Monday, August 21, 2006

Ramblings from the beach, Part 2

Tidbit #5: The sun should have already been up when we run through the inlet. But it’s foggy. My brother DT is at the helm. He maneuvers the boat at Dad and my directions, trying to stay in the shifty channel. As we get closer to the ocean, the waves build and the bow rises up only to pound down time and time again. Dad and I, standing next to the center console, hold on tightly. Each wave grows a little taller until finally we’re in open water. The seas are still rough. Off to the southwest a shrimp trawl, appearing ghostly in the fog, makes his way toward us. There are no other boats. We set out four lines, hoping to tie into a school of Spanish Mackerel. Out off the sides, running from the T-top, are two rods each trailing a spoon near the water’s surface. Off the stern, another two rods are set deep. Their lines are hooked to quick releasing planes that cause the line to dive deep. We trail two lures at about 15 feet under water. We pound our way up the coast, running parallel to Holden Beach, a couple hundred yards out. There are no birds and we get no strikes. Occasionally a fish shows up on the depth finder, but none take the bait.

After about thirty minutes of running eastward, we turn around and come in a bit closer to land and begin trolling toward the inlet. Running this direction, we surf across the swells and the ride doesn’t seem nearly as rough. We approach the shrimp trawl which has dredged its way across the mouth of the inlet. It’s the Miss Bee. Behind her are the birds, feasting on that which the trawl throws back. Before we get to her, she too makes a turn and begins running the opposite direction, heading back across the mouth of the inlet. We’re inside, between the trawl and the inlet. From the brownish water, we can tell where she’d just dragged. Sometimes fish follow the trawl, feasting on the food its nets have dragged up off the bottom. But that’s not the case today.

We continue on western, running parallel to Ocean Isle Beach several miles. Dad pulls a package of salted in the shell roasted peanuts out and gives us each a handful. We continue trolling, chumming the waters with peanut shells. Afterwards, we pull drinks out of the cooler. Dad wants his Coke with ice, David drinks his Mountain Dew out of the can, and I drink water from a bottle. I can’t handle a soda this early in the morning. When we turn about, the waves once again pound the boat and we hold on for a rough ride. A pod of porpoises appear just off starboard, their speed matches ours. This isn’t good as they’ll chase away the Spanish, which have been non-existent anyway. I watch their graceful arcs through the water as we approach the inlet. The Miss Bee is turning again to make another run back across its mouth. We pull in our lines and pound ourselves though the mouth. At the helm my brother watches the depth gauge as Dad and I observe the waves, directing him back and forth through the channel. It’s now low tide. The bar running across in front of the inlet is only a few feet underwater, but we make it easily. Soon we’re in back in the waterway, making the run for home.

Tidbit 6: “Come on, B,” my Dad commands, smiling. He grabs my mother’s arm and pulls her from her chair. Hand and hand they approached the surf. When they get out to where the water is about mid-calf deep, where the surf swelling around their legs, Mom tries to pull away. Having never learned how to swim, she’s not ever been much for the water. But she adores my Dad and doesn’t want to disappoint him. Dad encourages her to go further and gets her out just beyond the breakers, in water that’s between waist and chest deep. Mom appears both terrified and extremely happy. After a couple of waves, in which she jumps to keep from getting soaked, Dad finally lets her go in. Dad trying to get Mom out in the water is a scene that’s been replayed hundreds of times. I’ve witnessed it many times, but it’s been a while. I haven’t seen them play in the water since I was kid. Yet the ritual remains the same. Mom laughs and acts sly around the water, but you can tell she relishes in my father’s attention. They’ve now been married for 51 years and the magic is still there. My father is so patient with her. It doesn’t matter that she won’t remember any of this, for he too relishes her attention

I’ve mentioned before (breaking my not to talk about family rule), my mother was diagnosed last summer with Alzheimer’s. As sad as it is to consider, it was her illness that got us all committed to having a “family vacation” together this year.


  1. Thanks for sharing your Mom & Dad's story. It is very special to witness the acts and words of true love.

  2. I have to agree. Tidbit #6 is the best yet. That's exactly how love should be...after 1 year or after 51 years.

    Thank you for breaking your rule and sharing it with us.

  3. Have you ever gotten queasy on a boat, Sage? My stomach churned a bit just reading #5.

    As for #6, that's beautifully written. I'm glad that you guys were able to all do that. Also, your mother's maneuver is commonly known in the female world. My technique is different but the end result is still the same. :-)

  4. Dawn and Kevin, thanks for your kind words of encouragement

    Murf, as for being seasick... I have never been sick enough to vomit, however on a few occassions, I've been a bit quesasy. Once was getting ready to dive and being all geared up and then having to wait on the side of the boat as it rolled in the water--finally I went on in and was okay, but if I'd sat on the edge of that boat much longer, I'd lost my guts. Another time was sittig in a boat, with rolling water, workin on the engine. The rolling action and smell of fuel isn't a good combo. Mostly, however, when you're in the fresh air and moving, you don't havve to worry about getting queasy.

    And I bet you are good with those little maneuvers!

  5. Beautiful stores/tidbits Sage. Written words like that are why I keep coming back to your blog morning after morning.

  6. I just come back in hopes of a picture of the bald head. ;-)

  7. Ed, I hope to keep posting some good words...

    Murf, I hate to disappoint you so--but you might get another pic or two of me and "that hat"

  8. That was so beautiful...the part with your parents playing in the water. I am so sorry about your mother's illness. It brought tears to my eyes as I think that could be the worst thing, to lose all my memories. I am so glad you guys took this time to all be together.

    My husband's mother had Alzheimers.

  9. I'm so sorry about your Mom, but as the Sage turns, you manage to put a positive spin on everything---and the language was beautiful

    Drew me right in as all your stories do--but especially ones that talk about how land and or water interact with people---hope that makes sense

  10. I am glad you told us this. You described it so well, I can almost see them together. I hope someone took photos or video.

    I think I was on your fishing trip too (you are such a good writer)!

  11. My mom was never much for getting in water whether at the local swimming hole or at the shore. But you could tell that she enjoyed seeing us have fun in it. My mom, too, may be in the early stages of Alzheimers and is taking medication that is suppose to delay its advance.

    Thanks for your sharing.

  12. Wonderful tidbit...

    I find it sad that it is the difficult times that bring families together forcing them to see the importance of "family" gatherings. I guess it takes a swift kick from life to get us in gear and make us realize the importance.

    Glad you guys had the opportunity for a family vacation.

  13. Deana, thanks for the comments and my heart goes out to your husband and his family. Has his mother died?

    Pia, thanks for your concern and insight--the tying together of land and water

    Thanks Kenju

    Tim, my heart goes out to you and your family and your mom. You might want to read "The Forgetting, Alxheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic," by David Shenk. It's beautiful writing about a terrible disease.

    Thanks Kontan, I'll be interested in reading more about your recent travels too.

  14. Thanks, sage. I'll have to check that book out.