Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Her Own Words

In Her Own Words: Gail wrote these words recently on yellow paper. I found them on her work table the day before her memorial service and chose to read them at the close of the remembrances section of the service.

It was a pleasant late spring day, warm and a little cloudy. It was a perfect day for fishing, but then I tend to think all days are perfect for fishing. I got to my favorite stream early. I love the anticipation of fishing. As I got into my waders and vest, I was planning which order to use my favorite flies. I grabbed my lunch and fly rod and got ready for the short hike to my favorite spot. There were no other vehicles so I knew I was ahead of the other anglers and could have my choice of spots.

Heading down to the lower part of the stream I kept an eye out for any animal activity or hunting birds. I’ve seen just about every kind of animal along streams and ponds. My favorite is the eagle or osprey diving for fish. They come from out of nowhere and I must admit their success is a bit better than mine. Before wading into the brook, I scan the water for any hatching insects. I also turn over a few rocks to see what larva might be crawling around lurking in the dark places.

I was savoring the quietness and solitary of the day. As a woman angler I meet a lot of people. Everyone wants to stop by and chat. I often am the recipient of much unsolicited advice from well-meaning men. (margin note: guys impressing me with misinformation) This year I passed my Maine Guide’s test on the first try for fishing and recreation. It’s funny, now that I have a patch on my vest and truck, I’m receiving another kind of attention. Now men come running over asking where to fish, what fly to use, where are the holding areas, is there access further down. There are plenty of opportunities to guide for free and now my opinions are suddenly very important.

Back to fishing. I could fish every day from dawn to dusk and beyond. There’s no end to the variables which can cause success or failure, and also no end to what can be blamed for an unsuccessful day.

These words are from her application to teach fly fsihing for the L. L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Program:

I am an avid fly fisherman. My husband taught me how to fly fish seven years ago and it is my opinion that you can’t fish too much nor can you catch too many fish....I actually got married on Opening Day (that’s right, April 1st); I wanted an anniversary I could remember. In my other life, I was reference librarian and believe me, fly fishing is a lot more fun.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

sent to me by Robyn to share...

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, t heir
conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams d on't
have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way
to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN! .... When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer,
smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and
Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to
correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your

TWENTY- ONE. Spend some time alone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Words From Gail's Memorial Service--Dad's Words

I am here today along with Mom, Gail's Mom, to express our love and to tell Gail how much she has enriched us in so many ways.

Gail grew up here in Litchfield, attended the local schools, graduated from Monmouth Academy and then went on to the University of Maine graduating in 1972. Then she earned a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky.

The onset of Gail's life was pretty much chaped by her mom. I was working two jobs so Mom had to take over on many occasions.

Gail's talents went in different directions than her two sisters, Anne and Barbie. In the world of music, Gail couldn't carry a tune and this is where she fell right in line with Dad--he couldn't either. My mother-in-law used to tell me in church "Gene, Just stand up and we'll do the singing." So that's what Gail and I used to do--just stand up and listen.

During the girls' youth, with no boys in the family, Dad boiught bats, balls, footballs, gloves, skates, hockey sticks, etc. And Gail stood out in these sports. She could run, throw, and kick better than any of us. She could throw a football with a beautiful spiral at least 30 yards and beyond sometimes.

Gail could handle all of the carpenter tools in her tool box as well as power tools and create works of art with them. She could also weild a paintbrush and produce that finishing touch.

Later she became an expert at fly fishing, using her talents in tying her own flies.

Gail had a great sense of humor and loved to express it herself with her friends. For instance, while home from college she wanted something different for her dorm room. She found this old flush on the farm, painted it pink, and then went back to school with this bright colored flush. It became a focal point for her room. All her friends would line up to sit on her throne.

Another time Gail wanted to make some root beer. With all the ingredients in hand she produced one dozen bottles and after capping them--and a working time--the bottles began to EXPLODE--4 bottles remain from the explosions some 35 years ago. They still are on a shelf in the basement. I wonder what the root beer would taste like now?!

I would like to make a recommendation to God. If you are looking for a third baseman with great hands, a pitcher with great control, a quarterback with a great spiral, and a point guard that can shoot, Gail is your best bet. By the way, she is pretty good at fixing things too.

I will say good-bye till we meet again on the other side. In closing, this prayer is what we would say together at bedtime:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God bless us all.

Messages from Friends

"We are all given terrible
trials sometimes, things
that we think will break our spirit and kill us, and they make us
stronger in
the end. They seem like the cruelest blows, but in a funny way they are
compliments from God. If He didn't love you and believe in you, He
give you challenges like this. They're opportunities for grace.
You'll be stronger from this. This is God's way of telling you that He
loves you and believes in you. It's a compliment from Him to you."

A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls,
career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the
country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack
had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his
wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, 'Mr. Belser died last night. The
funeral is Wednesday.' Memories flashed through his mind like an old
newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

'Jack, did you hear me?'

'Oh, sorry, Mom Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him.
I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,' Jack said.

'Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were
doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the
fence' as he put it,' Mom told him.

'I loved that old house he lived in,' Jack said.

'You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure
you had a man's influence in your life,' she said

'He's the one who taught me carpentry,' he said. 'I wouldn't be in this
business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he
thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral,' Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his
hometown. Mr. Belzer's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children
of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see
the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over
into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly
as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of
furniture....Jack stopped suddenly.

'What's wrong, Jack?' his Mom asked.

'The box is gone,' he said

'What box?' Mom asked.

'There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must
have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was
'the thing I value most,'' Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it,
except for the box. He figured someone from the Belzer family had taken it.

'Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him,' Jack said. 'I better get
some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.'

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belzer died Returning home from work
one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. 'Signature required on a
package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next
three days,' the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and
looked like it had been mailed a hundred years a go. The handwriting was
difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. 'Mr. Harold
Belzer' it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the
package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook
as he read the note inside.

'Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.
It's the thing I valued most in my life.' A small key was taped to the
letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked
the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the
cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

'Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belzer.'

'The thing he valued most time'

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared
his appointments for the next two days. 'Why?' Janet , his assistant asked.

'I need some time to spend with my son,' he said.

'Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!'

'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments
that take our breath away,'

Think about this. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. At least 2 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like

4. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

5. You mean the world to someone

6. If not for you, someone may not be living.

7. You are special and unique.

8. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably
won't get it, but if you trust God to do what's best, and wait on His time,
sooner or later, you will get it or something better.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good can still come
from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you
most likely turned your back on the world.

11. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

12. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude

13 . Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better
when they know and you'll both be happy .

14. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gail Thompson Hulsey 1951-2008, My Sister

LITCHFIELD -- Gail Thompson Hulsey, "Queen O' Trout", age 57, of Oak Hill Road in Litchfield, died suddenly as the result of an accident in Belgrade on Friday afternoon. Gail was on her way back from camp after three days of fly fishing at her favorite spots. Gail was an avid outdoorswoman. Though she only began fly fishing in 2001, she rapidly became known by many for her ability to practice the art. Through practice and research, she evolved into one who could read water and determine which fly to use. This was proven by her ability to outfish anyone who was with her, constantly.

She was born in Gardiner, Jan. 16, 1951 the daughter of M. Eugene and Jean A. (Morris) Thompson.

She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Maine in Orono and her Masters in Library Science at the University of Kentucky.

Gail was a Registered Maine Guide. She was also on the staff at the L. L. Bean Fishing Store and an instructor at the L. L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School. She was to have instructed at the upcoming Casting for Recovery event. Recently, a new fly was created by Abbott Fishing Gifts and named "Gail's Glory" after her.

Gail approached everything she did in her life with great gusto and enthusiasm. She sought out new challenges as opportunities to learn new skills, including quilting, ballroom dancing, Feng Shui, and fly tying.

Gail was a perfect wife to Richard and mother to her son, Samuel 'Sam' M. Rothman of Litchfield and Kennebunk. She is also survived by her parents, Jean and Gene Thompson of Litchfield; two sisters, Anne Thompson of Litchfield and Barbara Thompson and husband Wayne of Lisbon; a nephew, Andrew Clemons of New York City; and by several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wed., July 16, 2008 at the Litchfield Plains Baptist Church, Plains Road, Litchfield with a reception following at Gail's home.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Casting for Recovery, a national non-profit, support and educational program that provides fly fishing retreats for women who have or have had breast cancer.

Donations may be sent to Casting for Recovery, P O Box 1123, Manchester, VT 05254 or electronically at

For Gail

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced with permission