Twenty two or so years ago, I was at a meeting for the Juneau Economic Development Council, I think. I can’t remember what the meeting was about. I was working for the McDowell Group. Meilani Clark was sitting next to me, and I can’t remember who she was working for. We struck up a conversation, and I told her Eric had helped me find a troller, and I was commercial fishing for salmon. She grew up in Juneau, and asked me why can’t she buy fresh fish off the boat in this town? And that was the start of the Alaska Wild Salmon Company, and we’re still selling fish.
I probably knew more than most rookie fishermen here about the legalities of selling my own fish, having just quit from the Dept of Fish and Game at the time as the troll fishery manager. I had a lot more to learn about taking care of fish and marketing fish. That was two decades ago.
I was in Amsterdam, and half way home from Madagascar. I’ve been on a USAID Farmer to Farmer program assignment, working with the small boat fishermen in Madagascar on fish quality and marketing.
As I sat at my gate, waiting for the plane to Seattle, a guy walks by. I know him! I think. Then he’s gone around the corner before it registers, and he’s gone. Then it does register. That’s Melani’s husband, I think – and if I remember right, he’s Dutch, so that makes sense he’d be here.
A forty-ish year old asks to take the seat next to me. He’s from Oregon, been working in Europe for 15 years, and is heading home for good this year. I asked him about his time in Europe, and he says it was good, but he saw that the people he’d worked with weren’t very aggressive at getting more business or being the best. They were happy with where they were at, and while he didn’t disparage them for that, he wanted something more. I told him about seeing someone from Juneau, and when I looked up as the time got close for boarding, I spotted Juneau man.
As soon as I asked him if he was from Juneau, my face registered to him, but I was not in the right place. I told him the story above, which I’ve probably told him before, and we chatted for a good while about his meeting Meilani in Laos backpacking, and their early life spent in the Netherlands before settling in Juneau.
The last 16 hours or so of the trip from Amsterdam went by surprisingly quick. I first watched the longest movie on my seat screen – Schindler’s List – which I’d never seen before (yeah, I don’t get out much). I thought I sort of knew the plot, but realized I didn’t after watching the movie. A good choice. Then I watched documentaries on NXIVM (again, never heard of it, as I don’t get out much, like I said) and one on Bo Jackson (which, of course I do know, as he’s still one of my favorite athletes of all time, both for beating Alabama while at Auburn, and for being so humble. And, I guess, because he’s a fun guy from rural Alabama like Charles Barkley).
In Seatlle, all was normal again. My Alaska Air flight was to leave from Gate C18, so I got over there after clearing customs. When time got closer to leave and they hadn’t changed the marquee to our flight, I got nervous, and found they had changed the flight to gate N 17. Like I said, all was normal again. I think this gate change thing, entailing taking the subway across the airport complex, happens more often than not.
I made my plane, and slept. Hard. Most all the way to Ketchikan. Then on to Juneau. Three cabs waiting across the street. Good. My luggage showed up, and when I got outside, there were no cabs across the street. Dang it. Then one shows up to drop someone off – can you take me to town? Yep. Get in. Quickly! I can get fined 300 dollars if I pick up here! And off we went.
The lady was clearly an immigrant. Hispanic from her accent. And very nice. I’d put my facemask on for ride home, and she saw that after a few minutes and thanked me for doing so. First thing I did when I got home was to make a fire in the woodstove. I went through the mail Sara left for me before leaving for Hawaii a few days ago.
I went to bed about midnight and got up at 7 am. Made a fried egg with cheese and a bagel and coffee. I went back to bed and slept til 7 pm. Second day of jet lag is always the worst for me. But good to back in my own bed in my hometown.