Yeah about that…..
Loosely speaking it is group of men with common interests in fishing, hunting and lying. Well- not really lying- more like storytelling. Sometimes there is alcohol involved.
OK, alcohol is always involved.
And it is probably responsible for the name. No one can remember.
We range in age from 60 to 75. I’m the baby and least intelligent member of the band of gypsies. Generally speaking, hanging out with smart people makes you smarter, except when there is too much alcohol involved which tends to happen sometimes.
OK, it happens all the time.
In reality, the nucleus of the WTF was formed in a desert prison in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, near lake Guerrero in the late 1990’s. Diddy, Woogie and I served time in adjacent cells.
Having more money than sense.
The prison was a Rancho advertising “world-class wing shooting, water fowling and wild quail hunting”. Only the doves had long since departed for Argentina, the lake was in drought condition and the “bird dogs” couldn’t find a chicken leg in a food bowl.
In hindsight, maybe it was a world-class destination- the Narcos certainly thought so. Today the US State Department classifies it on par with Syria and Afghanistan in terms of danger level for American travelers.
Since our expulsion from Mexico, we’ve added a few members to the group- The Rev and Stu-boy for sure and a few more who join in our adventures when their schedules allow.
“The Rev” is not really a reverend but is married to a reverend which is close enough to insure our salvation should we require it. The Rev is a lawyer married to a Saint. We assume his license to practice law is recognized internationally- thus far, we have not tested the assumption. Besides practicing law, the Rev can recite “Lonesome Dove” verbatim- we have yet to find a use for his unique skill-set but the man-crush on Robert Duvall is impressive.
Stu-boy is a hippie, who wears loafers made of carpet scraps and carries a “murse”. The man-purse contains his worldly possessions and keys to the airplane. Stu-boy is our pilot. Initially, we found him to be extremely irritating- referring to us as SOB’s every time he spoke to a control tower. We were less irritated upon learning that SOB’s, in pilot-speak, are “souls on board”. I have never seen him flustered or panicky in any of the touchy situations we may, or may not, have created- a trait much appreciated in a pilot.
Diddy is Diddy because he bears a striking resemblance to P Diddy, except he is white and a lot shorter and prone to wearing boat shoes and flannel shirts. Diddy was once a captain of industry and a legit boat captain- until he retired and sold his boat. Diddy carries a GPS with him everywhere he goes- we speculate endlessly on his obsession with the device since we all have miniature equivalents embedded in our phones. Perhaps it is his advanced age or a need to know exactly where he is in the world at all times.
Woogie is, well, Woogie. Highly entertaining, a fearless leader and Shaman of sorts. He definitely has access to, and influence in, a spiritual world of good and evil spirits. His keen intellect and total recall of a broad spectrum of useless information, including show tunes, is unrivaled even when he is not in a trance. There is not a kinder, more generous soul walking this earth.
The motto of the WTF is “Caring, Sharing and Friendship”. I believe it was coined by the Rev. CSF is often motivation for acts of mayhem perpetrated on one another. CSF is perfect justification for any transgression- plus it provides plausible deniability.
We’ve fished creeks, rivers and oceans together for over twenty years.
We meet new people everywhere we go- leaving happy bartenders and servers in our wake.
One time, a cowgirl, standing in a parking lot wearing chaps complete with six-guns over a bikini looking thing, asked “what’s wrong with him?”. Another simply stated, “he needs to see someone”. I have no idea what generated the question or to whom it was directed, but any one of us could be “him” on any given excursion.
We have several world records among us that have nothing to do with fishing and everything to do with fun and laughter.
The fishing isn’t as important as it once was.
The friendship is more important than it ever was.
Individually and collectively we have experienced fabulous highs and crippling lows. We’ve celebrated our children’s successes, mourned the end of our parent’s lives, and pulled each other out of emotional shit-storms. All of us are fathers, some are Grandfathers, celebrating yet another chapter in the Book of Life. To a man, we remain actively involved in each other’s lives.
From an outsider’s perspective, we are a strange collection with no common profession or educational background or religious affiliation. In my opinion, our interests in outdoor sports is what brought us together- our interests in the welfare of others is what cements the relationships- it is a significant part of our professional and personal lives.
I am blessed to call these men my friends.
CSF be damned, I know who I can count on.