Drive into Springtime

The trip was not planned. It started with a phone call from my brother. He was calling to see if I wanted to ride along with him to take our mother down to see her sister, our aunt, to Knoxville,
Tennessee for a short four day visit. I said yes. I mean YES! Please! I only had one question....could I bring my fly fishing "stuff" along? "Fine with me", was his reply. Now I had purpose, though of course, I looked forward to seeing my aunt, and some quality time with my mother.
We left early the next morning at around 7:00a.m. I have made this trip to Tennessee many times, though not to Knoxville as a destination, and not in February.
The drive was pleasant and thankfully uneventful. My brother, who has made the trip in February many times, commented, that he had never seen snow cover all the way through Indiana. Even the northern tier of Kentucky had patches of snow here and there.
As we drove on, the snow disappeared altogether by the time we got into Tennessee . Even the tops of the Smokies did not appear to have snow, and this was unusual, as I have seen the mountain passes closed the first of April, with the Forsythia blooming in Gatlinburg, and the tops of the mountains covered in snow. As we arrived in Knoxville the thermometer read 50 dg. When we stepped out of the car at my Aunt’s house, it was like a dream.
The next morning after breakfast and shower, it was decided we should probably let mom and her sister get caught up and not interfere with that sacred reunion and.....maybe we should go to the mountains to give them plenty of time to bond. This seemingly unselfish act could by sheer coincidence-lead to some random sightseeing and possibly even lead to Trout fishing, though mainly as a means of preoccupation, so as to not to lead us back to the house prematurely and possibly foul the atmosphere of two sisters in the depths of conversation and 'catching up'. I felt that this was the responsibility of considerate sons and nephews.
As we drove higher into the Smokies, the thermometer seemed to climb along with us. By 1:00 p.m. It was 65 dg. We had the windows down and as was fitting, the radio dialed into bluegrass music. The sky was a deep blue with nary a cloud to be seen. The snow shovel born blisters on my hands seemed to heal as they hung out the window, as if immersed in some traditional, southern backwoods potion!

After a little bit of trout fishing and sightseeing, we decided to head back to Knoxville as it was late afternoon and food was the next order of business. I suppose we hoped that our considerate and unselfish act would not go unnoticed, and possibly we would be rewarded with a home cooked meal that would be ready to be dished out upon our arrival. This was not exactly how dinner played out, but it was in the making and served a short time later.
So for three full days, my brother and I dutifully stayed away, to the mountains,
to the rivers and streams, and awesome weather, in the name of all that was decent and righteous, as good sons and nephews with a sense of "doing the right thing for others", having been raised properly, should do!
Early on Sunday morning, we departed for home. Leaving this virtual tropical paradise and driving back to the sub-arctic regions of southern Michigan and normal daily routines involving most commonly shoveling of snow, hauling firewood, and repeatedly checking the ten day forecast, which lately has been equivalent to the results of a scratch off ticket. We drove into snow midway into Kentucky and, well, if you live in Michigan you know the rest of the story.
After being home for a few days and staring at the largest piles of snow that have ever adorned my yard, I have to really think hard to remember that all to brief vacation that now literally seems like a dream. Now, when I check the ten day forecast, it is for Tennessee, and then as I watch the snow fall outside my window, for a moment, I remember that it was real.

Mark Karaba
The Fly Factor