I stood on top of the coffee table, arms stretched out, simulating what my six-year-old brain could comprehend of what it might be like to fly. Dad’s old Member’s Only leather jacket hung down to my knees and well past my finger tips, but I didn’t care. If the Rocketeer wore one, then I was going to dress the part too.
Remember that film? No? That’s okay, the Cliff Notes version is as follows: a small town fly boy during the 1930’s finds a rocket pack, fights off an underground society of Hollywood Nazis trying to take over the world, and he get’s to kiss Jennifer Connelly. Yea, I know. Epic, right? That movie had a profound effect on me as a kid. I didn’t know what a Nazi was, and most of the dialogue was far beyond my years, but of two things I was certain: The Rocketeer was a god among men, and he always got the girl in the end, deservedly so.
Yea, I was a regular Rocketeer in training…that is, until one day when my big brother spun a web of lies that brought my flight career to a fiery end. One day, and presumably for no good reason, my brother told me that the real Rocketeer died because he didn’t wash his hands and he “caught a germ.” Just like that my Rocketeer phase came to a screeching hault. The next phase that immediately followed, was what my family refers to as the “Washing Hands Phase.” For weeks on end, I opened doors with my elbows, threw away the pieces of sandwiches that my fingers touched, shook hands through shirt sleeves, and scrubbed my hands till they cracked and bled.
Big brothers can be real jerks.
Like most childhood things, the germophobe phase eventually fizzled out. Luckily, the next phase, which started only a year later, was the A River Runs Through It phase, and apparently I’m still in it. Many phases and trends have popped up along the course of my life—including that weird one in the late 90s where I wore ball-bearing necklaces and those horrible jeans that looked like grungy bellbottoms for skaters—but the fly fishing phase has always been there as a source of stability in life, no matter how shaky or grungy things got.
Times are weird right now. Nobody knows what this Coronavirus means for us as a society or where we go from here, but one thing is for certain; we always have the water. Bugs will hatch, fish will rise, and we will continue to do what we love. The Hatch will continue to do what we can to provide the best advice, gear, and sense of community that we can; albeit in a modified version of it’s former self. We’re not quite sure when we will be able to all get together for a cold one and a fly tying night again, but rest assured, we’re working on it. We are also doing our best to sanitize the store and maintain social distancing measures, so don’t be offended by our exchange of pounds for handshakes, and if we ask that you hang outside for a bit while we try to limit the shop to 6 customers or less. It’s just a part of the new normal—for now. Life has taught me that all phases pass.
I haven’t seen the film The Rocketeer in over 15 years, but it’s sudden appearance on the new Netflix lineup means that I’ll probably remedy that pretty soon. Meantime, if you swing by the shop and notice a guy behind the counter in a sweet, Member’s Only leather jacket, please know that it’s just a phase. – Seth Fields