My Birthday

Paul is thinking of commercial fishing this summer in Alaska. Decent-wage jobs in Oregon are hard to find. On Thursday, I picked the kids up from school and traveled to see my parents in Kelso, Wa. On Friday, I traveled with Paul to Astoria to meet his commercial fishing skipper. Apparently, if you’re going to spend over a month on a 32-ft boat with someone, you want to take the time to know what you’re getting into and who you’re going to be with.

The connection was also a fisher poet and was attending an annual Fisher Poet Gathering over the weekend. I thought it sounded like a good story and asked for an interview. He agreed.

We went to meet a connection, we left as friends. I don’t think Paul could find a nicer skipper. And his wife spoke with us at length as well. As a character in an Anne of Green Gable’s book said, “They’re from the race of Joseph!” which means — kindred spirits.

The poetry gathering was fascinating. Fisherman write, read aloud, publish, memorize, recite, compose, sing, perform and share their hearts in a multitude of ways. I guess all that lonesome time on the water gives you a rarer commodity these days than fish — and that’s time to think. Though I know that commercial boats are busy, sometimes even frantic, the poets at the gathering showed that there must be time to pause, reflect, and create. In the midst of the frenetic gathering of fishes, there must be forced quiet, informal sabbaths to its rhythms.

I wished I wasn’t so exhausted and stressed about everything. I felt divided between my parents taking care of the kids at home, spending time with my parents, and wanting to enjoy the activities. We stayed until 8 and then made the hour drive home. I wished I could have seen more performances on Saturday, but my family was eager to celebrate my birthday, and I was eager for the celebrating.

Saturday was spent selfishly. I slept in. My mother made me breakfast. I did none of the cleaning up, but read an article instead. Went with her to take the kids bowling. Paid for none of that. Cheered the kids on and kissed and patted them between turns. Came back. Ate lunch which I did not fix. Opened a variety of cute additions to my wardrobe. Avoided cleaning again and instead went upstairs for a nap. Went shopping with my mom and met my sister. They added much more to my wardrobe. They picked up the tab for my dinner. Arrived home to just tuck the kids in bed. Played ping pong with the family. Chatted til 2 a.m. and slept in again on Sunday.

In other words, I reverted back to my entitled, spoiled, teenage self — 20-some years prior.

Perfect, really. Could anyone ask for a better day?

I am blessed. Health, family, friends, food, and prospects of possibilities in the future.


1 Comment

  1. I’m glad you had a wonderful birthday, I wish I were there to spend it with you. I want to take you to lunch soon for your birthday with no distractions, just you and me, and little Bo (Who will distract terribly, but it’s his job). I really want to catch up, it seems like it’s been forever. Love you…


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