December 26th: The Day of River Panties
In the days and weeks leading up to Christmas everyone is busy preparing for the big day by shopping, running errands, tending to honey-do lists and generally being in such a constant state of motion that there’s little time to just sit and do nothing. Then the day is here and gone in what seems to be an instant, and what follows is a strange sense of calm and a certain feeling of emptiness.
When my kids were little the excitement of new toys spilled over into the days following Christmas: Hot Wheels tracks were laid out on the family room floor with races taking place every hour; GI Joe was deployed on countless missions that often involved scaling the fireplace rocks or patrolling the makeshift waters of the kitchen and hallway; and the Barbie motor home embarked on an extended camping tour of every room in the house. All manner of loud games were played with a level of frantic enthusiasm and resulted in the inevitable emotional meltdown of young children who were over-stimulated, sleep-deprived and strung out on too many Christmas cookies. All that hustle and bustle ensured that there was very little peace and quiet on the day following Christmas. Now that my kids are more or less grown, things are a lot quieter around our house. It’s kinda boring actually—a bit of a let-down.
And so it was on this lazy morning after Christmas that Mrs. Unaccomplished Angler and I found ourselves essentially alone. As teenagers are prone to do, both kids were still sound asleep as we enjoyed a cup of coffee while admiring our new slippers and discussing what to do with ourselves. There really wasn’t anything we had to do, and in fact getting dressed wasn’t even on the radar: We wouldn’t be going anywhere, and certainly nobody would be stopping by to visit. And then the doorbell rang.
Lo and behold who should it be other than my buddy Marck, who readers of the Unaccomplished Angler have come to know as the one with whom I fish on a fairly regular basis. He’s the guy who, by virtue of the fact that he is one seriously fishy dude, is inadvertently responsible for my low fishing self esteem. Don’t get me wrong–Marck is an amiable fellow so fishing with him isn’t socially unpleasant by any means, and he does own a drift boat so he’s got that going for him as well. But whenever we fish together, the results are always the same: He catches many and sizeable fish from the same waters that yield small fry and often a skunk for yours truly. I’d be better off fishing alone save for the matter of his boat and the fact that I get to be witness to angling greatness from time to time.
So there was Marck, on our doorstep on the day after Christmas, to bring us tidings of good will and reminders of my shortcomings as an angler. The spirit of Christmas still hung in the air so I couldn’t very well turn him away, and besides that he came bearing gifts and I am not above admitting that I like receiving gifts. He had apparently done a little bit of shopping at the local drugstore and I was the lucky recipient of a bottle of Beano, which Marck and others have been begging me to try recommending for years.
He had also dropped a bit of coin online at The Fly Shop so I was also the recipient of a few flies, including but not limited to, the Thing from Uranus and one known as the The Pellet Fly, which may be just the ticket for catching hatchery steelhead.
But without a doubt the best gift of all was the pair of “Wet Wading Briefs” (which really deserve a better product name than they’ve been given).
No longer will the day after Christmas be considered a day of let-downs. Thanks to Marck, the day after December 26th will forever be known as the day I received my first pair of River Panties.
Everybody needs a fishing buddy like Marck.