MONDAY: Honour Thy Roots


Copyright is held by the author.

PURPLE WOOLY BUGGERFLY be damned! How she had ever wound up with a fly fisherman was beyond her, but she suspected it was the tequila. She shook her aching head, a mistake, she quickly discovered and tried to make sense of the last twenty-four hours. Stepping onto the plane for a much needed vacation, sitting next to a fellow on his way to the Yukon, taking advantage of a couple of free drinks and the rest of the trip blurred. She recalled the turbulence, a staccato voice from the cockpit saying they would be making an emergency landing, the extended layover in Winnipeg and a photo of her dancing on a tabletop wearing nothing but a fisherman’s skimpy vest festooned with homemade flies.

“You alive in there?”


Death must be better than this godawful ringing in her head. His voice didn’t sound so bad, but be damned if she could put a face to the voice. Rod. Yeah, his name was Rod. She’d giggled that one to death on the plane, trying not to laugh, having to excuse herself to finish her stifled guffaws in the washroom. A fisherman named Rod? He was so busy rhyming off the different flies he had tied in his lifetime — globugs, pike flies, dry flies, wet flies, nymph flies, streamer flies, wooly worm flies, flesh flies, bug flies and poppers — that he hadn’t noticed her discomfort as they exchanged names. It was almost as laughable as the lady she had met in the baggage check area, six feet tall and half as wide named Tiny.

Owwwww. Kill me now. Please.

“What’s all the moaning? Can I get you anything, darling?”

Darling? It was worse than she could imagine. She had lost a good part of the last day in her life, and only now was it coming back in bits and pieces. She splashed cold water on her face and peered into mirror.

Gloria, oh Gloria. What have you done this time?

Visions of mother rushed in, hands on hips, demanding to know where she had been all night, that there were chores to be done, and who did she think she was, getting above the roots of her raising, hanging around with that mucky muck crowd from the city. She didn’t see them around trying to help run this farm, and maybe she should move out so she could be with them full time.

Well, she’d taken Mother up on that one, and left the farm, never to return for a few years. But she came back with a college degree and a solid job in an advertising firm in the city. Mother didn’t complain so much when she handed her fat wads of money to help raise her kid sisters and brothers, but oh how bitter the battle had been before the job.

“Let me in and we’ll check out the damage. You might have had one too many there, darling.

You sure drank me and Al under the table.”

ONE too many? She felt like she had consumed the entire blue agave forest in Guadalajara and maybe the whole of Mexico. When the margarita mix had run out, Tequila Sunrises took over, and finally tequila, straight from the bottle, worm and all.

As she patted her face dry, something sparkled in the mirror. A ring? Nope. TWO rings. A whopping diamond and its mate. Oh, God. A wedding ring. She grabbed the towel bar for support. Really, the most out-of-character thing she’d ever done since leaving the farm was a teeny butterfly tattoo on her behind, and to date she’d almost forgotten about that weekend.

Come to think of it, tequila was involved then too. But married? Couldn’t be.

“Are you nearly ready, darling? We’ve got another plane to catch.”

“We? Are you kidding me? You and I aren’t even headed to the same place! Aren’t you going to the Yukon?”

“Yep. So are you, sweetie. I couldn’t leave my wife behind. Come on out. I just ordered us some breakfast. Al’s coming to join us.”

Oh Sweet Jesus, it was true. Why couldn’t she remember that part? She dragged herself to the door and opened it. There he stood in all his splendor. Her new husband. Not bad, easy on the eye, little older than she would have chosen, but trim and fit. And in far better shape this morning than she was.

“How? Where? When did we do this?” She held up her hand.

“Well, that part was easy. My buddy? Al? The one on the plane? So happens he’s a JP. Don’t worry, it’s legal. Here. You signed the papers yourself. I wanted to wait until we had at least landed, but you insisted. We got the rings in the airport. You chose them. Please tell me you’re not sorry. I have never done anything like this in my life, but I would do it over again. I called Mom. She’s getting our room ready. I told her we’d be back in a week, that we were going on a fishing trip for our honeymoon, just like you insisted when you put my vest on. You are one hot babe when you get going!”

“Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute here. We’re going back to WHERE to live with Mom?”

“Rankin Inlet. I just took this trip south to pick up supplies for my business, Rod’s Fly-By Fish Flies. I also write for Outdoor Canada, and they sent me on the trip to the Yukon. So me, you and my buddy Al will be leaving soon. Let’s go, get dressed. You can’t wear that vest on the plane. I mean I don’t mind it, but…”

“Shut up, Rod. I don’t even know you. I am not going on any fly fishing trip, and I am going to find a way to undo this wedding. Annulment. Yeah that’s what they do when a marriage hasn’t been consummated. So we’ll get an annulment. Here’s the rings back.”

“Sorry, sweetheart. It’s been consummated, he said with a wide grin. In fact you said you hoped we’d made a baby, and I told mom she was likely going to be a grandma already. You really don’t remember last night? You made me a happy man, darling. And that cute little butterfly…”

Hose Cuervo, I hate you.

“Sorry Rod. I am going in to pop a couple of Tylenol, take a shower and go home. I mean home. All the way home to my mother, so I can let her yell at me and tell me how stupid I am and that there are plenty of young farmers around, and why would I go off and marry some fly fisherman from Rankin Inlet…”

“Too late. I found her number in your wallet. She is ecstatic, her and the church ladies are already planning a reception for us when we get back from our honeymoon. She’s even got a date lined up for Al. She’s quite the lady, darling. Come here. Give us a kiss, Mrs. Rod Pike.”

Yes, God. Please kill me now. Right now. Stat. Immediately…


  1. Audrey

    Well done, Gloria! I always love your stories and this one is no exception. Characters are so very real. Thank God the story is fiction though. 🙂

  2. dianne

    Fabulous! It rolled right along, and I, cliche but true, laughed out loud. I actually thought the title was, “Just how drunk were you?” – which lured me in. Now, what does that say??

  3. Gloria Jean Hansen

    Thanks Audrey and Dianne—I had fun with this one–it was a writing group assignment that morphed into a real story. And it could be true. I once cast my fishing line off my front porch and caught a passing garbage truck—margaritas involved there too. . .

  4. Connie Cook

    Hi Gloria, hope this message catches up with you. Many thanks for your kind comments on my recent submission. I’m also a nurse, and I think that gives us a different slant on things. In some cases, it can be a bit of gallows humour, laughing where others would not, or having to maintain a detached persona during a crisis . It’s part and parcel of who we are and the jobs we do. Thank you, and if you could pass the margarita, I’d be happy to imbibe.
    In the meantime, “Write On!”

  5. Gloria Jean Hansen

    It did and we will share my last margarita — one of us will get a story out of it!

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