Coal dust & Fly Fishing

Early last Saturday morning the weather was a glorious warm 68 F. (Sorry no Celsius―the outdoor thermometer is from the Fahrenheit era.) Man-wonder and I were sitting on the deck sipping the perfect cup of coffee―not bold enough to produce unwanted hair but not tasting like dirty tea either.

And as we sipped and slurped we discussed books.  Man-wonder offered up story bites from his latest John Gierach book (fly-fishing tales) which led into a description of the previous night and his after-dinner walk down to the local school yard to practice fly casting. The golf balls he used as distance markers weren’t cutting it and he was pretty sure he needed to buy marking rings for the different casting and angle distances. I offered him the use of some old embroidery hoops I’d uncovered in my hobby room but he politely declined. (And he wonders why I tell him he’s high maintenance!)

We sat for a bit, sipping in silence. I gave him just long enough to mentally toss out his fly line and catch a lunker before I jumped in with descriptions of the latest whodunits I’ve discovered; wonderful adventures written by the Australian writer Kerry Greenwood. Most of Kerry’s characters are larger than life and absolutely delightful. And the way she weaves the story is any writer’s dream.

So having devoured most of her Phryne Fisher books, I was now enjoying the escapades of Corinna Chapman. Since I happened to have Forbidden Fruit beside me I read him a passage I’d bookmarked.

‘I looked at the professional photo. Dark hair, parted in the middle. Dark blue eyes with a shade under them―’put in with a sooty finger’, my grandma used to say.’

Put in with a sooty finger—priceless! I sighed out loud and looked up, expecting Man-wonder to agree on how good that description was. Instead, he was staring  at me like I’d just spit one of his fly hooks out my nose.

What? Isn’t that perfect?”


“Are you serious? We’ve both grown up in remnants of coal mining towns and you don’t get it?”

Rolling his eyes, he tossed the last of his coffee back and got up, heading for the kitchen.

“I thought it was describing some fancy French application for make-up,” drifted back over his shoulder.

I think I woke the neighbourhood laughing.

Is it any wonder I call him Man-wonder?

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