Posts Tagged With: fiction

A Toast to the Unknown Guide

My old friend, Dr. Marcus Feely, recently spent four days here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. He will be back in August, with his wife and family, and again in September, with some lucky young receptionist from his office. Last week, however, he was here by himself.

I hate to say it, but when he is alone he gets lonely and if I stopped to chat every time he wanted to talk I would never get anything done.

I don’t exactly hide, but I can be difficult to find and I don’t exactly skulk, but when Doc Feely is here I do tend to skirt the edges a bit more than usual. My stealthiness is tested during his visits, especially when he stays in the Cahill camp, which I must pass on my way to inspect our overflow spillway. I got out there just fine on Tuesday, crawling on my belly beneath the kitchen window while Doc sat on the front porch, listening to the Red Sox game, but coming back, as I drew near I heard ice in a glass and froze.

Doc Feely was making a drink in the kitchen and I had to think fast. I could stay right where I was and wait, sauntering past after he toddled back out to the porch or I could find an alternate route and be on my merry way. Instead, I panicked when I heard the kitchen screen door squeak open and slap shut, followed by the approaching tinkle of ice in a drink.

I don’t remember the lie I must have told when Doc Feely asked what I was doing 35 feet up a pine tree, but I remember a few of the lies I tried when he insisted I come sit on the porch with him. They weren’t very good ones and I finally climbed down, figuring that if I was going to spend the next part of the afternoon listening to Doc prattle on I might as well do it on the porch with a drink in my hand instead of halfway up a pine, getting covered with sap. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Flashback Friday

(Knowing which day of the week it is has a different significance to me than it does to most other working stiffs. I must keep track, somewhere in the back of my tiny mind, but other than to check which camps need to be made ready by 4:00 p.m. I don’t really need to know. As far as most members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society are concerned, my work week begins the moment of their arrival, no matter the day, so I labor while they recreate and what everyone else knows as Friday has become just another day of making beds.) 

Five light fixtures, a rake, a broom, a 5-foot chunk of 4x4, some rope, some stove wood, trash and laundry.

That is just my way of saying that, with the season underway at Fish in a Barrel Pond, Flashbacks can occur at any time.)

I must point out, now and then, that the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society and Fish in a Barrel Pond are figments of Quill Gordon’s imagination. I should further point out that Quill Gordon is also a figment. In other words, with the exception of gear reviews and nature writing, most of what appears in this blog is (mostly) fiction. The thing about fiction is that it must be believable and, with the good folks I associate with as an ever-flowing source of material and inspiration, if I were to share the stories of what I really see and hear you would think I was just making stuff up.

There are elements to certain stories we all can relate to. True or not, tales of young boys and large fish are near universal.

Even the goofiest anglers among us get lucky sometimes.

Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flashback Friday: Opening Day!

Opening Day 1947

Opening Day 2011 dawned a tad bit cool and more than just a little breezy, and the members and guests of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society reacted accordingly. Some searched out sheltered spots to cast while others trolled streamers, slapping their way through the chop on the upwind leg of their circuit. By breakfast, most had touched enough trout to have no problem not going back out but a few anglers, suffering from the delusion that nothing matters but numbers, couldn’t be bothered to come in even for coffee.  Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

First of All, I Wasn’t Really Bragging

I recently wrote about meeting an important man and, in the comments that followed, I was reminded of my encounter with a man last summer that resulted in me yelling at the man so loudly and often that his child started to cry. Other than the trauma suffered by a small child, it’s a funny story — at least the way I tell it — but I have often wondered how the man I yelled at would tell it.

Maybe he would send me an email and I would provide a snip of it to convince you of its authenticity, posting the complete text (and photos) below. 

Continue reading

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vermont Hand Crafted Tenkara Rods

Tenkara is an old Japanese method of fishing, conceived as a way to yank fish from small streams. Generating a lot of interest lately, its American adherents are practically swooning. It turns out that my friend Eugene has been using similar methods for years and his desire to simplify the gentle art of angling (see “… teach a man to fish …”) has naturally led him to Tenkara. Feeling uniquely qualified, he is anxious to share his expertise. He’s also fairly sure he can make a buck or two doing it.

Eugene has tried his hand at home decor (see “A Craft Project With My Friend, Eugene”) and he has dabbled in the culinary arts (see “Mouse Pie”). His qualifications are indeed unique but I sometimes wonder about him as an entrepreneur, especially when he involves his pal Purly (see “The Disappearance of Ethan Allen”). Still, I do what I can to help them out, usually against my better judgement.

With a reminder — nay, a plea — to obey all fish and game laws, I give you:


Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

The end of the season is nigh, here at Fish and a Barrel Pond, but it ain’t over yet and I should have known better than to write like it was as I did a couple of weeks ago when I got all sentimental and gooey in my post “Mostly Photos, from Somewhere in Vermont“. A string of sunny days full of blue skies and brook trout interspersed with starry nights scented of bourbon and wood smoke can do that to a guy.

It’s been almost six months since the 2010 fishing season began for the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society and it was nice to spend another Saturday night by the fire, sipping toddies and swapping stories with a swell bunch of fellows but on Sunday afternoon, as I stood in the road waving good-bye, a chill, northern breeze boxed my ears and tossed my hat in the ditch, reminding me it is the end of their season, not mine.

All week long that breeze blew. It took the sunshine away, replacing it with steady rain, and by Thursday afternoon the breeze was a flag-shredding gale and, after a brief lull, the rain became sleet.

You pay your money and you take your chances when you come to Fish in a Barrel Pond, especially in October. Some folks, with little apparent effort, have a fine time no matter the conditions, while others don’t try at all and are miserable, rain or shine. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, Humor, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mouse Pie


The leaves are turning, early it seems, and around here that means more people from other places will be showing up to see them.  Every small town and village tries to get those people to stop, linger and spend money by hosting craft fairs, food fests, art shows, etc. and ours is no exception. My friend Eugene and his pal Purly are looking to get in on the action with a booth on the green where they can offer up real, honest to goodness Vermont food, educate folks about a different way of life and maybe make a few bucks along the way, even though their first experience with food and outsiders didn’t go very well (see “Eugene, Purly and Chef Gordon Ramsay“).

When Eugene stopped by this week, searching for ingredients, I was happy to help. Unfortunately, he and Purly originally wanted to serve up Teriyaki Beaver on a Stick but beaver season doesn’t start until November and all I had to offer was a couple of frozen hind quarters (freshness is of utmost importance). They were, however, able to come up with an authentic recipe they could use and for which I can provide ingredients in abundance. It’s a win-win, as they say. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Rural Life, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments


[This is as good a time as any to note that there are six camps scattered along the shores of Fish in a Barrel Pond, each named after one legendary fly or another. They are, in no particular order, the Parmacheene Belle, Gray Ghost, Queen of the Waters, Cahill, Coachman and Mickey Finn (an acknowledging wink to the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society’s long tradition of fiery potations and mind-numbing concoctions). The names were chosen by a specially appointed committee charged with choosing from a list of suggestions submitted by the membership.

Certain members were against naming the camps when the issue came up for a vote, not so many years ago (one camp burned to the ground without a name, way back when — see “The Conflagration at Green Damselfly Cove”) and an attempt was made to turn the decision into one the membership would regret. If they had succeeded in stacking the committee in their favor I could very well have just introduced you to the Bitch Creek Nymph, Rat Face McDougal, Quack Doctor, Golden Monkey, Cow Dung and Ethel May.]

The sounds of the loon stir something primal, deep within all of us (see “Sadly Mistaken“), or at least they used to. More and more, as phone signals and broadband coverage improve, I see people mesmerized by the little boxes they carry, looking at each other and themselves but not what’s right in front of them or yakking away about things that, when you stop to really think about them, probably don’t merit a phone call in the first place and I am a bit concerned.

Never again do I want to hear a person say, “Can’t something be done to shut those birds up? I’m trying to talk here!”

I would, however, like very much to hear, again and again, “Quill, I dropped my phone off the dock. Can you fish it out for me?” because I would say “NO! Firstly, that ain’t fishin’ and lastly, I’m glad you dropped it. Might do you some good to be bored out of your frickin’ skull for a week, you spoiled little …” Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Humor, Loons, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eugene and the Dangers of Shatter Proof Glass

When word got out, a couple of weeks ago, that I was going to make the 30 mile drive to the closest thing we’ve got to a city around  here, my friend Eugene jumped at the chance to tag along. He must have jumped, although he could have dropped from a tree for all I know, into the bed of my truck just past Peavy Flat, where the road narrows and you have to slow down so as to not run over Purly Coutermarche’s dogs. By the time I noticed him back there it was too late to turn around and take him home so I agreed he could come, but because I didn’t want to get a ticket for having a passenger in the bed of a truck on the highway I covered him with a tarp and told him to stay out of sight. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Eugene, Purly and Chef Gordon Ramsay

It is not uncommon in these parts to run into a celebrity from time to time. Most stay below the radar, preferring to not call attention to themselves, but others cause quite a ruckus. It should come as no surprise that one such recent folderol should involve my good friend Eugene.

Eugene has been wintering with his pal Purly, at Purly’s place above the swamp on the far side of Peavy Flat off Lower Skunk Hollow Road. It’s a cozy arrangement and it works well for them, which is good because otherwise he would be staying here with me. He stopped by the other day — to “borrow” something — and he filled me in on the goings-on over the hill. When he told me about the “cocky little British guy” he and Purly had run off he had no idea who he was talking about but, considering the details, it was clear to me he could only be describing Gordon Ramsay, famous chef, restauranteur and television star. Continue reading

Categories: Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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