Death By Powerpoint – an Update

Hi everyone, blog subscribers and visitors! Nice of you to drop by!

Things have been quiet here lately, but there is a reason for that. Many of you saw my last post, “We Never Know,” and I finally replied this morning in the comment thread to thank each of you who posted your concern, condolence, and support.

Right after making that post, I traveled to Maine for an extended working-combination-pleasure road trip, leaving Pennsylvania on Friday March 14th. Saturday and Sunday the 15th and 16th, I taught two days of fly tying classes at Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Maine. Then the following Tuesday I presented to the local Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited, where for some reason, there was a record-crowd of about sixty-five persons in attendance. It was very affirming to have such a good turnout. Chapter members said they can’t remember the last time they had to get out extra chairs. It was a nice evening and everything turned out well.

I must confess, my program was on Pond Fishing, and I intended to bring along my slide projector, which I did, to show a handful of images to augment my presentation. But when I opened the box the day before my program to select the “Maine pond fishing slides” from my Moosehead Lake program, I could not, because the tray in the projector box was labeled, “The Miracle Mile,” which was there from my last presentation in November. Oops. So I made notes and delivered my presentation informally, without anything extra other than me, myself, and I; talking, asking questions to get audience participation and make them think, and answering questions…which as it turned out, all went really well. I was a little concerned that I would run short on time, not having the extra “picture show” as it might have been, but it went nearly an hour, and not one person walked out. My brother even stayed awake; he has a habit of nodding off during conversations or a movie in the evening. The best compliment I received was from Maine Warden Tim Spahr, who was present because of his close friendship with my niece, Emily, who was also there. Tim is one of the leading “stars” in the reality TV show “Northwoods Law.” Anyway, Tim said it was refreshing to see a presentation and not have to endure another “Death by Powerpoint” program; which I thought, as Emily related to me afterward, was quite funny.

Tim remarked that so many programs these days are all done by Powerpoint, which can be a good thing, and maybe one day I’ll progress to that level of modern technology, but for now, I’m still using slides…or not…and a Motorola Razr cell phone. The other night I sent some text messages to a friend as we were making arrangements to get together for beer and a classic rock band; it was the first time I’ve texted anyone in over two years, and it felt like I was chiseling on a stone tablet, especially compared to many of my friends who have the latest model cell phones with voice-activated texting capability. Finally I called her directly on my cell phone and we handled the arrangements the old-fashioned way. 😉

My trip back to Pennsylvania included a visit at my daughter’s in Connecticut, where I enjoyed some quality time with her and my three grand children. It was a special joy to see Grace, who was at the time just over five months old, and she’s at the stage where it doesn’t take much to make her smile. And what a smile she has! Blue eyes, possible reddish-blonde hair, with the female genetics of my beautiful mother, my lovely late wife Lou Anne, and my charming daughter Kim as well. The girl is going to be a little beauty, I have a feeling. Pappy is very proud!

I also had tickets to a March 20th show for the Samantha Fish Band at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville, Connecticut, just seventeen miles from my daughter’s in Granby. I could go on about the show, but I’ll just say the youtube videos do not do justice to seeing her perform live! It was fantastic! The drummer, Go-Go Ray, was the best, hands down, I have ever seen anywhere in a live performance. And her guitar playing is right up there. Samantha was awarded Best New Artist by the BMA in 2012 for her CD, “Runaway.” Anyone like rockin’ blues with screaming guitar? Check her out.

On tying flies, the site has been very good me, ever since I joined it in May of 2011. My individual order total is now over seventy-five, with an estimated sales amount of more than eight-thousand dollars. Not a full-time income, but certainly a nice addition to the other things I do. I confess to being a bit backed up on my orders, with my schedule of the Fly Fishing Shows, traveling a bit, and my recent musical involvement as my regular readers know. The musical side seems to keep expanding, as I have been offered the chance to fill-in for a friend’s band, Main Street, which plays a mix of country, country-rock, classic rock, and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll, this coming Friday April 4th, which is also my birthday. For that upcoming gig, I’m learning another three dozen songs, which I play while working on my fly tying orders. It’s a local gig, and things are very possibly going to work out that the guys in my band, Pepper Street, will also be present, so we may be filling in three or four numbers during both Main Street breaks. A “Two-fer!”

I wanted to update my readers on what’s been going on, but I do need to get back to the vise. Gotta fill those orders!

Partridge and Hare’s Ear Soft-Hackle

My friend Bill Shuck in Maryland just sent me another photo and recipe of his latest fly tying efforts. It is a Pete Hidy style rendition of the Partridge and Hare’s Ear Soft-hackle wet fly / flymph.

It is taken from a recipe in the book, The Masters on the Nymph, by Migel and Wright.
Caddis “Partridge and Hare’s Ear.”
Hook: Gaelic Supreme Jack Mickievicz Letort Dry Fly Standard Shank, Size #14
Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer, #10 Ash
Hackle: One or two turns of partridge hackle slightly longer than the hook
Ribbing: Fine gold wire
Body: Hare’s poll on ash silk thread
Head: Same as body thread
This looks like a killer pattern; simple, easy to tie, all-purpose generic food item that has wide appeal to the trout. Thanks Bill for your great tying and for the photo!
Partridge and Hare's Ear Soft-hackle Caddis / Flymph. Tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

Partridge and Hare’s Ear Soft-hackle Caddis / Flymph. Tied and photographed by Bill Shuck.

This fly has got to be a great performer in a two or three fly rig, swung down-and-across.

We Never Know

If people could predict the future, I doubt that life would actually be any fun. For one thing, there would be too many rich people, and who knows what else would be different. Getting right to the point; this article is a short post to recognize once again that life, as it is, with all its inherent unexpected twists and turns, is often beyond the grasp of our immediate control. Hence the reason for what I am writing.

I had announced a few months ago that I was drumming part-time for a local classic rock ‘n’ roll band. As the situation has turned out, my position has become full-time. It is good news for me, because I have really been enjoying the revival of my dormant drumming hobby, and playing with the Pepper Street Band in venues in the north-central Pennsylvania area music scene has been great fun, relaxing, exciting, and entertaining. The reason that my drumming position has become permanent is due to the fact that the life of James Rick Martin, age 63, who had been the drummer for Pepper Street over different decades and iterations, suddenly ended last Friday, March 7th, 2014. “Rick” was diagnosed with lung cancer in January, and he had received only one week of chemo and radiation therapy. Unfortunately he developed pneumonia, was admitted to the hospital on March 3rd, and ultimately succumbed to multiple medical complications.

Initially I was asked to fill in for Rick on New Year’s Eve, and at the time, his health was not of any consideration. How quickly situations can change. I did not know Rick well. I had met him just a few times, and on one occasion at a gig we shared a beer; he seemed like a genuinely good fellow. On that date, January 9th, he wanted me to start playing full-time; while his condition had not yet been diagnosed, nevertheless Rick wanted to be prepared in case the probable treatments would lay him low for a while. I could not start immediately, because of my commitments at two Fly Fishing Shows in January, but I began filling in full-time on February 1st.

Rick and I shared the commonality of music and drumming, both of us played in church praise bands, and we both liked model trains. I mainly want to say, since I can relate to this issue from personal experience, never take your life for granted, nor the life of family, friends, and loved ones around you. Rick’s sudden passing emphasizes the fact that we often have no control over circumstances and situations. If there are people you need to forgive, do it. If you need to tell someone you love them, do it. If there is a situation that requires your reconciliation, if possible, by all means, do it. Do something, anything, that you have been thinking about doing, for someone you care about, or with them, but have not yet taken the time to carry out, because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Rick’s funeral was today, March 12th, 2014.