Once Every 7 Years
My brother is a very busy person with an occupation that requires a great amount of attention and effort. He also is an exceptionally devoted father and husband that spends most of his little free time with his family. He does have hobbies and passions – fishing for steelhead used to be one of them.
Nearly 7 years ago, he and I choose different passions to focus our free time energy allotment into. As young men our father had introduced us to the outdoors, and taught us many great lessons – using hunting and fishing as the text books of his classroom. My brother with limited time to enjoy outdoor activities choose to hyper-focus his attention into hunting, it’s obvious what I decided to pour my free time into.
We figured out that it had been nearly 7 years since my brother joined my father, whom still splits his time between sitting in trees and standing in rivers, and myself on a fishing excursion. This year everything finally fell into place, our schedules all synched and my brother expressed renewed interest and excepted an invitation to join us.
A few days of planning and coordination only added to my own anticipation to spending a day on the water with my father and brother as we had done so many times long ago. I was excited to have the gang back together, and it became obvious on Friday night that my brother shared the same sentiment.
We met at my house early Saturday morning and loaded my 2 man inflatable raft, and my fathers 1 man toon. After a quick double check of the gear inventory we were off.
My brother, a talented outdoorsman – actually he is talented at anything he chooses to do (don’t tell him I said that though) – jumped right back into the game, as if he hadn’t even left it.
A mere minutes into the float, my brother was able to hook and land his first steelhead in a long time. Years of memories of he and I tagging along with dad, stumbling around on creek banks in oversized waders and packs weighted down by several sandwiches and extra clothing packed by mom, came rushing back. It was again the way it always was, it was familar.
This was familar to me as well.
What was unfamilar for me was the food. As many of you have already gathered, both by my past posts and my growing waist line, I enjoy good food. On most occassions, I am the coordinator of the riverside lunches. Cooking for others is a gift given to me by my mother, a wonderful cook that always makes certain every meal is carefully prepared and can be enjoyed by everyone present. However, on this day I reluctantly relinquished my typical duty of going to great lengths to make sure that even if the fishing sucks, at least there is a great bankside meal to look forward to. My brother spent much of the day prior, when not filling his flask with scotch or looking for gear that hadn’t seen the light of day in many years, prepping a feast.
We ENJOYED pork that had been in his smoker for much of the previous day, bacon wrapped BBQ venison tenderloin bites, and homemade baked beans, (once again, please don’t tell him) a meal far better than anything I’ve put together on the river before. Unlike many days I’ve spent on the river, we didn’t need a hot meal to lift the spirits of the group.
The rest of the day featured a few more shots at fish, and of course getting back to our roots, good natured competition and ribbing ensued. As I was the only one to not be able to capitalize on an opportunity, it was a 2 horse race between my two companions. Those two would make a competition out of anything – especially when outside of the supervison of mom.
It sounds cliche’ at times, but this day truly was not about the fish – they were simply the excuse for us 3 to be back together enjoying the outdoors together as we had so many times before. It was great to be in their presence again.