April 9, 2014 —
Of course, by “around here” I mean the Upper Delaware River Valley, and by “fishy” I mean that the majority of the last week has been all about trout. Since I know next to nothing about fishing, fly or otherwise, I gave Phil Eggleton (www.trouttownadventuresandguideservices.com ) a call. Confused about when the seasons actually begin and end, I was glad to have Eggleton set me straight on a few pertinent facts. I knew that country sensation Ryan Broshear had been slated to throw out the official first cast at Junction Pool in Trout Town, USA (www.roscoeny.com ) but (for something completely different) I was befuddled. “Yes, trout season began a few days ago,” Phil explained, “but we often hold off on the official ceremony to make it more convenient for everyone to make it to the celebration over the weekend, when folks traditionally have time off.”
Along with Broshear, who had performed for a packed house (www.monticellocasinoandraceway.com ) the night before, I spotted New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, “Honorary Mayor” Betty Grossman and mascot-about-town “Rennie” (www.sullivanrenaissance.org ) gathering at the legendary pool, birthplace of the two-headed trout, arguably one of the most famous tall tales that fishermen are known for. Gray and Blustery (Attorneys at Law?) notwithstanding, a sizable crowd was on hand to witness Broshear casting off and join the die-hards by wading in and trying their luck. “Dude, why is there a chicken in the water?” Ryan whispered to me. “Am I missing something?” When I explained to the Nashville-based singer that “Rennie” is actually a rooster and always present at events throughout Sullivan County, he laughed. “I love this part of the country!” he exclaimed. “No wonder it draws thousands of visitors every year.” The chilly waters prevented anyone from catching (much less releasing) anything that morning, but the atmosphere was alive with excitement, and everyone was chatting about their next stop (www.catskillflyfishing.org ), where a second “first cast” was scheduled. Broshear’s wife Amie joined an army of women on the shores of the Willowemoc, throwing pink fly lines provided by the Cortland Line Company, showing their support of Casting for Recovery, (CFR) an organization “founded on the principles that the natural world is a healing force” that offers “cancer survivors the opportunity to enjoy beautiful surroundings within a nurturing structure” (www.castingforrecover.org ). Female fly fishers have become a force to be reckoned with, and CFR champion Betty Joan White Wulff Nancy Taylor was among the group of women who joined forces at the museum’s ceremony to represent.
Since I know more about schmoozing than fishing, I took a nap with the pooch in order to be refreshed for another celebration—the annual Two-Headed Trout Dinner held the same night in Roscoe. The banquet (www.rocklandhouse.com ) is a long-standing tradition, but was a first for me and Dharma, so we were both thrilled to attend. As I sampled hors d’oeuvres, the pooch passed out pawtographs (her very own picture postcards) while we both perused the fabulous silent auction items and participated in the 50/50 raffle slated for drawing later in the evening. Scads of local businesses had offered up prizes for diners to vie for, as we dropped more raffle tickets in the assigned baskets. Although the pooch had paws crossed for a win, we wound up empty-handed but satisfied nonetheless, knowing that the donations were all for a good cause. The dinner itself was out-of-this-world delicious and master of ceremonies Phil Eggleton once again presided with style and humor, proving his ability to entertain, corny jokes and all. Roscoe Chamber President Marge Zanger introduced special guest Broshear, who said a few words before the six-course meal and then sang a few songs as dessert was served. Dharma didn’t have to beg, since a doggy bag was provided—and tail wagging, the pup allowed me to drive home, knowing there was a tasty treat on board.
Although there was nothing fishy about the museum opening (www.bethelwoodscenter.org ) on my calendar, I couldn’t help but think of Ringo Starr and his “Octopus’s Garden” as I strolled the new exhibit “America Meets the Beatles!” at Bethel Woods, featuring Life Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge’s stunning pics of the Fab Four and a pop culture display of epic proportions. Museum curator Wade Lawrence spent a few minutes with me, explaining that grad student Samantha Clink spearheaded the display of Beatles memorabilia as her college thesis. There are (IMHO) far too many cool aspects of this exhibit to describe, so my advice is to check it out first hand. Instead, I’ll just hint that visitors can take a seat in grandma’s living room, circa 1964, to take a peek at the Ed Sullivan show or leap into the future and snap a selfie with the lads from Liverpool while tweeting about your experience first-hand. Feeling nostalgic, I think I’ll put “Yellow Submarine” on the old Hi-Fi and immerse myself in a flood of memories before plotting my next move.