The thing wrong with the world today is that when a cool front comes through in the middle of September on a Wednesday they still expect us to go to work.
Thatís just inhuman. Barbaric. Senseless and abominable.
I woke up this morning and instantly knew the weather had changed. I could feel it in the air. Patches, my calico kitty, was curled up beside me in a tight ball. If you have ever co-habitated with a cat, you know what I mean. Of course, I say "co-habitated" because no one owns a cat. Cats just allow us to live with them and put up with our silly noise, habits, bad manners and aggravations for an occasional loviní and snoogum-oogum-woogums. But cats sleep tighter when thereís a nip in the air (by "nip" I mean a little chill, not "cat nip" which makes them drool and slobber uncontrollably, the most undignified thing a cat can do and they hide for hours in shame after the affects of the nip have worn off.) I could tell by how tightly Patches was curled up, nose tucked under her back leg, that it was a little spat of autumn in the air, a hanging thread of fall.
I leaped out of bed so suddenly and with such excited vigor Patches nearly spun like a top trying to escape. Fall! Itís in the air! Itís time to go to the lake! Itís here, itís here, that magic time of year! Autumn colors, chasing leaves across the lawn!
Then I remembered I had to go to work today.
It was like someone threw shackles on my ankles and wrists, an oxen yoke around my neck and an iron mask ala Dumas over my face. Work. What a bothersome concept.
Itís time like this I hate being a half-breed. If I was full-blooded right about now the Crazy Horse wouldnít be buried so deep down and Iíd tell the boss man to expect me back sometime after yíallís dreaded Apocalypse, and head for the basin. Itís been said thereís a little Crazy Horse inside every Indian man, and by gosh golly gee whillickers, mine is screaming a war cry for fishing!
So I trudge into work, or actually, I trudge as well as a man can with a lilt in his step and the exuberance of fall on his skin. Itís a funny thing to see, a man trudging down death row and practically dancing a jig all at the same time.
What the devil were the first Europeans to get here thinking? First the Conquistadors came along, spreading their doggerel by the sword and the Aztec didnít get in a good fishing trip in the autumn again after Cortez and his band of merry hooligans set foot ashore. Then the French (from France, not the Cajuns) came along, with their high-collared, nose-in-the-air savoir faire and muddied things up pretty good for awhile in the south. Meanwhile, up north, those Indians get Puritans of all the dang things. People who wore buckles instead of buttons. Jeesh.
Anyway, so I trudge happily into work, if you can envision that, and try to sit down to answer e-mails, layout pages, write a city council story from the meeting last night but the minute my behind hits the chair I launch up again and bolt for the front door to go watch the bayou flow for just a few minutes. In my mindís eye, in the crisp morning air, I just know that the bass on Lake Fausse Pointe would hit a pink flip-flop if I hooked one to the end of my fly line and cast it under a certain cypress tree with overhanging branches I know of.
So I trudge painfully and liltingly back to the office and sit down to work under fluorescent lights that hurt my eyes and Iím sure are sowing tumors in my brain, though I also believe cool, crisp fall spats impede the growth of these. Have to. Nothing malignant can grow in such a season.
Itís all I can do not to pick up the phone and activate the office intercom all over the building to proclaim, "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain! Todayís edition of the newspaper has been cancelled due to clement weather, i.e., itís too dadgum nice to be stuck in here writing city council stories!"
So I work, and thereís one little speck of window space where I can see the trees across Bayou Teche from my desk and my eye keeps getting drawn to it and the Crazy Horse in me kinda stirs a little, like an old man who almost awakens himself with his own snore. Itís all I can do not to pick up the intercom and yell, "LADIES AND GENTLEMAN WEDNESDAY AND ALL THINGS CONCERNING IT HAVE BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST!"
My father, like most fathers, offered me much sage wisdom and advice in my time on this earth with him, especially during fall cool snaps. How to correctly put a worm on a No. 10 Aberdeen hook so the bluegill canít suck it off easily; where the storms come from in the late summer across the lake and how to get the heck off the water before they sink you; not to ever, ever, ever grow a garden because all that does is take time away from your fishing, and most importantly, my dad said:
"Boy, I donít give a durn what you do for a living as long as you get rich off of it."
To which I proudly proclaimed, "Dad, Iím going to be a writer!" thereby proving yet again that he and my mom were not, in fact, smart enough to raise children as he always feared.
What say we all just say the heck with it and go fishing, hey?