Rule #600 Thou shall not have people meet you at your own house to leave for a fishing trip, and you still be late, sleeping inside said house.
“You’ve got to be shitting me.”
“He’s fucking late?”
“But we are at HIS HOUSE.”
This was the beginning to possibly one of the funniest conversations I ever had with Chris. After a couple of months of planning the annual Pulaski Steelhead trip the moment finally came. After some debate it was decided that half the group was going to meet at Jeff’s mother’s house in central mass. It was somewhat central to all of us, and was aimed in the right direction at least. Plus she had the yard space to park all of our trucks that weren’t going to make the trip. The plan was simple for Jeff. He was going to drive out to his mother’s the night before. Get packed up (since all of fishing stuff was there because of a recent move), meet us outside and off we go. This year we even decided that we should leave at like a reasonable hour like 7:00 am get there for noon fish a couple of hours to shake off the rust, and then have a solid meal before the trip begins. But like all well laid plans, something was bound to happen.
One of the most overstated and incorrectly spoken quotes in our hobby, is from the movie/book of A River Runs through it. It is said that in Montana they are never late to 3 things: Work, Church and Fly fishing. Jeff, didn’t read the book, and he forgot to give me back my copy of the movie for like 9 months and I’m fairly sure he only watched it once. But this never stuck to him. He is our perpetually late friend. If you have one of these friends, then you know what I’m talking about. He’s the one you lie too about what time to show up, because you know exactly what time he will show up. And even if you give yourself that 30 minute cushion, there is the possibility he will still be in late. In fact, in todays world he’s the guy you text when you are leaving your house (it’s early morning after all and you need to be considerate of his family) and the guy you call when you’re 20 minutes away, just in case he hasn’t woken up yet. By the time his phone makes it to 5 rings you know he’s not going to be ready when you get there. But hopefully you planned on this, and you still have an hour or so before the first morning gray skies start to lighten. But to Jeff’s credit, he will ALWAYS show if he says he’s showing, and he will always be that guy who is making the last cast of the day 2 hours after you were supposed to leave (planning on this is also imperative).
My buddy Chris on the other hand is sort of an old hand at this fly fishing thing. In fact, he and I have shared many similar experiences on the river over our years of fly fishing, but having really only met each other a few years ago. We are the ones who don’t need to catch all the fish in the river, and are quite content fishing and finding our John Gierach’s version of the St. Vrain (in short, home waters that your comfortable with). Chris and I are the type of guys who show up 15 minutes early, drink our coffees on the tail gate, shoot the shit for a few minutes, trying to take our excitement a bit and not rush into things. So it was no surprise to me when I pulled into Jeff’s Mother’s house 15 minutes early, and shut off the lights of my small pick up, and sat drinking my coffee waiting for 7:00 to hit the clock so we can start loading up, that Chris rumbles in his big construction F350, and kills his motor, a large coffee in hand as well. We get out, sit along my tail gate talking quietly about the exciting week ahead and laughing about old stories. He shot Jeff a text message to be considerate that we are outside a bit early. Our friend Ryan was on his way, and Jeff’s best friend Jon was with our other good friend Mike, already on there way out west.
A few minutes pass by in this conversation, and we check out phones and it’s now 7:05. 5 minutes late, but Ryan’s running late too, so we think nothing of it. No lights are on inside the house. About 10 minutes later Ryan shows up in his Jeep Cherokee, and sees us sitting on the tailgate, coffees emptied, and all of our stuff loaded into one truck. One look at the darkened windows, a quick glance at his own phone for the time, and we all start sharing that laugh of incredulousness. We start slowly rapping on the windows, and the door, our knocks getting progressively louder until finally one of us gets bold (I don’t remember who) and we ring the doorbell. We see Jeff come shooting around the corner inside the house wearing his boxers and he starts kind of laughing. We load up about 30 – 45 minutes late after meeting Jeff at his own house, and we start making our trip towards upstate NY, with a new rule. “Thou shall not have people meet you at your own house to leave for a fishing trip, and you still be late, sleeping inside said house.”