Monday, June 27, 2011

Deep Sea Fishing

I remember going on a deep sea fishing trip out of Monterrey, CA, when I was a teenager.  I know lots of men and boys from our ward went, but I can't remember if it was a scout activity or what.  I remember we piled onto a fishing boat and headed out to sea.  The boat was fairly big.  It had a deck all around the outside with a guard rail and it had a spot below deck where people could sit inside and eat and talk.  The seas were calm at the beginning, but as we headed further out to the west they started to get pretty wavy.  I remember the boat would sink to the bottom of a swale and we could see the next wave ahead higher than the whole boat.  The boat would then rise to the top of that wave and then sink down.  The boat was tossing and turning and giving us a fun ride.  I started to notice that many of the people on board were hanging their heads over the guard rail.  When I got closer I could see that they were all throwing up into the ocean.  I guess the bumpy ride was making many of us sea sick.  I was lucky.  I didn't get see sick during this part of the ride.  I remember there was one guy on the boat who had been in the navy and wasn't the least bit sea sick.  He was walking around with a sandwich in his hand and whenever he sat by someone and took a bite, it just made them all the more sea sick.

I think the boat captain had a fish finding device, because at one point we got the word that it was time to fish.  The idea was to catch as many fish as possible while we passed over a school.  The trip was fairly expensive and some on board were hoping to catch enough fish to supply meat for their families for the whole next year.  We used these stout deep sea fishing poles and dropped the line straight down the outside of the boat.  A large weight was at the very end of the line and three treble hooks with fake squids for bait were located up the line toward the end of the rod.  We just dropped the weight until it stopped and then waited a minute and then reeled the line back in.  On the end there would be one to three large fish (maybe 2 feet long) hooked.  There was no fight like when you catch a trout; they just hung there.  The fish were pulled up over the guard rail, unhooked and left laying around on the deck.  The line was immediately dropped back into the water to catch more fish.  Only after the run across the top of the school was over did we put the fish in the large sacks for collection.  I think we made several different runs over the school until everyone had full sacks.  I only started to feel sea sick during this fishing part.  Something about looking over the edge and down at the waves made me nauseous.  But I never threw up :)

When we got back to shore it was interesting to watch the fish getting prepared to take home.  Most of the fish we caught were cod.  I guess only the thick slab of meat on either side of the fish is good to eat.  This part is called the fillet.  Men on the pier with knifes would cut off the outer skin and then slice off the thick fillet and put that in a bag that was on ice.  Then they would turn the fish over and repeat the same maneuver.  Most of the fish (maybe 75%) wasn't usable and was just discarded.  I sort of remember that they just threw this back into the water as waste, but I may be wrong.  I do remember there were lots of sea gulls around trying to get a free meal from the waste.  I don't remember how much fish I finally ended up with.  Some families that were hoping to provide food for the rest of the year ended up with quit a lot.  Deep sea fishing was great fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Be careful what you eat

When I was in high school I had a good friend named Clint Chew who was Chinese.  He helped me get a job working in the Chinese food restaurant in food court of the Sun Valley Mall in Concord, CA.  About three days a week I would work there after school.  We had a steam table with different foods for the customers to choose from.  There was fried rice, and chow mein, chow yuck, sweet and sour shrimp, egg fu young, and many others that I don't remember.  Customers could get a 2-item plate or a 3-item plate.  They would tell me which food they wanted and I would spoon a serving of it onto their plate.  Egg fu young came with a choice of gravy.  So, if a customer asked for egg fu young, I asked them if they wanted gravy with it.  One night, a customer wanted egg fu young and I asked, "Do you want gravy with that?"  As I opened my mouth to speak, I drooled all over the food on the plate.  Nobody saw it, and I was embarrassed so I didn't say anything about it.  I just finished the order and gave the customer his plate, drool and all.  It was probably the best egg fu young he had every eaten.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The best day of my life

What is the best day of your life so far?  The best day of my life was August 14, 1974.  That was the day Grandma and I got married.  I only remember bits and pieces of that day.  I remember arriving at the Oakland Temple in the morning.  I remember that we went through an endowment session where Kathy received her own endowment and then we went into a sealing room where we were married and sealed together for time and all eternity.  I don't remember the name of the man who performed the sealing and I don't remember a single word that he said.  I remember that we had an open house at my parent's home in Fremont, CA, that night and that we stayed in the Honeymoon Suite in a hotel in South San Francisco.

If I remember so little about that day, why do I consider it the best day of my life?  It's because it was the beginning of a wonderful adventure with the love of my life.  Before I got married, everything was about me, myself and I.  After I got married it was about us, ourselves, and we.  I now had a partner in everything I did.  When I was worried, I had Kathy to comfort and assure me.  When I was sick, I had Kathy to nurse me.  When I was scared, I had Kathy to help me be brave.  When I needed to make a decision, I had Kathy to help me consider all of the possibilities and give me sound advice.  Each time we loaded up our stuff and moved to a new place, we didn't have to go alone.  We had each other for support.

You can mark the progress of our life together by considering what we needed to use to move all of our stuff.  When we moved into our first apartment in Provo, we only needed the smallest U Haul trailer available.  When we left Provo and moved to San Francisco four years later, we needed the largest trailer available (I remember how much work it was for our car to pull it up over Donner Summit).  When we left San Francisco for Iowa four years later, we needed to rent a medium-sized U Haul truck.  When we left Iowa for Kentucky three years later, we needed the biggest truck available.  When we left Kentucky for Orem 13 years later we needed 2 of the largest trucks available, each with a trailer in tow for carrying our cars.  Each of these phases of our lives required us to meet new friends, learn new routines, and step out of our zones of comfort.  The fact that we could do this together made it all bearable.  No matter what the situation, we had each other for support.  I can't think of a better partner in all this than my Kathy.

Then there was the parenting.  First came Ben and all of the new stuff about being a parent.  Then came Joe and all of the stuff about caring for 2 babies at the same time.  With two children, we could each take care of one.  But when Sarah came, we had to figure out how two people could take care of three children.  Then with Betsy, we had to learn how to take care of 4 little ones.  And don't forget the many times when Kathy had to care for all four by herself.  When Hannah came, that made 5 at once.  The addition of Abby made six.  By then some of the older ones could take care of themselves (with help from Sarah) and we functioned pretty well as a family team.  Finally, we got Caleb and our family was complete. 

Through those years, Kathy and I worked together as partners.  I was in school during the first few years and worked part-time to make ends meet.  Kathy worked full-time until she had Ben.  When we moved to San Francisco, Kathy started to work part-time as a nurse and I got paid to be a Research Assistant.  In Iowa, I got paid as a Postdoc and Kathy worked part-time as a nurse.  In Kentucky, I got paid as an Assistant Professor and Kathy worked part-time as a nurse.  In Orem, I got paid as an Associate Professor and Kathy worked part-time as a nurse.

I can't think of a better, fuller, happier life than mine.  Getting married and raising a family may seem scary and a lot of work, but there is nothing on earth more worth it.  I know you grand kids are still young, and marriage is a long way off.  But I hope you will set a goal to someday marry in the temple and raise a family of your own.  It will be well worth it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm sorry I didn't stick with football

I love football.  I have always loved it.  I was really excited to play tackle football when I finally entered high school.  I remember that first summer of football practices.  It was hard, tiring, hot, and fun.  I was pretty fast, but not really big or strong so I decided to play defensive back.  My biggest problem was that I wore glasses and had to take them off whenever I had on my football helmet.  I really couldn't see very well without glasses and that affected my playing.  It was especially bad if we played at night.  Even though the field lights were on, I couldn't see as well without my glasses when it was dark.

I did pretty well my freshman year and got to play quite a bit.  My sophomore year I played on the junior varsity team but didn't do as well and didn't play as much.  Most sophomores were invited to play on the varsity team when they became juniors.  I wasn't invited and was going to have to play on the junior varsity team for another year while all of my friends played on the varsity team.  I was humiliated and decided to quit the team.  If I would have stuck it out I am sure my skills would have gotten better and I would have been a good player on the varsity team my senior year. 

When my senior year came, I really regretted that I wasn't playing on the team.  They needed some good players with speed and I probably could have contributed.  One of the football coaches was always telling me that they could have used me.  I went to every game as a spectator instead of a player.  I missed out on some real fun and growth because I was too proud to play junior varsity for a second year.  If I had it to do over again, I would have played that junior year and prepared myself for a great senior year.  I have tried since to not let my pride get in the way of what is best for me.