The part about a “fishing family” operation I like the most is the part about “family.”
I don’t just mean my father and mother, my sisters, my aunt and uncle, my grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and second cousins, husband and children.
I also mean crew.
If you’re lucky like we have been, from the time my dad owned and operated our boat until the time my husband has owned and operated our boat, our crew has been more than crew. They are family. The crew has been made up of different men, but no matter who they were and when, they’ve been like family and operated like a family does in times of joy and crisis.
If you’ve been a reader of this blog the past seven years, you know how much our present crew means to me personally. Not one of these guys is new. I met Bryan the same day I met George, thirteen years ago at Fred Wahl Marine Construction. Bryan’s best friend, Brett, came on board when my seven-year-old Eva was only nine months old. Bryan’s brother, Johnny, has been with us at least four years.
We are connected by years, friendship, family, love, laughs, and loyalty. How many dinners, pizza parties, Fish Expos, weddings, births, departures, homecomings, and nights out have we celebrated together? Countless.
We aren’t a big fishing operation in which thirty men work processing fish for months on end and nobody knows or cares much about anybody. On the contrary, we know and care much about each other and our families. When someone is expecting a baby, we rejoice. When someone’s marriage is rocky, we see it through with love and encouragement. When someone hurts, we all hurt. When someone’s demons wreak havoc, we cross fingers and hope for the best.
At the beginning of this latest crab season, as I watched the boat glide out of the harbor, I wrote that I shed tears because one just never knows whether everyone on board will return. People can die, people can quit, people can be fired. Anything can happen. Today, I shed tears because not each member of our “family” will return from this crab season. (Note: nobody has died, been fired or injured, and that is the most important thing.)
This is my family, our family. Our fishing family. And when one member hurts, we all hurt. Bad.
But like you’d expect and hope from family, we rally. We rally with love, and support, and encouragement, and hope….for all in the family.
This is, in part, what “fishing family” means to me.