(Continued from “The New Boat”)
One day, a few months after we (finally) got our new boat home, Dee Dee decided to spend the day on it with our daughter Britt, who was around two years old at the time. When they were ready to leave, Dee Dee climbed onto the swim platform to place Britt on the dock before stepping off the boat herself. But as she reached out holding Brittany, she inadvertently forced the boat away from the dock causing her to lose her balance. With a lunge, she managed to set Britt on the dock before plummeting into the water, scraping her legs on the barnacle encrusted piling.
After yelling and cursing (something which she vehemently denies doing), she attempted to reassure Britt that she was okay, but Britt was apparently scared and started to cry. “Mommy, get out of the water!” she yelled over and over again. Dee Dee finally managed to climb onto the dock and comfort Britt before drying off to head home. Britt decided her mommy was alright and everything quickly returned to normal.
Flash forward a couple of weeks.
The wind was blowing too hard to go offshore, so I took Britt down to the harbor for the day. Several of my friends who were “harbornating” on their own boats invited us to join their dinghy flotilla to fish at the mouth of the harbor. Britt liked the idea, so I rounded up our rods. As I stepped from the dock into our dinghy, I foolishly stepped on the inflatable’s tube with my right foot, pushing the dinghy away from the dock and plunging me into the harbor.
When I emerged for a breath sans fishing rods, sunglasses, and hat, Brittany was doubled over on the dock laughing and yelling, “My dad fell in the water. Ha, ha, ha. My dad fell in the water.” All the while I was imploring her to stop lest my friends see what had happened and rib me. Luckily, my phone was still on the boat, so I called Dee Dee to ask her to bring some dry clothes when she came to join us. Her immediate response was, “Is Britt okay?”
“Is Britt okay? It’s the funniest thing she’s ever seen. Evidently, she does not extend the same concern to me that she does to her mommy.”
Anyhow, after finding another pair of rods (I suspected that a lot of the boats were not using their holding tanks, so I was not about to go diving for my lost equipment), Britt and I headed out of the harbor, with me in my soggy shorts and Britt still giggling. The fishing was slow, and none of my friends were having any luck.
But right before Britt became bored and asked me to head home, she caught a tiny speckled trout, which she called a “polka dot fish.” She was thrilled with her catch and proceeded to lord it over my luckless friends, who were still batting zero. When I started to throw back the smallest speckled trout I had ever seen, Britt looked on in horror and begged, “Daddy, please don’t throw my polka dot fish back. Please, daddy.”
It became clear that I had two choices. I could do what I’ve done too many times to count—take this opportunity to teach her the concept of catch and release, the importance of conservation, and that we must always obey the law by throwing the fish back, or by keeping our undersized catch I could save my daughter from crying her eyes out grieving the loss of her polka dot fish.
Oh, and did I mention that one of my really good friends is head of the Department of Marine Resources?
Disclaimer: Frank Wilem is an author, speaker, and all around funny and entertaining guy. On this blog, his stories are based on his real life experiences, often with a satirical twist.
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