Reprieve – after the frost melted and we had two days of sunny, 70 degree kind of weather, all the plants recovered. But this coming week I get to try out the new cover scheme in earnest. Supposed to have three straight freezing nights but there’s nothing in the garden that is not fairly well hardened at this point. My only concern at this point is trying to get the covers on tonight. The wind is absolutely howling and trying to handle a 30′ x 50′ cover in the wind is really a challenge. I’m hoping that it lays down before dark so we have a fighting chance.

We had a nice Christmas at Tom’s house. As usual the food was good with a smoked prime rib being the crowning achievement of the smoker to date. It was a beautiful day and we were a able to eat out in the screened porch. And Tina put together a very impressive spread of cookies with a coconut encrusted, lime flavored morsel that hooked me – and I’m decidedly not a cookie or sweets person. Or maybe it was the cranberry pistachio beauties. I liked the texture of those more but the flavor of the coconut/lime was killer. I wanted to be sure so I ate enough of both to confirm that it was a dead tie.

I was extra surprised to unwrap a dream surf reel compliments of the Lake Mary Carbones. Since I was a fairly young guy, the ultimate salt water reels were made by a company call Fin Nor. Originally they were machined from solid blocks of aluminum or magnesium or some exotic material with each gear and part hand crafted. Aside from ultra smooth operation, they were famous for the stability of the drag system which means you could hang a very large fish that spooled off lots of line and the drag pressure would remain constant no matter how long the run. Most drags heat up, then tighten, then snaaaapppppp. When Tom and I visited the Outer Banks a few months back, I spotted one on sale at a tackle shop we visited but even though it was the best price I had ever seen, I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on something that I didn’t really need. When I got home I told Nancy that I screwed up and should have gotten it. So I was blown away to unwrap a present and find the Ahab 8. I need to fill it with a line commensurate with the reel and this is more than likely going to cost me a new rod. I have plenty of rods but …………. you just can’t put this reel on any old rod. I think everybody else got plenty of stuff too but I wasn’t paying all that much attention after the Fin Nor hit the air.

The other thing I really enjoyed was having the now grown up grandkids around for a few days. I can carry on adult level, interesting conversations with them and just relish watching their personalities mature as they diverge into their own areas of interest and expertise. I loved teaching them things when they were little but now love learning from them and being able to kid with them as emerging adults. They all have a nice sense of humor so we can work on each other in a playful fashion.

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