Fly Fishing Oil Canvas Painting
This Fly Fishing Oil Canvas Painting made the 10.5 hour drive each way a few weeks ago worth it. Along with seeing the many friends it had been to long and to far in between. I may not have gotten it until today but it was what I anticipated getting the most, as I thought it was gone. Like many people who attend the Nationals (Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for Grown Men with dual diagnosis ADHD & Hoarding) its hard to both stay in your room and sell to cover the costs, while at the same time leaving no stone un-turned trying to find just that piece or two that fits right in.
I didnt think I was going to be able to attend this year, too many irons in the fire. Just having been diagnosed a few months ago with cancer, the ensuing radiation treatment that knocked out 60% of the vision in my right eye, 150 Ebay auctions trying to box and ship with another 100 to photograph edit and build, a whole host of ripe & Prime excuses just sitting there waiting for me to pick, just one, and wear that badge of why I shouldn’t go. I say shouldnt because couldnt takes on a whole different meaning, especially over the last couple years.
It was Monday Night around dinner time, having had spoke to a great friend early in the day to whom in the conversation I said, “you know Id just like to come and have dinner and enjoy hanging out with you. The last few years have been a bit on t he bad side, and I thought what better way to get a few days for mental health and come hang out with a buddy”. So at dinner time the night before, Monday Night, I decided yes, Yes attend I would. Knowing I couldn’t stay the whole week as I had to return Friday to pick up my son from camp, I knew I wanted to get there as soon as possible, So I would leave before 6am Tuesday morning. That decision then lead to a fledgling chaotic orchestra, that even the most nimble ninja, american warrior, or professional mover could make happen, let alone a guy with only One good Eye and a bum back.
It had been a half dozen or so years since Ive was able to attend a Nationals. Before I go any further I just wanted to say thanks to the scores of you that made me feel like I never left, really and truly thank you.
The last time I went I traveled that far for a lure show it was with my good friends Joe Nelson, and Andy Tindale. Both have since passed away, so the 10.5 hour ride wasnt quite as fun as I remember, or exciting. The hours that can fly by when sharing the things we wanted each other to look for, or the recent things we may have found. Those kind of trips that you can do that span multiple states and double digit hours, without so much as the radio nob being turned on.
While many will note, attendance may not be what it used to be, but I dont know of many hobby type clubs that have spanned 4 decades that hadnt had a natural ebb and flow to roster numbers. But, for those who were there, they have just as big of heart and love for the hobby as any crew that has packed those trucks, or made that flight, or even who lived vicariously through another friends cell phone as they were looking to help fill our collections, even if unable to go themselves. There were no lack of or supply anticipation, practical jokes or remember when’s?
Believe me when I say the smiles, laughs, jokes, handshakes, and hugs and stories were still abound, and were in no less supply. The only thing larger than the show itself were Mr Dick Streater’s stories over lunch the first first day. I mean that with the utmost respect of course. Even Derrick and Shane and our enjoyment of playing practical jokes on each other or Mark more specifically was like we never skipped a beat.
While we may curse each year, as the stairs get harder to navigate, or we must use a Dolly to carry what we used to sling around by hand. You may have seen one broke, missing a wheel, on the Friday under the stairs just off the elevator. Yes, yes that would be mine, as the wheel would get lodged between the elevator door and the floor while it continued to repeatedly close on me, while I was trying not to spill and smash a dozen glass top wooden showcases a suitcase and more. To just add a little salt to that it broke on the way off the elevator at, 5:20, yes that would be AM. Big thanks goes out to Ron McKuin for helping me load it out the front door and into my truck. To which when I tried to pull around, I went successively down 3 different one way streets, the wrong way, to get back in front of the hotel. Did I tell you it was 5:20 Am? Yeah I think I did.
There were some ingenuous displays of red neck perseverance that week as we all we challenged to find unique ways to keep our beer, I mean sodas cold, as fridges were not standard. It made it that much more fun to see how others handled the situation, from sinks, to bath tubs, to I swear I even heard some trade bantering and deals being proposed which included a cooler full of ice.
I set my alarm every day for 5am, and had my door open by 7am, most were barley rolling over by that time, but I thought to catch the breakfast crowd coming or going, or who am I kidding, in truth it was, I just wanted to savor each minute. You know I heard someone say once “If only there was a way to know when your having what you would later refer to as, the good old days”. Ive chewed on that, and many other small witticisms since my diagnoses and I can only come up with, we arent guaranteed the rest of today, we arent guaranteed tomorrow. Knowing that alone should make us all live as if every day is the good old days.
I was only able to see a few hours of the show floor that Firday morning, but I had more than made up for any conversations I would have had the days before. Yes there were many I didnt get the time I wanted to spend with or may have missed the handshake or hug, but it wasnt for any other reason then our paths did not cross.
I received today in the mail what was my favorite find. Knowing me personally, like some do, they arent surprised when seeing its not even a lure. I had stumbled across what I thought was a great piece of Art. For years Ive been trying to find a nice 19th Century or 1800’s American Fishing scene to go with the early parts of my collection. But my slow response at pulling the trigger and thinking I would just come back and get it later led to one of those moments. Yes you lure and reel collectors know that feeling, that knot in your stomach when you didnt buy something for whatever reason only to talk yourself back into it and return and find the item gone. I hadnt written down the room number, mistake #2, so I was flying blind (Pun intended). When I entered what I though was the correct room and looked around as it looked familiar in part. Thought to myself I swear it was here, but its not here, matter of fact hes not here and someone else is but it looks kind of the same. Thankfully that brain twister was easily answered when I asked what rom Tom was in and it was as simple as he had left the show early. I thought to myself there ya go you did it again, snooze you loose.
Im very grateful that I knew Tom, so I would email once I got home, hoping he hadn’t sold it while packing up. I cant say thank you enough Tom, this was the icing on my cake, and well my favorite thing I purchased, and bought for myself. I qualify that statement with purchased, because what I did come home with, was worth far more of value than any lure, reel, or painting. It was a pocket full of stories, an education and lesson or two, a pile full of smiles, a hand-full of handshakes, a heart-full of hugs, and a room full of laughs.
Like I mentioned before to all those, each who made me feel like I never left, thank you. You answered my question above about knowing when the good old days were happening, they happen every day, its just up to us to live it.