I want to give my wife a big “Thank You.”  She got me a good piece of luggage made by Samsonite.  You have no idea how much easier it was navigating to my proper gate in the airports.  In Dulles Airport going to the next terminal was nerve wracking.  My shuttle was not even moving and the clock in front said my plane was boarding already.  Finally I was in the right terminal and then I found out my gate was all the way on the other end.  Being able to easily navigate my luggage made my “quick walk” to the gate easier.  Needless to say I made my flight but barely.  I even discovered on my return flight I could also put my day bag on top of it making my journey easier.  This trip to New Orleans was the first time I used it.  My baggage rolled easily.  A big thank you.

The captain of “Therapy Charters” quickly put his boat on the hitch to his truck and then started cleaning the fish.  I was amazed how quickly he cleaned the speckled trout and after he filleted them how little the fillets were.  He would throw the entrails in the air.  The swirling gulls by the cleaning station grabbed them right away.

I questioned him before and found out he was an electrician for eighteen years and has been running his charter for eight years.  Oddly enough his wife was a therapist working in schools and private practice.  She had several degrees.

He did use live shrimp for bait and there are times the bait is harder to get.  He had me pose in front of the almost twenty speckled trout.  I also took a picture of his truck which had the the name of his charter on the side.  This was his second trip today.  We were out in the sun over four hours and I felt “washed out” and he did this twice today.  It can’t be an easy job.  His face was deeply tanned.

The last full day was the highlight of my trip.  My friend rented a charter boat to fish on Lake Pontchartrain.  Unexpectedly the boat ride to and back our fishing spot was just as exciting as the fishing.

We hung on for dear life as the wind and spray hit us.  It was exhilarating!  The captain said he was only traveling twenty-seven mile per hour but it seemed faster.  I was never in a boat that small.  The fishing was almost anticlimactic.

I lost track how many of speckled trout I caught.  As my friend said in his sardonic way–I caught ‘my world record’ for speckled trout.  The guide was good and patient with us.  He talked slowly with a southern drawl.  I also caught two sting rays, two small croakers and the only flounder.  It was fun although I did get tired standing up to fish.

I did not catch any sheephead.  The guide caught two and my friend one.  They were bigger than any of the other fish–four to six pounds.  My only disappointment there was no time to eat any of the speckled trout.  I was leaving the next day.

The guide and captain was good and if you are ever in the New Orleans area I would recommend this charter.  He called his charter “Therapy Charters”.  When I questioned him how he got his name, he simply said ‘fishing is therapy.’  If you ever want to look up his web site it is www.therapycharters.net.

I Saw A New Bird Today

Author: siggy

I saw a new bird today.  Chuck spotted it at one of his feeders.  He thought, at first, it was an albino (of a pigeon or mourning dove but then he brought out his bird book.  It was a type of dove he had never seen before.  It was white and had a ring around its neck.  I will give you its precise name when I look it up in my bird book.  It is always exciting when you see a new species of bird.  I might try to photograph the red headed woodpecker for my wife later.  It is a common species here but not so in Pennsylvania.

Vacations Always End

Author: siggy

Vacations always end.  Today Chuck and I will go on that fishing trip we talked about for, at least, a year. Unless, it is cancelled, again.  We were supposed to go fishing on Lake Pontchartrain on Wednesday but the waves were too choppy and the bottom of the lake was stirred up. The fishing would have been lousy that day. This is my last chance this visit to go fishing.  I have never caught a fish that weighed several pounds.  I might catch a speckled trout or if I am lucky a redfish that weighs even more.  Chuck has never fished in this area.

Maybe, next year we will go camping again.  We will see.  In any case it was fun and I am looking forward now to flying home and sleeping in the same bed with my wife and seeing all my critters (I especially miss Tilla, my favorite dog) and being in familiar surrounding.  It was nice to go away but thank God I have a place to go home to.  And a wife to return to.  This is the longest we been apart–one week.

This morning while we were waiting for my friend’s wife to finish her medical appointments we were in search of the perfect eclair.  Chuck had four addresses of bakeries and a map of New Orleans to guide him.  He has lived here almost a decade and had not found a bakery that makes a really good eclair.  The ones found in the supermarkets were always inferior so we were in search of the perfect eclair.  We found three bakeries and bought their eclairs plus one Neapolitan.  I told one clerk that we were going to critique her eclairs.  She just laughed and said, “Go right ahead.”  Tonight the eclairs will be our deserts.  We will split them three ways and then make our judgments.

Absence makes your heart fonder.  I know that is a cliche but it is true.  I have been kept a little too busy on my vacation to miss my wife and menagerie particularly my dogs too much.  I have called my wife every day and made several quick calls.  My vacation to New Orleans has two days to go and then I fly back.  I see my lifelong friend once a year.  Once a year we reconnect.  After fifty years Chuck still makes me laugh and that is an accomplishment.  I had fun.  Saturday we go out on a charter as long as the weather behaves and I will probably catch the biggest fish of my life.  Chuck said some speckled trout weigh several pounds.  So I am excited about that.  My vacation here will end in a bang.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. I checked the car thermostat. It was sixty degrees deep blue sky without a cloud in sight. I was running to the store for a last minute errand and quickly realized the silk shirt I had on was too warm and I had to take it off. I was going to see my friend Chuck and it was going to be at least twenty degrees warmer in New Orleans. I immediately put a tee shirt on when I arrived back from my errand. I was excited. I had arranged to have a window seat on both legs of my journey today. Vacations are usually another “world”. For a short time you enter someone else’s reality. We can get so used to our own and not see what is directly in front of us any longer. Vacations in a strange place have a way of jarring you. And that is a good thing. Occasionally, anyway.

Suddenly I Could Breathe

Author: siggy

Suddenly I could breathe.  The cold was really done.  For now.  Warmer weather was on the horizon.  Spring has started.  And March was typically wet.  In fact, today was the first day of the trout season in this area.  In May I will camp with my childhood buddy for the first time in three years.  The last two I visited him in New Orleans.  I have much to look forward to.  Warmer weather, particularly.  And trout fishing.  And getting together with my lifelong friend.

We are in the middle of an heat wave–twenty-nine degrees!  We were in the middle of an Arctic freeze.  There were a few days the temperature hit below zero or did not hit ten degrees the whole day. I briefly “stuck” my nose out and it felt warm for the first time in days.  I checked the ten day forecast.  There will be a few days in the forties.  I bet the “freeze” will come back.  Maybe we have seen the worst of winter.  I don’t know.  I doubt it.  A friend from New Orleans sent me warm socks, scarves, hats and other clothing to keep warm.  He had no further need for them, I guess, he is not moving to a colder clime.  No major snow storms yet.

I Am A Homebody

Author: siggy

I am a homebody.  The grass is not, necessarily, greener somewhere else.  One of my sisters loves to travel.  I don’t have the same wanderlust.  It is true I don’t have the financial means she has.  Nevertheless, I like being home.  I still make discoveries every day in my backyard and in my house.  I am surrounded by my books and music.  I like having them at my fingertips.  I do have seven cats and four dogs that make it more difficult to just leave and go somewhere but I love my animals, particularly my dogs, and always miss them when we go away once or twice a year.  Sometimes I visit my oldest friend in New Orleans.  And I go by myself.  It is just easier that way.  When I return from a trip, home is just that much sweeter.  As Richard Thompson says in a song, ‘Every heart needs a home.’  Even when I am home I only go out briefly.

The Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans was fascinating but sad at the same time.  The different display of fish and other life was fascinating.  As far as I could tell there were fish who lived in the ocean and also in the Gulf.  There were an amazing variety of life in these aquariums. But in one display there was, at least, one seal and I felt bad for the seal.  It was enclosed and could not roam as a wild seal.  It did not seem very happy and all kinds of people were gawking at it.  There might have been a second seal in that cage but I no longer remember if there was.  The aquarium was not that big for it.  The seal ought to be free and wild.  It just made me sad.