The spring semester finished up last week and therefore, I decided to pick up an extra day at the physical therapy clinic. This new schedule meant that after my normal 7 to 3:30 Friday shift, I needed a nap. I woke around 5:30 and began packing for the weekend spent in Culpeper. This just happened to be one of the rare weekends where I planned nothing. Sometimes, the best weekends occur as a result of spontaneous decisions. I hoped for this outcome. I spent Friday night at my girlfriends. We went to town for some ice cream and returned to watch Once Upon a Time. I F****** love that show! I rarely watch television, I don’t own one, and if I watch anything, it usually involves soccer on a Saturday morning. Exception: Once Upon a Time. After a little tube viewing we soon drifted off to sleep.
–Mr. Rapidan Dry: One of the flies I picked up at the shop
I rose Saturday morning around 8 AM (its nice to sleep in on the weekends). I fed the chickens and made breakfast. Eggs and bacon with some O.J. create energy for the entire day. The night before, I brought up the idea to my girlfriend of traveling to Edinburg, VA. Now, only one reason exist for someone to travel to Edinburg. A town with hardly more than a post office, a restaurant, a pharmacy, and yes, a fly fishing shop. In case you missed it, the latter location is why anyone in their in their right mind would visit this place. This fly shop is special, because of the owner. Harry Murray owns and operates Murray’s Fly Shop which, opened in 1962. If you believe you love fly fishing in mountain streams, you must visit this fishing haven. Mr. Murray’s fishing knowledge on the surrounding waters truly seems second to none. Honestly, I lack the ability to explain how awesome this guy is.
Anyhow, she agreed and after breakfast we began our roughly ninety minute journey. We arrived and I refrained from screaming in excitement. I felt like a little girl at a Backstreet Boys’ concert in the nineties. I walked around the shop – which shares space with the pharmacy – with my girlfriend. I wanted to get some sort of a sovereign; a shirt, a hat, something I could wear all the time. The shop appear empty other than a lady behind the counter asking if we needed any help. I thought to myself, with a little wind taken out of the sails, that we missed Mr. Murray. He probably traveled to some place to give lessons, or a speech. Then my girlfriend asked to lady a question to which the lady replied, “I’m not sure, let me get Mr. Murray”. I immediately became existed again. I don’t think I showed it, but man, my inner smile shined bright. The old man (no, really, he’s like 80) came out and spoke to my girlfriend. I gained his attention, asked about what flies to use, and he started spitting off information and giving suggestions so fast that I struggled to keep up. After listing ten or so patterns to use for different locations, he stepped back into his office, out of sight. While I gave my full attention to Mr. Murray, my girlfriend told the lady I possessed a man-crush for Mr. Murray. The lady replied with something along the lines of, “Yeah, people come from all around to talk to him, get his autograph, or even paint his picture. But to me, he’s just Mr. Murray”. Awesome! this guy knows so much and so many people respect him, yet he treats everyone the same. I get the feeling that if the Jesus himself walked in and asked about flies, Mr. Murray would give the same response to the Son of God that he gave to me. He came back out of the office asking the lady about some email he received from an individual in the Netherlands who wanted some fishing advice. A guy from all the way across the pond wants advice from a guy who lives in Edinburg, VA. I wonder how many emails Mr. Murray gets a day? I bet he answers all of them, even the simple ignorant ones. When we left, he simply said, “Thanks for stopping in” and walked back into his office.
–Little Yellow Sally: another one
I left without a shirt or hat, because I spent too much on flies. However, I purchased a sticker, which reads MFS in black letters with a white background similar to the OBX stickers everyone slaps on their vehicles. If I see one of the MFS stickers in the future, I know I found a friend.
We drove a short distance North of Edinburg to the town of Woodstock where antique stores abound. Now, I hate antique stores with as much passions as I love fly fishing. However, my girlfriend really likes them. Huh! I spent the next two ours trying to enjoy myself and think happy thoughts about the wonderful experience at Murray’s Fly Shop. This lasted longer than usual, but by the third antique shop I felt like giving up and pulling the trigger.
We finished up the dreaded shopping and made our way to Joe’s Steakhouse. One lady in the last antique store we visited recommended Joe’s. I thought of heading to the Tavern, the name of which escapes me. However, the antique lady insisted, “it was nothing more than a redneck bar”. I thought that sounded nice. Oh well; next time. Joe’s turned out fine. The weather stayed warm enough to sit outside, the wine quenched out thirst, and the food actually tasted great.
We traveled back, picked up some cider and called it a night. Although antiquing took place, I considered it a success. I really enjoyed meeting speaking with Mr. Murray as well.