He came from Luxembourg to fish. Me, I arrived from Brooklyn to do the same thing.  He had the mug of a guy who knew how to have fun. His eyes sparkled and the wild mop of white hair had the scent of an old anarchist and a happy citizen who harbored only contempt for people who sold combs. Naturally, between anarchists, we hit it off.

“You know” he started “until a few years ago I had a marvelous fishing companion. He was my father-in-law and he lived beside a river at the frontier between Germany and Luxembourg. When he went to meet his maker, I found myself virtually orphaned. No-one to listen to my fishing stories. And as you well know, fishing stories… are all great stories! My wife could care less about my fishing tales. What misery!”

“I know what you’re talking about, it brings tears to my eyes. Listen, if you have two minutes, this reminds me of a curious little story that happened last spring.

I was at the river, like every day, when I suddenly realized that I had really abused my neighbor’s cherry tree the night before.  Every year it’s the same thing. Autumn arrives and I keep saying to myself: “You poor jerk, another year passes and you didn’t eat enough cherries, not enough strawberries, nor apricots or peaches etc. I”m like that… weak. Those beautiful Ardeche fruits, I could eat them until I bust.

Excess, unfortunately, is my weak point and I pay for it! On that particular day I had to stop fishing pronto and get myself to the nearest bush to evacuate my bowels. Here’s the thing, I was fully concentrated on my task, crouched behind the bush when I hear a voice: “Ah! Good lord, here’s another parishioner like me, who ate too many cherries!”

Straightening up a little I could see behind another bush a few yards away, the head of a guy who was clearly engaged in the same occupation that I was.

In order to render the moment more convivial we engaged in conversation.

“Are you a fisherman?”

“Well, I try! You too?”

“Me too. What kind of fishing?”


“Fly-fishing? Ah, I would really like to try that, but it seems that it’s an Art. I would need someone to teach me, but at my age…!”

At that moment we heard a voice from another bush.

“Me too, the cherries…! God, the cherries, they are so good this year. It’s impossible to stop … anyway, if you want help learning to fly-fish, I would gladly teach you the rudiments…”

And the conversation, worthy of Rabelais, lasted for a marvelous moment and was accompanied by sumptuous, savage farts and a profusion of intestinal music that our dear departed Stravinsky would surely envy.

“Well then, my Luxembourgeois friend, what do you say to that? C’mon, rest assured that good fishing stories are there, crouch down a little and you can gather them up with a shovel… like the cherries on my neighbor’s tree; as for friends to listen to them, you’ll find one behind every bush.”