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Jim must have thought I'd said something else, because he started laughing.
I saw the snowflakes first in the car headlights. It was late—about midnight—and we had just passed the highest elevation on Route 91, somewhere north of St. Johnsbury.
"Hey, Jim, look—it's snowing," I said.
He looked at me, and we talked for a while about Indian summers in New England. I told him we had a good one last year. Jim put his feet up on the dashboard and rested his chin on his knees.
"Think of it this way," I said. "This is the earliest we ever got rid of the fly rods. And don't forget about the weather. Wait'll you see tomorrow."
"Least we got a house," Jim said.
"They're ours for the taking," I told him. "Wonder what the limit is in Vermont?" That's one of our jokes. Catching the limit. We figure we'll worry about that the day we drive them crazy.
It was sleeting when we drove up to our farmhouse. Not to worry. To prepare ourselves for the next day's fishing, we staged one of our famous worm drills in the car headlights. Usually we do it out on the road, between streams. As I'm driving along we keep an eye out for a good pasture. When we see one with no bulls and no farmhouse nearby, I stop the car, we jump out, grab the spade from the trunk and dig in. That is, one guy digs. The other squats beside each clump, pulls back the lid of roots and dirt and tears away with his fingers.
Every now and then we look up and glance around, like deer at a water hole. Then on to the next spadeful. It's almost as much fun as fishing, and we've never been skunked.
I guess you're a bit lazier when you sleep between sheets. Next day Jim got up first, at about nine, saw it was pouring, told me everything was on schedule and went back to bed. That's another thing. We're not the kind of guys who have to hit the water at dawn.