"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I have two words for you this Christmas; chicken soup! As this Christmas season rapidly approaches the anticipated morning I awake and stumble to the tree, only to discover that crusty old curmudgeon in the red suit, Saint Nick, has once again failed to bring me anything on the list I'd carefully prepared and sent him back in March, I feel the need right now for some chicken soup. No, it isn't because I'm sick or under the weather, even though it's been colder than a corpse in the Rogue River, and the wind has been blowing harder than Chinese algebra for the last month.


No, but among other things, what's bothering me is Cathy's damn rooster. Now, I know rooster's "cock-a-doodle-do", and I realize they perform this ritual every morning. I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm fine with it for no other reason than along with my singing mules, it annoys my neighbor, Lilburn Merriwether so much; especially when they all begin singing in concert sounding much like a hillbilly band in a tin barn. But I ask you; "Four in the morning?"


At any rate, last night I stayed up late, thinking. (I know that's a difficult concept for some to believe, but it's true.) I was contemplating whether or not Santa would bring me anything I'd requested. After all, his track record for bringing me anything other than socks, thermal underwear, or sweaters uglier than a bucketful of armpits, or anything else I could use was poor at best. In fact, aside from that Fort Apache set when I was five, he's been down-right dismal every since.


I have been good this year. Well, pretty good. What I mean is; I've tried to be good, kinda. Regardless, I felt I was entitled to my list of requests from Santa. After all, he's pretty much got an unlimited budget, and me, not so much. So why shouldn't I get all those things I really, really, wanted? I deserved them, I wanted them, I should have them!


Then I began to wonder if I really was entitled to all the neat things I wanted on my list to Santa. Was I really entitled to that Kimber 1911 .45 pistol I wanted? What about that guided elk hunt in Colorado I've wished for so many years now, or that new four-weight Winston Boron IIx fly rod? I could maybe understand the new Polaris diesel Ranger being a problem, but Santa could always have it shipped, couldn't he? Was it really Saint Nick's responsibility to put that pair of Simms G-4 Pro waders under the tree on Christmas morning; I wondered?


Then it occurred to me, maybe, just maybe, if I had saved my money all these years I could have bought some of these things myself. Naw, that was a silly idea, wasn't it?


So I wrestled with the moral dilemma I found myself in all evening and into the wee hours of the morning. Finally, somewhere around three-thirty I drifted off to sleep on the couch, resigning myself to the fact that Santa really didn't owe me anything and that if I really wanted something bad enough there was but one thing to do.…I could get off my fanny and get Cathy another job so she could support me in the manner I'd like to be accustomed!


Then it happened; somewhere around four a.m., "Cock-a-doodle-do!" Over, and over, and over again, "Cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do, cock-a…!" Then the mules chimmed in; first Zane, then Emma, and finally Abbey. "Haw-hee-haw…" It sounded like a sasquatch convention. Then the phone rang, it was Lilburn. "Firth, your gol da*# son-of-&%*# animals are a …"

So that brings me back to chicken soup. After all, I am at least entitled to some sleep, aren't I?   Merry Christmas everybody, Merry Christmas!