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SEPTEMBER 14, 2006 – GONE FISHING … BE BACK LATER

I’m a little behind on my blog entries. I’ve been busy. When your personal life takes a giant swan dive into the toilet, it’s not that uncommon to throw yourself into work.

My name is Carlton, and I’m a workaholic.

I know, shocking, but true.

It could have something to do with my grandmother. I used to spend every summer vacation with her and my grandpa up north. She was a retired teacher from Ireland and she would make me write book reports … one a week. She graded them. Anything below a “B” had to be re-written. It truly sucked.

The fact that I was only six, and could barely read and write, seemed lost on her. “Ignorance is no excuse for stupidity,” she used to caw at me. She was a barrel of laughs…

It didn’t take me long to learn that there was a right way and a wrong way to do things. The sooner I did it right, the sooner I could get the hell out of her kitchen/classroom and out on the river with grandpa. He was the flip side of these mildly Dickensian summers.

As hell-bent as his wife was to save me from a life of ignorance, if grandpa heard the fish were biting, he could always manage to spring me. “Margaret, the boy can read sitting on a boat just as well as he can sitting at a table.” And off we’d go…

It didn’t matter if it was with a fly, tackle and bait or a spear, the man just loved to fish. Something about being born on an island, he used to say.

To my grandmother, it was all a monumental waste of time. How could we spend whole days trying to catch something that we were just going to let go? (Grandpa was a strict ‘meat and potatoes’ man so it was always ‘catch and release’.) There was no point in trying to explain to her that for us, fishing wasn’t really about catching fish. It was about the fun we had trying.

When it comes to the Irish, there are primarily two types. There’s the ‘Let’s have a pint and a laugh and enjoy the open bar while the ship sinks’ type, (also known as the ‘I’m smiling now, but I’m about to crush yer nose through the back of yer head’ type).

Then there’s the ‘Joy shall only be felt in Heaven and to laugh and have fun is to mock the sorrows of the Saints’ type, (also known as the ‘I’m smiling now, but I’m about to have my brothers crush yer nose through the back of yer head’ type).

For some reason, these two types tend to marry each other.

Despite my grandpa’s best efforts, I take after my grandmother. Work has always been there for me, the one thing I could rely on. But it’s time for a break. I am taking a vacation. A work-vacation. Well, it’s really more of a sabbatical.

An old friend from the Academy is on the job in the northwest and invited me to participate in an exchange program with his department. As it turns out, the Yakima River is only about 30 minutes away and the Rainbows are running.

In grandpa’s honor I won’t be writing any book reports or blogs for a while. If all goes well, I might even manage to have a little fun.

That is, if I remember how.

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