I'm a day late with this, but the explanation is one of the best--spending Christmas with my daughter and her family (and away from the computer). It will be the first Christmas season in my lifetime without time in the Smokies as well as the first without my father, who died at the age of 101 back in January. Still, I carry warm memories of him with me as an enduring treasure, and not the least of those cherished memories focus on the fact that he set me on the path of a lifetime filled with joys by introducing me to fly fishing at the age of six, giving me a South Bend Tonkin cane rod at an early age, proudly watching me catch my first trout on a fly when I was nine, and taking quiet pride in what he jokingly called my "marvelously misspent life."
I miss him terribly and always will, but he lived a wonderfully full life in which fly fishing loomed large, and he knew and shared with me and my siblings the true reason for the season.
Best to one and all.