It’s 0500 on Christmas morning and all is quiet, but I am about 80% deaf so that helps. I do love my silent world. No longer do I have the little ones at home to wake me every hour after the stroke of midnight on Christmas morn. Instead it is the ghosts of Christmas past that have dragged me from my slumber and kept me from sleep. Okay so my bladder had something to do with it to. I got up to take a leak and lay awake remembering when my children were children. Finally I succumbed to the restlessness and quietly as possible made my way past the guest room were, you guessed it, one of the guests is sleeping. Then past the other guest who is sleeping on the couch. I made coffee as quietly as one can with an electric coffee grinder and no ground coffee in the house. Bagel and lox will provide my sustenance this morn on which the Christ child was born. It’s to early for bourbon even for me but the coffee is quite good. I will soon be getting into the humidor to smoke my Christmas cigar which was a gift on my birthday a week ago today. First I will start with my pipe though. It seems that early mornings lend themselves more to the pipe than the stogie. Oh how I do miss the early morning ritual on the river. The pipe is my companion on the drive to the river but not until I have finished fueling the truck. Then once at the river I always begin with the lighting of the stogie. I then move on to rigging rod and line, and finish with prepping the drift boat. Several anglers arrive and launch in the time I spend getting everything ready. To me this is a time of transition that should be savored. Enjoy the cigar, relish memories of past trips, an occasional swallow of now lukewarm coffee, the sounds of nature until the next angler pulls up with boat in tow, and then a brief social moment until the other angler becomes absorbed in his own morning ritual. Some will show good manners and proper upbringing by asking my permission to put in before me since I was there first Others like some of the guides will show good manners in spite of not so good an upbringing ( at no fault of their parents who tried to get them to get real jobs). I recently read an interview done with Gary Lafontaine when he was near the end of his life, and he referred to memories of perfect moments. I guess that is what it is all about for me these days. It isn’t just the catching of fish but creating an opus of perfect moments to sustain me after I have made the last “last cast”. My wish for you my reader is that you will have a truly Merry Christmas and if you are not Christian then please do not be offended that I am, as I am not offended that you are not, and therefore are not bound by the social and spiritual obligations and can go fishing this morning. It pleases me to think that one of the great things about belonging to the fraternity of anglers is that it encompasses us all, and provides a common place for us to share thoughts, ideals, theology, beer, whiskey, lies, and etc.