Saturday, May 7, 2011

Taking an Older Brother Fishing

Every life experience either teaches us something or gives us a clearer view of ourselves. Self judgments often rise up and fall into the haze of these experiences. Who is to say what the value of each experience really is, but as time marches on we compile a complex assortment of experiences that make us who we are and what we are. Now and then an experience catches me off guard and my reaction will surprise me.
For five years I have ask my GLB (Great Liberal Brother) to come along on a nine day fishing trip I take each April. I have been criticized by many for my timing of this trip because the fishing is tough, the weather is unpredictable, the water is cold and even a month later all conditions improve drastically. As an example, on these trips we may experience snow, sleet, soft rain, hard sideways rain, pelting rain, wind without rain, below freezing cold, and wonderfully now and then that wonderful weather – sunshine with no wind.  So, why April you ask, it is simple, few people are there. The regular fishing season that brings the throngs of folks from far and near that suffocates the area starts the last weekend of April and I do my best to avoid the spectacle.
When my brother told me he was coming this year, a pressure began to build in my subconscious. He would be traveling over 2,500 miles at a significant cost and time. As you all know I have a tendency to embellish a story now and then.  I wouldn’t admit to outright exaggerating or straight out lying but you all know most of our stories are really not that interesting unless certain parts are given a floral sparkle. So as you read on about my neurosis and begin to think I am crazy, my defense will be, it’s floral sparkle.
As I prepared for this trip along with my GLB’s attendance, my mind rushed back trying to exhume past renditions of these trips that I had told my GLB. That is the trouble with stories in the past, they are so hard to remember, let alone the floral sparkle. I guess the real question is, what was my GLB’s expectation? Expectations as you know can be fatal and at a minimum lead to real disappointment.
Naturally I ask myself, what would Michael Scott from the “Office” do in such a situation? I could not come up for certainty his exact response so I pulled from past Grayquill efforts to get out of a fix and that was equally useless. Granted I did not know if I was in a fix but one can never be too careful – right? Lowering expectations for sure seemed prudent. That thought resulted in a phone call to GLB. Which I did with much flagrant exaggeration about frost bite, drowning, and wild animal attacks.  If I do say so myself I did a pretty good job of causing my brother to have second thoughts about coming but I figured he had already bought the plane ticket and was pretty much locked in.  Next, I blasted off an email to him with a list of clothing and how to keep from freezing to death, which he thanked me for several times!

May I add one more thing to the mix adding to the pressure? This might actually be the crux of the neurosis, my GLB is seven years older than me. All past experiences with him for the most part have been times when he has been in charge. He was now coming on MY fishing trip! Do you get it? I was not sure I knew how to be in charge when my older brother was in attendance. Afraid, you ask? Yeah, I guess that emotion covers it. There is a great comfort when someone else is in charge. Are you relating yet? Well catch up with me. When someone else is in charge, YOU OR I are not responsible, the one in charge is.  THAT’S BIG!!  You see on this trip I was going to be responsible for so many decisions, first where we are going, the weather (that hardly seems fair – who can control the weather), the quality of fishing (that hardly seems fair – I can’t make fish bite – Oh yes I can, I forgot), what we eat (that hardly seems fair – I don’t really know what he likes to eat), and on and on it built right along with my neurosis.

All that you have read so far was not wisdom that flashed before me the instant I knew he was coming. It took some stewing, some fermenting before it formed into actual cognitive worries. The whole lowering expectation thing did not really come into clear focus until about three weeks before our trip when panic was beginning to set in. Up to that point my subconscious was running me up and down rabbit trails skirting the real issue. I knew I needed to tie up some more flies – after all I had promised fly fishing – and I had been busy. Weeks earlier I started looking though my boxes of flies, none of them looked good enough to offer an older brother. I decided I needed to tie all new flies for my brother and myself. They must be pristine, top quality because who wants an older brother telling others, he traveled all the way out west for a nine day fly fishing trip just to be given crappy flies to fish with. Certainly not me!

I know this all sounds a little or a lot neurotic but get over it, it’s me, Grayquill.  So, tying flies was a nightly occurrence for six weeks. By and by I finally had over 300 new flies tied but not all were pristine – sigh. The trip came and went – the lowering expectation thing was hugely successful. My brother caught fish and he didn’t freeze to death; he even said he has the trip on his schedule for next year.

I have heard that it is emotionally healthy to not worry about what others think about you. As a parent I spent considerable breath trying to convince my children to not let others opinions rule their behavior. I also use to tell them if I am not a good example be sure I am a good bad example. As I sit here looking up the road toward sixty I suppose I am not going to get much better than I am right now. So, for now it seems this neurosis thing is something I can use to push me to tie more flies and that’s gotta be good – right?

I apologize for making this piece all about me but I suppose you understand how it couldn’t have been any other way.


Sylvia K said...

Sounds as though you both had a great time and that's all that matters! Obviously, he felt the same way which is why he plans to return! Guess we all worry about things a lot more than we should! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!!


AngelMc said...

Honestly GQ, it wasn't really about the fishing now was it? Wasn't it about the time that you spent together?
I bet yawl had a great time together.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I heard someone say once that she had proof that worry works...most of the things she worried about never came to pass. :) I'm glad the brother-bonding fishing trip was fun for both of you and that you're both looking forward to a repeat performance next year.

GLB said...

GQ, why all the worry? I had a great time! Because I got to spend it with YOU!
See you next year!


Anonymous said...

I read that flies are getting quite pricey because teenage girls are buying them to wear in their hair. With 300 tied, it sounds like you're set until the feather fad wears out.

Sending your blog address to a neighbor who is a fly fishing nut, but I don't thing he's every gone nine days. Snow, sleet, rain... you do make it sound like fun! Are you camping or recovering in a hotel at night? (Trying to figure out just how crazy you are....)

Arkansas Patti said...

You really know how to undersell an event. I was expecting frost bite and savage fish attacks and here you both had a great time. Now you just need to repair your stomach lining after pouring out all those worry acids.
Don't suppose you two talked politics?

Brig said...

I thought I had a corner on the worry market...sounds like all was well and a good time had by both of you.

Amrita said...

Wow that sounds like a good time

Grayquill said...

Sylvia K: Thanks Sylvia, you must be all moved into your new place – I hope you are living with a smile. Thanks for stopping by!

AngelMc: Sorry Angel but it was about the fishing except for the part you are talking about. Yes we had a great time learning new things about each other.

Linda: That’s a good one – I am going to try to remember that. Thanks for stopping by.

GLB: Ditto – I am looking forward to next year.

Merrilymarylee: Boy that name of yours is a tongue twister. I have not seen the young ladies wearing flies. BTW-tent camping – YES!

Arkansas Patti: Politics – I think we both maintained restraint but yes the subject did raise its ugly head a few times. But I am still not a liberal – it would be just too embarrassing.

Brighid: Yes good times – See Linda’s comment – Worry works.

Amrita: Good time – Great time – Yes. I hope all is well with you.

Murr Brewster said...

It IS embarrassing to be a liberal. The only thing that could be more embarrassing would be to be, I can't even say it.

Shrinky said...

Aw, you worried because you CARE, you love your brother (probably as much as he loves you), and these days distance prevents the pair of you from spending that much time together - so when you CAN, you want it to be the best you can make it. Sounds like it was, too.

Fresh Garden said...

Fun! Fun! Yeah!

Hilary said...

I think it;s sweet, and only mildly neurotic that you worried so much. I'm glad you both had a great time. I seriously doubt it could be any other way.

Blunt Edges said...

'Floral sparkle'? Really? :P

I used to always think taking charge would be an issue only till a certain point and that's how it turned out to be. I was able to lead pretty well after a certain point, but when my family comes into picture, I get all tensed and mess up. Glad to see you didn't :)

Really good to be back here my most elderly friend :D

Betty said...

I used to fret (and clean and scrub) for days before a visit from my mother, The White Glove. The visits usually went fairly well, although I never could figure out why I cried for a week after she left. Hmmmmm. Glad you had a good time.

Choco said...

Lovely pics (referring to last post).. So much of pristine natural beauty.. J :)

Sweet post GQ. My thoughts? The point of emotional 'unhealth' would be when we stop thinking much of ourselves... Tc :)

Pam said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog - had to drop by to see yours as well. Very well written - love your style. I'll be back!

Pat said...

I think we're least in the worry department. I can say that with age, I worry less. The trick will be to live long enough to not worry at all.
Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me on the possile future knee surgery, I appreciate it!

Debra said...

Sounds like a great and well put together trip! I tend to worry a lot at times too! Usually I find there was no need to.

Holly Kay said...

What a great story. I love the thoughts on stories, how they're hard to remember, floral sparkles, and especially the backtracking to reverse the damage done when one has to then live up to the stories! All so true.

SKIZO said...


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I felt a bit let down when the words about it came and went appeared. No mention of the actual event and how being in charge went. Why did GLB stop his blog?. It would be fun if he wrote his version.