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A Crabbing Trip

(2021-10-16 10:04:16) 下一個

I was mulling over the news story of a 43-year-old JD executive when we were 

stuck in north-bound traffic near SFO. It sounded all too familiar: a young man

striving for fame and fortune came to a point of reckoning after being diagnosed with

a terminal illness in mid-life. While not giving up his career, the guy had improved

relationship with his wife and even wrote a guide for his two-year-old son. It has

been a recurring theme in the news.

 

It reminded me of eight years ago the last stage of a best friend. I remembered

walking with him two months before he passed away. He was so frail from chemo

that we had to stop after a few blocks. He showed me the avocado tree in his back

yard and talked about how he wished he had spent more time with his two kids.

 

Why this always had to happen and only death could awaken one to what was really

important? And what good advice could the rich and successful winner gave 

besides his heart-felt regrets? Could the lesson even be learned? At my

friend's funeral, we talked about his kindness, his generosity, and

mostly what a great employee he was and his achievements at work. We hated the

cancer that took away such a dear person, we were scared, but no one hinted at

how we should live differently. We huddled like a dazzle of zebras camouflaging

well against each other and bracing for the next strike from the lions.

 

I myself could have gone down a similar route, but here I was, healthy and still

improving at 48, in the car with my teenage son on our trip to crab. No complaints.

 

It was around 9:30am when we arrived at the SF municipal pier and cast the cage.

The breeze was gentle and the sky clear and blue. No giant ocean liners came to

block the view. We could see well the Alcatraz, Sausalito, and of course the

Golden Gate bridge. A few swimmers paddled contentedly within the big corral

formed by the arched pier. Outside, giant pelicans ruled the bay.

 

The tide was high as Tim observed. Only one angler came before us, an Asian

woman in her late 50s on a motorized wheelchair with her chihuahua. I was as

oblivious as always. I came for the air, the scenary, and the time with my kid

with his phone tucked away. If we had a good catch, great. Or, we could just

return what we got back to the sea.

 

Two hours and three good-sized rock crabs later, we ditched our bait and catch.

It was only when we started to pack up that the woman turned our way and we

greeted each other. She had a ruddy wrinkled face and bright eyes and, although

not fit, didn't need the wheelchair which she referred to as her BMW. It turned out

she used to live near TianJin and acquired the accent before coming to America.

We were both happy to have someone to speak Mandarian with.

 

"I used to work in San Jose but I'm retired. I load up and come here every

morning. Right now is the perfect hour for crabbing."

 

"Too bad. We have to go. We came from Mountain View." I said and added "I didn't

know there was a perfect hour for crabs. We have always just come and leave it to

luck."

 

"No. You need to come when the tide is going. Let me show you." She beckoned,

brandishing her cell phone. On the screen was today's tide forcast for SF pier

41. "This window is best for crabbing and as the tide goes up again in a couple

of hours, it would be the best time for catching smelts."

 

"Thank you! I came here for five years and never suspected!"

 

We went away empty-handed but feeling like bandits.

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評論
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 'stillthere' 的評論 : Thank you, stillthere, for reading and catching the error. Somehow I thought "pass" itself was enough.

Thanks for encouraging and pointing to Yiyun's works. Will read for inspiration.

Have a great week.
stillthere 回複 悄悄話 Perhaps it should be:

two months before he passed away

anyway, enjoyed reading yours as always, and if Li Yiyun can write her books, you could be a published author too, someday...


Read more about her at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiyun_Li
7grizzly 回複 悄悄話 回複 '暖冬cool夏' 的評論 : Thanks, 暖冬, for reading and your kind comments. For me, the first draft is never smooth, but gets better the more time I spent on re-writing it. I feel I could still improve the current one.

Indeed I tried to make the contrast. We felt like bandits after acquiring the knowledge of the tide, which was worth much more than 35 crabs, the upper limit per person :-)
暖冬cool夏 回複 悄悄話 He likes to check the tide status before we go to the beach, not for crabbing or fishing, but for a clear view of tidal pool, low tide in this case.
Your writing just flows so well. I tried to write something too recently, but it is so poorly and plainly written:))
I don't see why you feel like bandits in the context, though a good contrast to the word "empty-handed". I might be wrong. Have a great weekend!
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