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I love Winter.  I loved the skiing.  I loved the snow shoe hiking.  I loved the ice fishing.  But spring fever is in my veins now.  Every Spring we make an annual trip to Tennessee to visit Ma and Pa…..ummm, I mean mom and dad.  I love the Smoky Mountains.  I love the Little River.  I love the views from Mt. LeConte.  I love it so much I put away my blocks and cutting tools for a while.  I’m on a fly tying roll.  Time to dust off the fly rods.  Time to build some leaders.  Time to get out the maps.  What trails will I hit?  I don’t need more gear.  I don’t clean my vest or waders.  Stains and dirt are a like maple leafs on a football helmet.  All stand for glory days.  The more holes in my vest the better.  I don’t want to look like I stepped right out of a catalog.  I want look like I havent slept in days.  I don’t smoke cigars to look hip.  I smoke em’ to keep the bugs away.  No need for anything more than a pack of Swisher Sweets for that.  I don’t rush down to the river.  I sit on a boulder and observe.  The river is like a woman who needs some attention first.  Sit quietly and listen.  Admire her beauty.  When the time is right I step softly.  I go slow.  I make my first cast.  Usually my first cast ends up in a tree…..rejection!  I laugh.  I gather myself up.  I try again.  Suddenly I notice it’s dark.  Where did the last few hours go?  I would stay but I’m thirsty.  There’s a cold beer waiting at the cabin.  Dad’s probably smokin’ chicken in the egg….crankin’ the Tejano.  Better get busy tying flies.  That’s cold weather work.  I’d rather be sitting on the deck under the moonlight in Tennessee than squinting under the dim light of the kitchen wrapping feathers around tiny hooks.