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Food, folks, philosophy and fishing

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POSTED February 9, 2011 1:41 a.m.
No one can take the simple act of fly-rod contemplation and digress into philosophical mumbo jumbo like my buddy Klinger.

For my part, I paddle along as we make brief portages en route to who knows where.

Klinger married at 21 and was “strongly of the opinion that I would never have kids, and I figured myself wading through a million rivers before I got tied down, too. …”

He’s got two kids and a wife that understands his need to be in the wild. Of course in Juneau, Alaska, it doesn’t take much to get there.

I saw him for the first time in almost a decade, days before my Dad passed two summers ago.

We contemplate. Why he’s there, why I’m here, and what to do now.

It’s never simple with him, which is probably why we have been able to pick up our friendship after an eight-year hiatus.

It’s a good thing too, because stupid things like titles can make for rapids that must be navigated to continue the journey, but are daunting without someone to provide truth rather than canned responses.

On Jan. 30, I sat at dinner with my Mom, brother, his wife and my 4-month old nephew. Smoked salmon penne was on the way from the kitchen at Cutters a place just down the street from Pike Place Market in Seattle.

It was a quick weekend trip, but it was Mom’s birthday. And because of college, jobs and deployments, it was the first time since 1996 Mom had both her boys at her birthday dinner.

There was a moment at dinner that, had I been unable to gain perspective, would have trashed the generally jovial atmosphere of dinner not to mention my psyche. But with the help of seemingly solution-less ramblings with friends like Klinger and cathartic fishing trips over the past year and a half, everything felt okay.

My brother was now the Dad in the family. The title was now his and his alone.

There was no desperate downing of cheap wine to cope with the lack of a fifth chair and another Dad, though we did use the name quite a bit.

We recalled with unhindered smiles and laughter the time he broke his arm falling out of a tree when we still lived in Colorado. He didn’t like the cast, so he took it off and made a new one. He was never a good patient, but was a great Dad.

Mom, now grandma, flawlessly participated as my brother and I recalled moments from our childhood staring Dad — no tears for what we miss, rather smiles for what we had.

The past week I returned to my normal rumblings about gear, locations and where I want to fish this spring, but with renewed vigor and perspective after that family dinner in Washington.

Klinger and I returned to contemplating what exactly $50 nippers do that my $12 ones don’t other than provide the angler with the opportunity to say, “Hey, I’ve got a $50 pair of line clippers.”

The current continues, scary in spots, but navigable as long as I’ve got truth, family and plenty of water to poke with good friends.

 To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.

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