It was a two room apartment, with four occupants and at least three outdoor hobbies participating. Keeping all those vocations in their respective corners was bad enough, not counting us kids fighting for extra flat space at the kitchen table.
In one of many book sessions I discovered deer hair and how to spin it. Now, each time the back door opened there were howls of dismay as the blizzard of gaily colored trimmings blew under my bed – or into the living room.
Some well-wisher had gifted me with the skeletal frame of a fly tying material clipping-catcher, minus the all-important catch-all bag. I explained what was needed and Ma dutifully whipped out a nice mesh bag that we threaded onto the harness. I dogged it onto the shaft of my Korean knock-off Thompson Model A and domestic bliss was restored.
Her cornbread no longer featured unwanted stubble and I discovered that a material-clipping-catcher was the Greatest Invention I’d Never Bought …
… and never will again.
The first month I reveled in the grief my brother caught for spreading his wire-rope splicing gear all over our bedroom. Now Ma was picking up snippets of waxed thread or rope, broken needles, and fragments of trimmed wire, while I cheerfully snipped away at Bass Awesomeness and made faces at
Meathead Dumbass Older Bro while Ma lectured him sternly.
The second month I discovered that fly tying material clipping-catchers had uses far beyond simply catching all the airborne debris. They became a particle reservoir of everything I’d ever made, or ever will make …
By the third month I wondered how I’d managed to tie fly without one, and why the fly tying media never touched on the thousands of reuses all those trimmed parts represented.
Instead of opening a drawer to find Grizzly tailing material, you simply dug into the snippet bag, whose contents you’d never emptied, and was full to bursting with animal parts mixed with bits of toast, old socks, and small unidentifiable stuff …
By month four the ball of debris was so big you had to adjust it in your lap when you sat down. It was crucial to your tying as it had two or three inches of everything you owned, shaving minutes off each fly as you no longer had to guess which cardboard box contained pink and white variegated chenille, or that ancient spool of mint floss.
It was just there. Roll the ball around until you saw the tag end.
But at month five you realized it wasn’t gold so much as iron pyrite, that’s when the first moth fluttered up from the bottom of your accumulated ball of debris. You’d mistaken ash from Pop’s pipe dottle for the eggs of fly tying’s only nemesis.
Now, your ode to Homer Price was doomed.
… but not before you thought about saving your prize, whether you should endure the kiss of all those noxious chemicals, or could you endure separation anxiety and simply toss it and start anew.
This was an important moral quandary, which you would practice many times when you discovered girl friends.