Wow, what a year!
I wanted so much more to be accomplished before the close of the year but as usual, I fell painfully short. Folks who know me best argue that I always aspire to impossible dreams. I say, shoot for the stars and if you only land on the moon at least that’s higher than the ground you started on.
I did accomplish some of the things I needed to this past year. I began building Art of the Angle into the company I wanted. I am nowhere near finished yet but I got a pretty good jump on 2013. I developed better recognition of the name, increased my followers and readership, created better designs for my wood carvings and increased my sales way over what I did last year. Not too shabby considering it’s just me.
I became a stepfather to two great children, became a grandfather for the third time and added a new golden retriever puppy (for bad dog Samuel) to our growing family. I added two beautiful sisters-in-law and their awesome families and gained a brother and his new bride whom I look forward to getting to know better in the coming years.
I also gained a mom. A beautiful soul and wildly talented and artistic; not hard to see where my wife and her sisters get it from!
I learned the reality of what true friendship is. I learned what love between river brothers and family is and have come to appreciate the commitment love brings.
As I mentioned, I got married this past year. The ceremony was in October and there is no better place to be or get married than in the mountains of North Carolina in October. We celebrated our nuptials at the Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. The owners, Gary and Jackie Jensen have been friends of mine for about 20 years. Harkening back to my guiding days, I got to know the family when my guests used to lodge at the inn.
The Jensen’s took such great care of Shari and me, it cemented the fact that true friendship knows no limits. Our guests that also included my family from Pennsylvania as well as closest friends were treated like royalty, the Jensen’s hospitality will never be forgotten.
Friends I’ve fished with and shared my life both good and bad came from far and wide to be part of our special day. David Smith, aka “Chap” performed the ceremony perfectly. Though miles have physically separated us, time and distance never severed the bonds that we created.
Charlie Corley, my adopted father, is now in his early 80’s. Charlie was my best man. Charlie always was and will forever be a blessing to me. Charlie, much like Chap, was always there to pick me up after my many falls. With Charlie and Chap our ties that bind are made of river and earth; fly line and fish slime and strengthened with love.
My Parents made the trip with my sister Vicki. For years I’ve wanted my parents to see the inn and be a part of the friends and world that shaped their little boy. I come from a family of six children and two very loving parents. Of the six children, I am the youngest of the three boys.
I always told the stories to my parents of the inn and of the magic that is the North Carolina mountains. I told grand stories of my fly fishing prowess and of the of the characters that made those stories complete. Like most parents, they listened with an attentive ear but always with a glint of disbelief.
At the inn, it was heart warming to be able to recant tales with Chap and Charlie in the presence of my wife and family and have them hear those tales from the other characters in the stories and learn their truth.
As for Samuel, aka the bad dog, he was the ring barer at the wedding. He did extremely well and I half expect was almost as big a reason folks showed up for the wedding as Shari and I was. Samuel is very much loved by everyone he gets to know. In fact, when Shari and I arrived at the inn to get our keys to the cabin at check in, the new guy behind the counter said “oh, you have a dog with you in the room…there will be an additional fee for pets”. Jackie told him that won’t be necessary, Samuel isn’t a dog.
Sam is another year older and I know he is a lot happier now. He will turn 12 this September and yet he plays like he is two. He sleeps a little more now but Ruby, our new golden puppy keeps him very active. He has mild cataracts but he can still catch a tennis ball in the late evening at 20 feet. Considering all that he has been through, he is my miracle dog.
I made a comment on my Facebook page this year that said I carved more fish than I caught. A sad truth. One goal this new year is to turn that statistic around. And in that vein, here are the things that I resolve to do this new year:
1. Strengthen the love and bonds with my wife, family and friends.
2. Work twice as hard to grow Art of the Angle into what I dream and know it could be.
3. Fish more, fish more and oh yeah, FISH MORE!
4. Begin the process to become permanent North Carolina residents.
Stay tuned for the progress and updates. 2013 is going to be a white knuckle ride!
Happy New Year and God Bless!