Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods says goodbye to summer

What?  Summer is over?!?!
Fall is near.  Our nights are cooler and the crisp air teases us until noon each day when we inevitably end up in the high 80s.  I am okay with the heat (if it's below 70 , I swear I can see my breathe),  but most people are not as tolerant.  When I walk outside the shop on Main Street, I hear a chorus of complaining from all directions (especially Bill and Riley).
One word...winter.  Don't forget the alternative...winter.  
But, until then, we have the magical fall to look forward to soon.

Saying goodbye to summer is always difficult for me and this one is no exception.  Here at Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods, we were very busy playing and working over the past several months.  So, if a picture is worth 1000 we go...

work, work, work

play, play, play on the Frying Pan
work, work, work
play, play, play in St. George
work, work, work...hand engraved butt caps for students in one class
  We taught over 28 students to make a bamboo fly rod this summer!
work, work, work...kind of
PLAY!PLAY!PLAY!...once our student and now our "imported" friend Brian from Massachusetts.

 work, work, work

play, play, play...Bill and Riley took up pipe smoking when I was not looking
play, play, play
Goodbye to summer...

Until we meet again...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Jeep Wrangler, an ode to a blue minivan and Oyster Bamboo Fly Rod Rods

I had an ephiphany today.  

You go where you look.

And it all revolves around an electric blue minivan.

Let me all started several months ago when my Jeep Wrangler was trashed by softball sized hail (if you think this is an's not). 
the hail that started it all

Once we realized the extent of the damage,  I immediately starting  dreading the day that I had to give up my Jeep for some rent-a-car and compromise my self esteem priorities by driving something else for an extended period of time that was far more uncool practical.  FYI:  I have driven some form of Jeep Wrangler for 20 years.

So, after putting off the inevitable for 6 weeks,  I took my Jeep to the dealership for repairs and waited for the Enterprise rent-a car person to pull up with my temporary ride.  How bad could it be, right?  I do live in Blue Ridge,'s probably a truck.  I can live with that.  Maybe it's a comfy family sedan.  As long as it's not maroon (long story), I can live with that.  I'll not even panic if it's a fuel efficient smart car that has zero room for the kids.  I can make it work and I'll feel so superior environmentally friendly about it all. 

When my new vehicle came up the drive, it was the worse case scenario...for me.   My new transportation was a minivan.  Specifically, an electric blue minivan. 

It was so blue that when Cutter saw it, he yelled, "Cool!  Is that Spiderman's car?"

Oh geeez...a bright blue minivan.  Here's the quandary...after purposefully and systematically shedding most of my hard core suburb upbringing throughout my adult life, the van pulling up in front of me was the metaphorical equivalent of all that is wrong with the world that I purged from my life when I was able to start making my own choices.

Wow...I was thinking too hard about this blue it too much credit...I requested a new car.  Anything.  Mr. rent-a-car man did not argue with me and said they could have something the following day...problem solved.

The "problem" worsened. 

In a word, this blue minivan van was easy and it taunted me from go.   I was pulled into a parallel universe from the moment I took the wheel.

The easy universe (or easier at least).

This blue bus drives like a dream, has enough space to accommodate groceries,  all of my my ridiculous hobby gear and everything else I own (all at once) and still has room for Cutter to change his clothes  standing up (don't ask).  It's intuitive automatic doors blow my mind and the satellite radio is clear as a bell because the top to this van is hard (unlike my Wrangler's soft top) and does not rattle my brain stem when I drive over 55mph. Oh, and the cup holders!  There are at least 8 cup holders within16 inches of the driver's side. Incredibly, they were all full with my random items before I even pulled out of the dealer's parking lot.  Of course, the kids love it because of the DVD players and "glowing" overhead feature at night.  


The Jeep body shop called a few days ago to say they are very sorry but it would be at least another week before my car is ready.  I said don't apologize...really.   It's okay.

In a panic, I started looking for Minivans for sale.

Cutter asks every day if we can keep it (like a puppy).  I say no.  He asks why.   I am running out of excuses.  After all, is a Jeep really worth the extra work?  It has cramped quarters, I have to strap everything on top despite my 5' tall stature, it drives like my go-cart from 3rd grade, and (aghast), there are only two cup holders.
the kids vote for the van

But then it epiphany.  

Just as I drove (very smoothly I might add) and listened to (hearing very clearly I might add) every word of "Fresh Air" through our winding mountain roads, the following series of events happened (this is a true story):

I was following behind a Jeep Wrangler that turned off onto a side road.  The top was down, the doors were off and my heart ached as I watched it disappear straight up a rutted-out dirt road that  immediately incited a riot inside of me.  Where did that road lead?!?  Trails?  A great creek?  A secret view?  I slammed on the breaks (very subtle breaking system I might add)  and stared at the forest in front of me.  My trance like state could not be broken as I imagined vistas, meadows, a rainbow and perhaps a unicorn at the top!

I wanted to follow that Jeep up the rocky mountain road...but I could not...the proverbial "you go where you look" was not even an option.  

Then it hit me...this minivan can not take me where I really want to go.  In spite of it's "ease", ultimately, easy is not (and has never been) a priority.  Sometimes, life's lowest common denominator (in this case my go-cart like Jeep) actually fulfills our deepest desires without even having electric sliding doors involved.   

This caused my internal riot to morph into the "reflection" thing that happens when you listen to your little voice (and two kids are not screaming in your ear).

While making bamboo fly rods for a living has created a beautiful life for us, it is not easy.  This profession chose us and we heard the call (that little voice again) but certainly not because of it's ease, potentially lucrative nature or because some book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble gave us an "easy step by step" plan for the bamboo fly rod making industry.  Bamboo fly rod making is none of the above but it is indeed a fulfilling and happy life as a direct result of going "straight up a rutted-out dirt road".  

As a craft, bamboo fly rod making is an extraordinary undertaking (to say the least) and making it a successful business is even more of a challenge.  But, we are up for it...each day.  We do  not just accomplish the minimum to get by...we are all consumed with making it all better for everyone involved. 

HIS...and hers!
If we simply looked for the "easiest" route, there would not be vistas and meadows to even imagine much less realize (and even live atop of).  So, we here at Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods and the Oyster family in general will forgo the easy  and "go where we look".

The reward of making bamboo fly rods is the easiest to understand of gets us where we want to go.

So, I bid adieu to the blue minivan with no regrets...except perhaps those cup holders.

Not Easy

But Super Duper