My Blog List

Friday, March 24, 2017


Tuesday Pam and I drove up into Pennsylvania to see architect Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house that he designed for the Kaufman family of Pittsburg. The photo above is the shot which most tourists take and has become the standard representation.

The Kaufman family owned the mountain property and hired Wright to build them a
vacation home next to a stream. The stream, Bear Run, looked to me like a classic eastern trout stream as it tumbles down the hillside. Rather than blindly following his client's wishes, the architect proposed cantilevering the house over the water.

Looking downstream, this photo shows the stream as it passes under the house just before the water falls:

Although I have read about the house and seen the standard pictures, it really fits into the classification of things you have to see in person to appreciate. I recently took three semesters of the history of architecture, and more attention was paid to Frank Lloyd Wright than any other person. After visiting Fallingwater I have greater appreciation of his genius.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Lefty Kreh- An American Hero

Well, he's a hero to me, at least. Lefty is probably the most well known fly fisherman in the world through his books, instructional videos, and TV appearances. Since he was born and has most of his life here in Maryland, I've been lucky to have met him many times, and the latest time was Saturday on Kent Island.

Saturday was the annual event originally called "TieFest" but recently renamed "Lefty Kreh's TieFest" in honor of him. Before he gave his usual fly casting instructional demonstration I had a few minutes to talk with him and ask about fishing with baseball Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams. I could have asked him about other celebrities because he's fished with many politicians, entertainers, and athletes, but I was curious about Williams who brought the same passion and intensity to fishing as he did baseball. Along with that intensity, he was known to be bombastic and opinionated, so I was curious on how well he got along with the easy-going Kreh.

Lefty said Williams was very pleasant to be with during the many fishing trips they took together. Although he's over ninety, in many ways Lefty is still a modest country boy, and I had to read into his account of his first meeting with Williams. He described how the big, strong Williams first showed off his fly casting ability and then watched Lefty cast. No one, then or now, casts a fly rod better than Lefty Kreh, so I'm guessing Williams immediately realized that he could learn from spending time with him. Williams applied fanatical dedication to anything that interested him whether it was hitting a baseball or fly casting, and he did not tolerate well anyone of lesser dedication. He probably saw in Lefty a man of similar devotion to excellence.

But his ability as a fisherman is not the only reason I describe Lefty Kreh as a hero. He was a WWII vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He clearly likes people and has a great sense of humor, and seems to radiate a pleasant aura. In turn, people adore him. You can see this adoration in the eyes of the crowd as people watch and listen to him explain the dos and don'ts of casting. Lefty has a way of bringing smiles to everyone's faces.

Finally, in an interview I read a few years ago he gave some of the most practical advice on marriage I've ever heard. His job may have been his passion, but writing and teaching about fishing required a lot of travel, and he described the tenderness he expressed to his wife before and during his many absences. They were married a long time, and I've also heard him describe the pain of her death a few years ago.

To Lefty I'm another familiar-looking face whose name he doesn't know, but to me he's a friend. I'm certain I'm only one of thousands who feel the same way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Late Winter Snow

Only real snow of the season.

As Pam says, daffodils are hardy.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trip to Southern Maryland for a sad occasion

Drove down yesterday to attend the funeral services for my friend Charlie Anderson's wife. It was one of those services that although I never actually met the deceased by the end I felt I had known her. She clearly was a remarkable woman who was successful in everything she got involved in- academics, career, politics, community affairs and, most importantly, family. The service was longer than most because so many people wanted to share their thoughts about her, but it certainly never got tedious.

The event took place in a Presbyterian church much like the church I grew up in. Although I haven't entered a Presbyterian church in about 40 years, everything was familiar. Two of the three hymns I knew well, and I remembered most of the words of the Apostle's Creed and the 23rd Psalm to recite with the rest of the congregation. Funny how things you learn when you're young stay with you.

I've gotten to know Charlie Anderson over the years from an internet message board called, for obscure reasons, the Moo Board. The common interest was fishing, but that subject plays a lesser role in current discussions than in the past. Periodically over the years, we gather together for lunch. I sat next to a member, Tom, at the church, and socialized over lunch with another, Fritz and his wife, at the reception afterwards.

Before driving home, I took the above picture outside of the restaurant where the reception was held. In the background is the Thomas Johnson Bridge over the lower Patuxent River. The church was just over the bridge on the St. Mary's County side of the river, and the reception was on Solomons Island on the Calvert County side. The weather was sunny but cold and windy.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Spring is arriving on campus

The weeping willows come in early and are always welcome when they do.

Big 10 Basketball Tournament

Yesterday Stan and I took the subway down to the Verizon Center for the opening day of the tournament, and the two games were Nebraska against Penn State and Rutgers against Ohio State. These were the weakest teams in the conference, so attendance was sparse. Even so, it's a great atmosphere that we had the privilege of taking in from the lofty press box. Free food too.

At half time we went down to the court to thank Stan's friend who works for the conference and was responsible for our free tickets. The Big 10 Network commentators were broadcasting their analysis of the play so far.

It was fun walking around the arena because fans from all the conference teams were attending, and most were showing the colors of their favorite schools.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The fly fishing literary tradition

It's a tradition that is centuries old. Fly fishing is not normally the most efficient method of fishing, so maybe the periods of not catching fish lead to musing about the activity. Then, with the thought processes already going, when success comes it leads to other musings about why. Whatever the reasons, fly fishers write about their avocation. I can think of only two who are accomplished painters but many who are writers, and some of these writers are well known and respected literary figures.

I'm thinking about fly fishing and literature because of a book, Teaching Trout to Talk- the zen of small stream fly fishing, by Stuart Bartow, a professor of writing and literature at State University of New York. In 172 pages Bartow includes quotations from the following:


He also quotes from William Humphrey, Rick Bass, and Richard Brautigan who all wrote fishing pieces as well as novels. Then there are Harold Blasdell, George Harvey, and Izaak Walton who are known only for their fishing writings, as far as I know. And finally, Bartow quotes from The Odyssey, The Old Testament, Dr. Suess, and a number of Asian Buddhist writers and poets.

With all those literary references, one may wonder if the author has room left to include much about actual fishing, but he does and what he has to say is honest and accurate.