We love our fishing life. We really do. Much like anybody else, our industry has it’s challenges. When we are in the midst of a challenge, often times the person I’d like most to commiserate with is 100 miles or so offshore. Or working during the hours that sane people sleep, and then still working when we are awake.
So, of utmost importance to any Fisherman’s Wife is another seasoned Fisherman’s Wife with which she can talk fish scale encrusted washing machines, patchy Sat phone service, and the joys/terrors/difficulties/guilty pleasures of handling everything (and I do mean every.single.dang.thing.) on the beach (home, kids, business stuff, political stuff, parts ordering, crew hiring/firing, ice procuring, slip locating, trucking/unloading, BILLS and lots of them, kids, kids, and well, more kids) all by ourselves, while our guys are out fishing.
It sounds like I’m fussing. And maybe a tiny bit, I am. But really, I say this more in just an informative, factual way. We (the entire Commercial Fishing Industry) are pretty misunderstood and sadly very poorly represented. Nearly always, in the media soaked world, we are totally misrepresented. It gets on one’s nerves a bit. Especially when that stuff threatens your livelihood… but that’s a subject for another time.
So, when you find that one sweet lady… who doesn’t even blink with the nonsense and gets all of it, ahhhh…. it’s like sweet relief.
Here’s an example: If I told most people that all of my kids and our dog end up in my bed most everynight…. and that means we end up with 3 1/2 empty beds in our house, while I wiggle and toss around into whatever empty spot I can find, they might have some logical advise for me that would indicate that I should train my little ones to, maybe, sleep in their own beds. But, a loyal, understanding, been-there-myself Fisherman’s Wife would instead refill my coffee mug and tell me about how I shouldn’t feel badly, and the she and her kids often make ‘nests’ on the living room floor, leaving all of their beds empty, so they will all be in the same room when their Daddy calls between sets, the only time Sat comm seems reliable, even though it’s 4 am. Thank God for empathy.
So here’s something that will help me out: If sometime, you see my kids at Costco, and they are all wearing their Xtra Tuffs (even with their shorts), smelling faintly of fish, and might or might not be using a swear word or two (they have been raised on the docks afterall) while we are buying what looks like end-of-times-bunker-filling amounts of ‘provisions’, do me a solid and wave sweetly and just keep walking. Please, I beg you. Don’t look at our cart like we are insane for purchasing $800 worth of batteries and food for a month for 10 ten people. Please don’t notice the fish scales on the cuffs of my pants and that my little girl is wearing boys pants (kinda dirty looking ones) and one glove. They are her ‘Daddy pants’ that she wears when she’s going to the boat. She’s proud of them. And of her Daddy. And, if you happen to be on your way in from a late night out and you see us all heading out, to unload all of this stuff at 1 in the morning…. please don’t comment on how my kids should be in bed. It might be the only time and place, in a long 30 day span that they see their Dad’s face. Even if it’s just to load on provisions and help off load the catch and then go back to our communal bed while we listen for those scratchy Sat phone calls letting us know all is well.
Yes, that would be awesome. Just wave and smile. And, the next time you sit down to a lovely meal of fresh fish, please remember where it came from and the person who worked to bring it in, and the cost of it all. Our family loves this life. It’s our pleasure.