Traditions & Connection

As seen in our July 27, 2023 Newsletter – Subscribe Here

In and of itself, Guys Fishing Weekend (GFW) is a tradition. In my world, it ranks in the top two. I’m not sure anything beats the Xmas Holidays with my family, but GFW is not far behind. And one of the best parts about GFW are the traditions that have developed over the course of 25+ years with friends I love.

Fishing, for obvious reasons, is the main focal point of the trip. It is the “action” for us to do for the days we spend together. It provides a reason for us to get together each year; however, the time spent with others while fishing is another reason we continue.

As men, we have been expected to “be men” in the classic sense, and we were in the early years of this trip. But it has morphed over time to become a more sacred event; our treatment of each other too has changed.

Of course we still continue with the always “sure to provide a chuckle” mom jokes and the mandatory ribbing when someone does something stupid, but there are also expressions of our love for each other… hugging each other and muttering “I love you” in their ear when we say hello and goodbye, attentive ears while catching up that first day we all meet up, and the time outs of fishing time to sit on the bank for a real life problem/solution session with the closest guy to you on the river.

These little moments become so valuable that they act as mini traditions in the same way you look forward to any other tradition in your life… you can’t wait for those moments to happen because they make the weekend so awesome.

Poker is another tradition that is a mainstay at GFW. This is the time that brings us the most opportunity to partake in unadulterated immature stupidity and laughter. The jokes, the stories, the reminiscing, the language, the music and the card games give us a platform to say and do anything that so moves us.

“Safe Space” isn’t even enough to describe it. It is a “Sacred Space” which is probably why we don’t let just anybody come with us. No one wants to feel guarded during this time.

Part of the joy of GFW is that we don’t have to be politically correct or any kind of socially correct. We don’t have to hold back our thinking in any way, and – thankfully – we don’t all see things the same way! We differ on our thinking about politics, social issues, money, parenting, and most other stuff. Despite all of our differences, we have created a Sacred Space of respect where we discuss and talk, sometimes heatedly, and listen to each other. And no matter how any discussions go, the poker table at the end of the day becomes our haven for good old fashion childish high jinx!!

Eating has been a staple on GFW from the start. Our cook, Joe, has a rich history of preparing food. With his roots in the restaurant industry, Joe can chef it up! His meals aren’t always the most healthy, and as we age, a couple of us are desperately trying to change our eating habits; Joe has been graciously accommodating. The tradition has always been to wake up, drink a few pots of coffee while coming to life, while Joe cooks a huge breakfast.

This is one of my favorite times.

The conversations provide meaningful connection among us. This presents the best opportunities for me to gain insight from these guys and learn from them. This is where the richness of the weekend comes. There always seems to be good energy and anticipation of what is to come. Cooking a huge breakfast for six guys takes time. All of us understand this, so no one seems to be in a hurry. We for sure miss out on some good fishing time in the early morning hours, but no one seems to care because this time gives the weekend soul.

Dinner is a little different. It usually happens after dark, which in Colorado is no earlier than 9:00 pm. Often, we are still on the river at 9 casting blind, trying to catch that last fish we can only hear. #Epic! However, dinner is usually a bit more quiet because we are all so tired from a long ass day in the heat, hiking the banks, and navigating the rivers slippery rocks and terrain. It’s exhausting.

I found it much easier in the “younger” phase of my life.

Like breakfast, dinner time also takes a while. So, this has become a time of unwinding and preparing for cards. Showers get done, beers and cocktails get made, services are offered to help Joe in the kitchen, and of course we reminisce of the day’s activities. It is the time of the day to catch our second wind. For me, this gets harder and harder every year. I find it more and more difficult to find that second gear, or third gear really. I won’t lie, I’m the first one to crap out and go to bed…every night, every year.

These traditions provide structure to the weekend. There are others, but these are the non-negotiables. Because of the value in these traditions, they are the staples. They continue to define our weekend and give us the best opportunity to connect with each other. The shared moments during these traditional times provide each of us the staying power and commitment to friendship.

And it is this connection that is the absolute best part of GFW.

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