That night in bed, “You made someone very happy today.”
“I thought I made you happy every day.”
Yep, a slap on the shoulders, “Doesn’t he need sea water?” “
Yes, but Peter can bring water from the dock home in his wagon. We just need to get him a jug to carry it in. I don’t think you’ll have to change the water often. They make a system for cleaning thebottom of fish tanks where you don't have to remove the water. I’ll stop and get it on Monday.” “
This will make you a hero in Peter’s eyes.”
“We’re already heroes in his eyes. If you haven’t noticed he’s always smiling and likes to cuddle with us.”
“Yes, he’s one happy boy.”
Waking up in the morning, I expected to find a young boy in our bed, but he wasn’t there. I wonder who he slept with last night. Going to the stern to bless the ocean I mentioned to Glen that Peter wasn’t in our bed when I woke up. “I wonder who he slept with?”
“He slept with Sammy.”
“How do you know?”
“The last time I saw Peter he was being thrown over Sammy’s shoulders as they headed for the cabins.”
I went to start the coffee and hot chocolate as the boys struggled into the galley. “Let’s get the nets up and then we’ll have breakfast.” After the morning pull it was obvious one more pull and we’d be going home.
Nicky and Scotty started breakfast, the four burner stove was fully being used, milk for hot chocolate on one, coffee on the other along with eggs and bacon on the other two. We were all set. Coffee was done, Glen and I took a cup, Sammy wanted one as well, certainly not a twelve year old boy.
While breakfast was being made, we talked about the summer. The boys wanted to take a boat trip, I explained not this year but maybe next year. I still had to work and to get time off would be difficult. “Maybe we could go for a cruise after the wedding.” That started the talk about the wedding.
I mentioned that Nicky’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Then everyone started to talk about birthdays. Glen took the hint, went and got paper and pen from the Captain’s cabin and started a chart. It was a simple chart, boy’s name, date of birthday. This occupied their time till a platter of scrambles eggs, bacon and toast hit the table. The boys got up, went to wash their hands, returning they picked up a plate and cups for hot chocolate or coffee. With everyone seated at the table. Glen and I served. I explained to Sammy and Travis, take as much as you want, but what you take you must eat. You can go back for seconds or thirds as many times as you want.
Cups filled with hot chocolate, Glen started a new batch on the stove. Nicky saw the bacon platter disappearing, he got up and put more bacon in the microwave, “It’s faster this way”
I don’t think anyone can explain a young boy’s appetite. When everyone was finished eating, there were no left overs. Every egg and bacon we bought were used. Looking around the table, every one was full and happy.
“Dad, we’re going for a nap.” Getting up at four and then a full stomach, a nap seemed to be a logical choice. Glen and I took our coffee to the bridge. I wanted to check on the weather for the week as well as this evening.
We did the last pull at ten and then headed back. We were about an hour out when Nicky blew the horn. As usual the cannery truck was there. Glen left to get the truck. With the help of the cannery men, we unloaded the fish.
“Charles, go and get some shrimp, use these plastic bags and two lobsters.” I gave the shrimp and lobster to the two cannery men who helped me unload the fish.
“Anytime you need us, let us know. We never get shrimp or lobster from the other boats here or at the other Marina. Thanks a lot.”
Glen helped to put the large ice chests on the truck. “Andy, take these small chests to your Aunt. Ask her for a large pan. She’s going to need shrimp and lobster for the wedding lunch in acouple of weeks. May as well begin to stock up now.”
I saw Sammy go with him, he came back laughing, “The captain at the Captain’s table wanted toknow what was in the chests. Andy said fish guts for fish soup. Your uncle is still laughing.”
I took the small empty chest and filled it with shrimp and three lobsters. The rest I put in the pan that Andy had. “Andy, I need another pan.”
Of course Peter was right there beside me making sure I didn’t give Gus away, that was his name for his lobster.
Everything was loaded on the truck, weights checked by Nicky and Charles, we were ready to go home. I took a crab pail, put Gus in it, covered him with sea water. Peter and Sammy carried the pail home. I stopped at the bank, deposited the cannery slip and then walked home. We had to take Gus with us as we delivered the fish. I gave Gram her usual fish plus some shrimp and a lobster. We got a kiss on our cheek.
Charles made sure Marie got her fish, he got his kiss as well. “Next week we’ll have some shrimp for her.”
At Glen’s parents, we lined up and marched to the back yard. His dad made the count, one extra. “Anna, add another moldy hotdog to the plate.” Glen’s mother came out, she did the count and stopped at Travis.
“You’re the new crewman. What's your name?”
“Well, you call me Grandma, the rest of the boys do and that old man who is always asking for moldy hotdogs is Granddad. Got that”
“Yes, maam" She looked at him, “I mean yes, Grandma”The boys laughed, I gave him a hug.
I gave her the shrimp and lobster. She asked for some shrimp for her neighbor. I showed her what I had, she took 20, “I’ll take the rest.”
“Next week I’ll have more shrimp and lobster, I’ll see that she gets some.”
Lunch, or an early dinner, was hamburgers with the fixings as Nicky called it. Glen and Nicky headed inside with the attic being the point of call. They came down with a box of games and books, They asked their mom where was the fish tank they had. “It’s in the garage” They took Peter and showed him the tank. He was dancing, when I saw it, it was huge but probably just right for Gus.
We stayed at Mom and Dad’s for three hours. Theboys were into the games and books, “Pop, can we take these home?”
Before Glen could answer, “You sure can and if I find more I’ll save them for you. Nicky, you can help me clean the attic, I’m not sure what’s up there anymore.”
“Thanks Grandma,” there was a hug and wet eyes. These boys did it. The boys loaded everything in the trunk of the car, that is everything except the books they were reading.
At Johnny’s his dad came out to greet us, Johnny went to get the pan. I slipped his wages into his pocket as he was taking the fish back into their kitchen. He came running out, “See you later Dad, I love you,” and with that, he was back in the truck.
“I think you have kidnapped my son. He’s such a changed boy since he started fishing with you. His mom and I often remark how happy he is and showing more responsibility. Never thought fishing would do that.”
“The invitation to stop over on Sunday evening still stands. Maybe I’ll make it a requirement, if you want fish you have to come and get it.”
Laughing I got in the car and headed to Jamie’s. While Jamie was delivering the fish, I asked Bob about Jamie’s birthday. I told him about Glen and I buying Nicky a car, Bob said he had thought about that for Jamie, but there was no way he could afford a new car. “I thought I’d get a junker and fix it up for him.”
That evening with Gus being placed in his tank, after several trips to get salt water, they decided to feed it. Peter climbed on my lap, “Dad, we need food for Gus.”
“What does he eat, chicken, hamburgers, crab?”
“Crabs, I have some, if we cook them he can eat the parts we don’t want.” That’s what we did. Peter said Gus enjoyed his dinner.
I went on the internet and printed several papers about lobsters, diet, longevity, how to prepare them. I gave all of the papers to Peter. After about thirty minutes I heard a very loud, “Dad, we aren’t going to eat Gus” a little boy with tears in his eyes was standing in front of me.
“No Peter, but we catch a lot of lobsters, those we can eat, right?”
“Okay as long as we don’t eat Gus.”
“Kev, have you ever stopped to think about what will happen if we catch Gus Jr?”
“No and I don’t want to. We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.”