Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Mom & Dad,


I am writing to let you know, that for the first time in my life, I will be missing Thanksgiving dinner.

Steel > Thanksgiving.

Over the years, this dinner has meant a lot to me as I am sure it has for you. Every year I enjoy the company and the laughs that only our family can produce. From the incessant "knob" jokes, the political ramblings about the current administration, Dad's gut wrenching laugh, or even Sophie always finding a way to get something off the table. This goes along with your lovely food that takes you hours upon hours to produce. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, crescent rolls, cranberries, pumpkin cake roll, cheesecake, Christmas cookies, and beer. I love waking up to the smell of turkey in the oven not only because it smells so great, but also because it is one of the few times the dogs actually leave me alone. Simply put, I love Thanksgiving. However, as you already know, I love something else too.

Praise The Steel.

And The Weather.

Since you bought my first fly rod for my 13th birthday, I have developed an addiction to the sport of fly fishing. You already you know this. Over the years you have seen me (or have not seen me) depart the house during the wee hours of the morning in search of all manner of fish in all manner of conditions. From the 100 degree heat of the summer, to the freezing temperatures of winter. From raging thunderstorms to white out blizzards, I greatly enjoy being out on the water. At first, you did not understand the symptoms but over the years you began to understand. You supported my addiction. Always helping me buy new gear, paying for my gas, and always stocking me up with food for my long road trips. You usually questioned why I needed another fly rod, a new reel, or another undergarment. But you always listened to my explanation and let me make the decision. For that I am thankful.

Now, you are probably wondering why I need to miss Thanksgiving dinner, one of the few times each year the whole family is together. Well...there is this fish. It's called a steelhead and it is a magnificent creature. It grows large in the depths of the Great Lakes aggressively feeding on a smorgasbord of aquatic insects and fish. At various times throughout the year they make their way back to their original starting point and anglers from all over the world journey to these waters to catch them. Fresh out of the lakes, they are dime bright, their chrome sides glistening in the rays of the sun. They eagerly take the flies I tie with all that material that usually clutters the kitchen table. When you hook them, they go ape-shit in the fast currents they love. Usually jumping in every direction testing your line, rod, reel, and your forearm. Originally these fish were not found in the Great Lakes. They are native to the Pacific Rim where (wild) they grow to even more epic proportions and feats of strength. Be thankful, I never get a taste of that game or else you would probably never see me again.

Silver Bullet.

Big Bucks.

Departing Steel.

Now up to this point I am missing Thanksgiving because of my addiction to fly fishing and steelheading. I also want you to know that I have a shot at a monstrous brown trout upwards of twenty pounds. Yes, brown trout grow to epic proportions (world record) in the Great Lakes and we live within driving distance of this fishery. By missing Thanksgiving I'll be fishing for large brown trout without having to travel to New Zealand or Argentina. No passport required. These fish are heavy bulldogs whose violent head thrashes let everyone know you have one on the line. Males possess raw strength and a vicious looking kype while females possess the weight and girth thanks to a belly full of eggs. These are beautiful fish worthy of missing Thanksgiving.

Brute.

Browns > Thanksgiving.

My third reason is that it's Thanksgiving! No one in their right mind will be out during the largest feast of the year. Everyone will be at home with their friends and families leaving all the waters to me! Oh wait, I am surely not the only one with this disease. I will not be alone, hundreds of others are thinking the same thing I am right now. Steelhead, Brown Trout, and less crowded water. Screw Turkey!

Solitude.

Equals More Steel For Me.

I am sorry Mom and Dad, I must depart soon after I arrive home Monday night. Please have an extra turkey cooked for me along with all the other Thanksgiving fixtures. Have it wrapped and ready to go so that I may be with you in spirit on Thursday. I fully intend to eat it streamside and share it with any other anglers that have the same addiction I do. Also, please share this letter with any friends and family that question my decision. I am sure they will understand.

Love,

Mark

2 comments:

kerdosy said...

Dear Son,
All we have ever wanted for our children is for them to find passion and happiness in this world. You have found yours and though it means we see you less, that smile on your face that only catching a big brown or a golden carp or a magnificent steelhead can bring, makes up for your absence. Now, about that extra turkey with all the trimmings ...
Mom

Lexi said...

you're abandoning me.