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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

Subaru Magic
by Randal Sumner

Last week I found myself in line at the Bi-Mart, holding my basket of cat food and waiting my turn at the register. Another customer got in line behind me and struck up a conversation, its kind of a Bi-Mart thing.


            After a comment or two he asked me “What do you do”?

            I told him I was retired, I always say I’m retired. It usually kills any further chatting. I’m here to get cat food not to be grilled by a member of the Greatest Generation.

             Then my new little grey haired pal asked, “How old are you, fifty”?

            ‘’No I will be sixty two this year,” turning my back and attention to the transaction at hand with the cashier. 

            Then he says, “You’ve had and easy life”.

             This where I can usually be counted on making a rude, inappropriate comment. However, when I looked the munchkin in the eyes, I simply said, “I think your right I have had an easy life”.

  He had me pegged.

 He probably does this kind of thing a lot.

My life’s been exactly like a Subaru commercial.

            This year my wife and I celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary. Coincidentally it’s been forty years since I began fly-fishing. Ha, and you thought there was no way to bring fishing into this column. Marriage and fishing: two enterprises that require many of the same skills to master.

            Number one: Patience.

            I have very little of this when it comes to real life. Other drivers… waiting at the bank window… airline travel…hey, just dealing with other humans in general can set me off. Fortunately, fly-fishing is not real life, and after 40 years of it I’ve gotten over the catching part, I am just glad to be out there.

            My wife, Liz, on the other hand is a monument to patience. She could build a toothpick Taj Mahal over a period of years, one tiny tooth pick at a time. She is also very patient with everyone but me, I mean she knows that the TSA is always going to pull me aside and put me in the cool off box for a few minutes; it’s something to count on; there’s something about me. They just know

            Number two: Timing.

             The ability to be at the right place at the right time, with the right stuff at home or the river is the key to having a great marriage and excellent fly fishing. It’s much better to practice humility and refrain from commenting about those touchy subjects at home and the river. If your wife or fishing companions want you to know something they will on tell you in there own time; nothing is served by speeding up the timing.

             My problem is, rarely does anyone tell me anything about there inner thoughts. It’s almost as if they think I don’t care. Hey, I’m a marshmallow! Here’s a tip, don’t forget Valentines Day.

            Number three: Commitment

             Staying the course when life may not be traveling a smooth road, especially when the road looks grim.

            Life’s not always casting huge dry flies to hungry fat trout; in fact the fly fishing life is hardly a cut from “A River Runs through It”.  Marriage on the other hand is always a slow motion dream sequence; each passing year just gets better and better.

            That’s my experience anyway and I’m sticking with it. The most important decision you will make in this life will be your choice of a spouse. No pressure. Just like a Subaru commercial.

More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
11/30/2006: Old Whitey by R.Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner