.  I would beg my mom to do something about the annoying off key man in the driver's seat, but she was as helpless to stop him as I was.  Mom and I suffered together for a lot of hours in that truck.  It was a bonding thing,  No one will ever TRULY understand this the same way mom and I do.

Tie in some crystal flash for the tail, Then tie in some red Ultra wire. Next up, dub in some "Ice Hare" dubbing and run it nearly up to the bead.  Wrap the Ultra wire up and tie off behind the bead.  Sit back and think to myself "If that ain't country, I'll kiss your ass".

Long pause, more coffee, and realize that I have an audience.  The MacLooshkins and the neighbor girl are all staring at me and giggling.  They've caught me singing "The Highwayman" at full volume and can hear me from outside the house.  Now that I've been noticed, I stop singing, make funny faces at them as they pile snow against the basement window while yelling "We can HEAR you Daddy!".  The MacLooshkins are embarrassed because their dad is howling along at country music--At the top of his lungs. .......Oh.....My......God....... it hits me.  I'm not so different than my dad.


Without missing an opportunity, Johnny Cash comes on singing his remake of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the circle be unbroken".  God clearly has a good sense of humor.

A few wraps of pink "Scud Dubbing" and tie it off.  A few whip finishes and it is time to admire my work.

Almost as soon as they are done giggling about the singing, the chorus of "Dad!  Come outside with us!" has begun.  Given my love of the fist snow, and the fact that there is NO joy quite like that of pelting your children with snowballs, I am shutting down the lab, and turning off the computer.  For now.

Til later,


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