January 28

“Fish are friends, not food.” -Bruce (Finding Nemo)

Today I stopped in Bass Pro Shop. I’ve never been in one before, so I decided to stop in when I passed it on my way home from my conference. In the middle of the store they have a massive fish tank with a water fall and a fake forest above it. 

When I looked in the tank I immediately recognized a pink salmon. I smiled broadly as a wave of memories happily washed over me. I think it is impossible to go to Alaska and not see information about different kinds of salmon. 

The first time I was there I visited the Kenia peninsula where a friend was living. On my third or fourth day there he took me salmon fishing. We got our (his) gear, payed for our licenses and some bait at his neighborhood hunting store, and went to a locals fishing spot. As we walked onto the river bank and saw a line of old men on either side of us, but right in front of us was a large open area. We walked up to the vacant spot. “Won’t catch anything there, youngings” we were told. Apparently no one had caught anything from this particular spot all day, so it had been abandoned.

I just wanted to “get my feet wet” when it came to salmon fishing, so we figured we start here and move if we needed to. Within ten minutes I had caught my first silver salmon. It was huge. I had to hit it over the head with a bat. (I did not like that part.) We had a two salmon per person limit. It took us less than fourty-five minutes. I wasn’t looking forward to spending hours standing on the shore of an Alaskan river, but the whole thing happened so fast I actually felt like I wanted more time. Alas, we had caught our limit, there was no point in prolonging our stay. We packed up and walked away with our four large prizes in tow. All the old men ran to take over our spot when we left. We had salmon for dinner that night.

My second time in Alaska my sister and I went to visit my cousin. While in Talkeetna, they wanted to go salmon fishing because neither had ever been. They went to a commercial place and it was way too expense for me, since I had already done it. I walked around while they went on their expedition. They returned excited and successful. And I was excited for them. When we got back to my cousins apartment in Anchrage the next day, while our cousin was at work, my sister and I cook the salmon they caught for dinner, with rice. Delish. 

It’s amazing how one fish in Atlantic City flung me all the way to Alaska in the blink of an eye. What joy!

Today’s joy is happy memories.

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