Andrew finally was in a position to spend the night at the cabin. He works two full time jobs. So there’s rarely a day off. If he didn’t have to sleep, he’d have 3 full time jobs. That’s what opportunity in Alaska means for an immigrant. He saw his father murdered by rebels in front of him, and instantly became the head of his household at the age of 14. He and his family somehow survived on the streets of Freetown. He managed to get himself through college there, became a teacher, and when he was drawn for the diversity visa, came to America. After a year in Virginia he came to Juneau as he had fellow countrymen here. So much work and opportunity here. He said he’ll never leave.
His daughter at first yearned for more people she thought were more like her. But after a few years of awkwardness, she’s become an Alaskan, too. She’s on the deans list at the University here, and works two jobs in the summer, just like her dad. The place is growing on her.
The son is 10 but mature in language and awareness. My job in life is to keep him off the couch and away from the tv and video games. It’s a struggle. Sure, I watched Leave it to Beaver everyday after school, but we spent much of our childhood outside. He’s not unlike his classmates. I volunteered to be the assistant scout master for Boy Scouts when he and his buddies graduated from cub scouts to boy scouts. Like his peers, once they are in the outdoors, they thrive in making fun where they find it. We’ve been fishing the past two weeks for scout meetings, but the darkness is setting in now and soon that won’t be an option.
Back to the cabin. Andrew got off work at 5 on Friday and didn’t have to be to work till noon on Saturday. I got off my second job captaining a whale watch boat about the same time, and by a little after 6, Andrew and Sam were here and we loaded up the boat and off to the cabin. We pulled the crab pot but nothing there this time. Then motored to our haul out line, where we tied up the boat, pulled it out to deeper water on the haul out line, and headed in to our cabin.
Andrew and his kids had both been there once on an afternoon fishing trip a year or two ago, but only Sam had stayed overnight on another trip. This was Andrew’s first time to be able to stay over. They settled in as I got a fire going in the woodstove. Sam brought a pizza from Bullwinkles, and we ate it at our leisure. I tuned the Mariners game in on the radio, and Sam and Andrew found the deck of cards and were soon playing cards with each other as I listened to the game in my rocking chair. The two get along famously, and it was nice to see a father and son just enjoying each other’s company like Ron and his boys did on the same couches with the same cards.
We went to bed early. Andrew slept on the bottom bunk and Samuel in his top bunk, as I took the couch downstairs. I was up before daylight and got some coffee and pancakes on. Andrew said he’s not slept so soundly in so long he couldn’t remember. Samuel eventually drug himself downstairs and ate a pancake. Then we were off to fish for a few hours.
We fished near Douglas at Pt Hilda for several hours and not a bite. I used the red flasher and favorite yellow with red hootchie but no luck. As 830 came and our leave time of 9 approached, I changed one line to just a green and yellow Canadian wonder trolling spoon on one of the poles. Then it happened. Fish on. I grabbed the rod, and handed it to Samuel while I pulled in the other lines. I got the net from it’s holder and handed it to Andrew. Samuel played the fish in and Andrew netted it and it was another big coho. They are really big this year. We put the gear back out and not long after got another on the same spoon and rod. This time Andrew grabbed the rod and played the fish while I pulled in the other gear. Samuel was on the net. Several times Andrew brought the fish over the net Samuel had in the water, but Samuel did not lift the net in time. Both Andrew and I harassed Samuel not to lose the fish! Finally, the fish was over the net and Samuel brought the net up and we had our second fish in the boat – another beauty.
As 9 o’clock struck, Samuel announced we were to go as that was the plan. Despite catching fish, Sam always seems in a hurry to get home and to his electronics, I suspect. I told Samuel that you get 15 minutes of overtime like soccer when you catch a fish. Every African kid knows about soccer overtime. As 915 came and went, Sam again said it was time to leave, I told him the overtime was for EACH fish, so 15 minutes more. He played along. I cleaned our two fish as we continued fishing but we got no more. We headed to the dock, and each of us took a fish home.
I sectioned my fish, dredged it in salt and sugar, rinsed it off after 40 minutes, then put the fish in the smoker and turned the fan on to dry the fish. The next day, I put the hot plate in the smoker, and put some alder chips on the hot plate for a little smoke. This morning before work I pulled the smoked salmon, now with a nice pellicle, from the smoker, cut it up, and put it in a bowl in the fridge. I loaded the jars with the fish for canning after work tonight, and just pulled 14 half pints from the canner, as I reflected on the fish in the jars and how they got to be there.