Last week, in discussing gift ideas for my two nephews in the Pacific Northwest, I lamented in an email to my brother and his wife the loss of the old, forest-killing Sears Holiday Wishbook that mysteriously appeared on our doorstep every Christmas season. It was discontinued in 1993 and resurrected online in 2009 and while one can go online to request a copy today; it’s a shadow of its former itself. Today’s version is about 100 pages, considerably smaller than the 300-plus page books of my childhood.
Growing up, my sister, brother and I would spend countless hours, separately and together, pouring over the colorful pages of everything a kid might want. Items would be circled and page corners folded in the hope that Santa Claus might leave it under the tree.
These days the older nephews (no nieces for me) can posts lists on various websites or shoot me a text message. It’s the younger ones who’d benefit most from a book that can be laid on the floor in front of the fireplace, where they can bask in the warmth of wistful wishes.
Now I’m “growed” up and have my own wishbooks. The Wife will tell anyone, often unsolicited, that she’s married to a 12-year-old boy in a man’s body, and that’s an apt description when I’m leafing through the latest fly fishing catalogs.
Fly fishing lends itself to perpetual gift ideas. Dismissing rods and reels, there’s always a need for new tippet, leader, sometimes for fly lines, that new vest with 52 pockets, an inscribed waterproof cigar box, invasive-species-unfriendly wading boots with rubber soles instead of felt and, for most fly fishermen, there’s always a need for
replacement new flies. That’s assuming the fly fisherman in your life doesn’t tie flies. If they do, the door opens to a multitude of materials and tools.
Fly fishing: a small sacrifice I’m willing to make so that gift giving is easier for everyone else.