Wow! Where to begin…the last 2 months have been eventful to say the least. We kicked of the fall by spending a few days in a Yurt in Western North Carolina. It’s the closest Bill will get me to camping these days. It’s so rare that we get away without work in tow so it was a serious treat.
Our Yurt was nestled in the woods with a gorgeous view of the Nantahala gorge. The best part was being able to “open the roof” at night and sleep under the stars in comfort. We managed to squeeze in a mountain bike ride at Tsali before going to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops . All of this in 36 hours…we had to cut the trip short for the love of bamboo but it was a glorious 36 hours. Crazy beautiful.
So, fast forward a few weeks, a few rods and a bamboo fly rod class later….oh, and a fun class! The class consisted of a group of friends from Arizona and a “local” from Tennessee. For this group, I traded our traditional graduation/meatball night for Gnocchi in it’s stead. Why that’s worth mentioning…I have no idea.
As I said, a few insane weeks later (insert starting Cutter’s homeschooling here), it was time for the Oyster Picnic Reunion on October 2. This idea started innocent enough. I thought we could gather some local clients together at Froghollow and fish our Oyster rods for a few hours. However, much to my complete shock….lots (and I mean lots) of Oysters celebrated their bamboo fly rods with us. We had Oyster rod clients as well as bamboo fly rod class students arrive to enjoy the ideal, breezy, sunny day including delicious BBQ and big fish. What a touching and sincere testament to the company we started in our loft 13 years ago.
October is my favorite month of the year. Tom Waits sings about this.
So, let’s see…oh, the weekend after the picnic Bill went to the Annual Carter Center charity event at Brigadoon. This year, Bill had the pleasure of guiding Rosalynn Carter. Ask me if I am annoyed that he did not take any pictures with her? Go ahead…ask. Yes.
Meanwhile, the kids and I went to the ocean for our October trip. October is perfect there…really. We met my friends, Kristy and AJ, down there for a few days and enjoyed (once again), the perfect weather, crystal clear water and unreal sunsets.
Again, fast forward a few more bamboo rod orders, a few more bamboo fly rods shipped and another bamboo fly rod making class. Our October class was fun and interesting, as usual. All of the students’ rods were gorgeous! Wrapping day was a bit stressful…but, what’s new. Also, I am proud to say that the most exquisite rod of the group was made by my now friend, Kathy. Women tend to do very well in these classes. I feel it’s a combination of women being patient, good listeners and having an innate aesthetic that compliments the craft. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
Now, I should mention Bill being awarded Georgia’s “40 under 40”. Each year, Georgia Trend magazine honors 40 people under 40 for this award. When Bill was chosen, he was confused. While Bill realizes that he is a talented craftsman, I don’t think mainstream recognition ever makes sense to him. By the way…it makes perfect sense to me. Our family can not afford for Bill to be too humble. Bill got into bamboo rod making because of his love of the craft and fly fishing. Remember, I insisted he sell his second rod ever built over a decade ago. We had many discussions concerning the “business” of bamboo rod making and we (I) decided that Bill’s talent and willingness to share all that he has to offer as a rod maker was a far better “job” prospect for him than a corporate job. Why not? Most people have to do something for a living…why not something you love? So, when Bill ended up on a “list” of 40 overachievers, he had no choice but to see himself as something else as just a bamboo fly rod maker. The honorees were celebrated at a dinner in Atlanta on October 20th and the Mayor of ATL (a former list member) was the keynote speaker (he was very good, by the way…now I know why he was elected). One funny thing…the invitation to the dinner said “business attire”. So, Bill said, “What do I wear…waders or a dirty shirt full of bamboo dust and leather gloves”? He did not. We thought about it. But, he did not wear waders.
A few days after the dinner and the completion of another class, Bill left for NYC to speak at the New York Anglers Club. The club made Bill’s trip fulfilling for a variety of reasons…including meeting and hanging out with Hoagy Carmichael. Bill learned how to make a bamboo fly rod from Hoagy’s book, A Masters Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod. So, you (and Oprah) could call this Bill’s “full circle moment”.
The grand finale of this Loooooooooooong blog is our incredible Halloween. Blue Ridge shuts down Main Street and kids come from three states as the merchants give out candy as fast as our arms will move. We gave away over 3000 pieces this year…3000. Everyone dressed up at the shop…even Riley. But, now that Riley is 21…he thinks that he is all manly and stuff so he took some convincing to wear the clown wig. Actually, I think Riley enjoyed it as much as my other children. 🙂