Commercial Fishing Mom used to be called Highliners and Homecomings. The following is a description, originally posted nearly seven years ago, of why I created the blog and chose Highliners and Homecomings as its name.
Why Highliners and Homecomings?
I chose the name because to me, both words represent the best and most significant elements of the commercial fishing lifestyle.
The traditional and purest definition of the word Highliner—the one we in the industry are most familiar with—is the same as the one written on the back of William McCloskey’s novel, Highliners—The Classic Novel About the Commercial Fishermen of Alaska.
It reads, “Highliners is the commercial fishermen’s term for their own elite, the skippers and crews who bring in the biggest hauls.”
For the purpose of this blog, I have expanded the definition, similar to the way National Fisherman magazine did in the December 2001 Fish Expo issue, in which they recognized the commitment, action, and results of three fishermen in the industry.
“Being a Highliner is as much about who you are as it is what you do,” the lead-in to the article reads.
It’s my feeling that any fisherman who goes out to sea on a clean, safe, and drug-free boat, who takes pride in his operation and maintains a solid crew, is a Highliner. The captains and crews that steam proudly out to sea, dump their pots or set their nets, and return to the harbor and their families day after day, month after month, season after season, year after year, are all Highliners to me.
I’d expand the definition even further by applying the term to those of us who support our fishermen and our commercial fishing lifestyle from shore. If I wore a hat, I would tip it to the family members (Mom—this means you) who maintain a clean, loving, and safe home for the children they care for alone during the seasons, who hope and pray for their loved ones at sea, and who simply do their best to keep plugging along until the anticipated Homecoming—we too are Highliners.
As for my selection of the term Homecoming, what is there to explain?
We all know how exciting that day is—the day your boyfriend flies in to SeaTac from Dutch Harbor after months at sea, and you stand waiting for him in the seating area of the airport. You watch as he steps into the corridor, smiling to yourself at the way his eyes scan the room, searching for you. Maybe he will have had a fresh haircut at the Anchorage airport on the layover between flights, or maybe he will be in need of a shave and a shower—rugged, the way you prefer.
Or how about the way you, as a 10-year-old, struggle to get through a day of 5th grade in the early 1980s because you know that when you arrive home from school that day, Daddy and his boat will be back from Alaska, and there will be laughter and popcorn to enjoy that night?
A successful Homecoming—the most blessed part of the commercial fishing life and the one you pray for. The one you never take for granted. You know well that there are so many families who do not have a homecoming to anticipate. Families who cry instead of celebrate, because their fishermen won’t be coming home from the Bering Sea or the waters of Southeast Alaska.
I chose the title Highliners and Homecomings for my blog as a tribute to all of us who manage to live within the commercial fishing way of life with strength and joy.