A trip away from home is a bit like eating dinner out at a fine restaurant: you can’t wait to get there and enjoy it, but then there is the letdown afterward.  Such was not the case, however, with my most recent sojourn, a two-week fly-fishing sabbatical to my beloved Catskill rivers that concluded with a Father’s Day visit with my two sons and their wives in Charlotte.

The fishing trip itself was delightful.  I was joined by three friends, Jeff and Gene, recent acquaintances from the Carolinas who knew one another, and an old, old friend, Bob, from Virginia (by way of New Jersey), who had not yet been introduced to them. The trio got along famously, however, and we all behaved like teenagers away from home for the very first time (sorry, no details).  I even ran into Mitch, an old work acquaintance from 25 years ago, and fished with him and Mark, a resident of Binghamton, who also worked with me before I left New Jersey.

Overall, the fishing was excellent, but the catching (at least for me) was not so hot!  Gene and Jeff slew them; Bob and I, not so much.  But as Henry Fonda’s character in On Golden Pond said, “I see, so you [I] have a good excuse then…”  Because of problems that I have with my balance (don’t ask!) I am forced to remove myself from the river just when the early evening light begins to wane.  As a result, I often miss the best hatches of the day, which occur largely after dark, thus limiting my chances for success.  (You’ll have to ask Bob what his excuse was – probably fishing alongside me.)  For many years (too many to recall), I often fished well into the night, not leaving the river until ten or eleven.  Sadly, those days are gone forever.  The good news is that, for me, 70% of the fun of fly fishing is, and has always been, about simply being there in the mountains and on the water, observing nature at her finest; and that can be accomplished at any time of day.

The "real" Frank Kuttner

The “real” Frank Kuttner

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit with my old friend, Frank Kuttner, owner of Kuttner’s Fly Shop in Livingston Manor, NY.  In case you don’t already know, Frank is a recurring character in my Matt Davis Mystery Series.  My wife, Becky, baked one of his favorite dishes, a carrot cake, and I used dry ice to keep it frozen until I reached the Catskills.  Frank’s reaction upon receiving it was truly memorable.  There were other visits with old friends in Roscoe (Trout Town USA) and pizza at Raimondo’s Restaurant (delizioso!).

This particular trip was extra special because of the “coming home” part, which was unusually welcoming.  For that I can thank my loving wife of nearly 33 years, Becky, and my two calico cats, Cassie and Callie (especially Cassie, who is “my” cat), all of whom made me feel like Odysseus returning from the Odyssey.  Like the Greek figure, I was welcomed with hugs, kisses, licks, and purring, all of which were greatly comforting (an added bonus was the warm greeting I received from my neighborhood friends, as well as my extended family on Facebook).

There really is “no place like home,” and life for me can’t get much better.  For that I am truly grateful.  I wish the same for all of you!

NOTE: Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the highly-successful Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day (a 2012 Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises.  All four are available in paperback and E-book from Amazon.com and others.  As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also in audiobook from Audible.com, with Twice Bitten and Broken Promises soon to follow.  If humor is your cup of tea, consider Joe’s rip-roaring, coming-of-age novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, set in the tumultuous Sixties.

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