With fists, with words, with kindness
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David Zoby lives in Casper, Wyoming, with his two dogs, Henderson the Rain King and Rocket. He is a frequent contributor to national fly-fishing and outdoor magazines.
Like the other fishermen, I am waiting to have the day’s catch processed and flash-frozen for transport back to the Lower 48. A recent vasectomy makes me stand in line at a cant. I shift my weight to ease the dull throb in my groin.
In the fall of 1991 I was the lowest-ranking waiter at a steakhouse in Hampton, Virginia. My sole transportation was a Honda 350 motorcycle — halfway between a street bike and a moped — whose chain slipped at the most inopportune times.
It’s already sweltering at sunrise on this August Sunday morning in Norfolk, Virginia. My Lebanese grandfather is taking my brother and me fishing for blue crabs on the Elizabeth River. He stands on the dock and drops the oars into the flat-bottomed rowboat.
Part of Charlotte’s mystique was her complete lack of fear. Even during rough-surf warnings and undertow advisories, she swam out past the green breakers, avoiding skates and jellyfish and rafts of seaweed. I’d see her head bobbing or her arms doing a demonstrative backstroke in the jade swells. She had learned to swim while growing up near Boston. “Wheatley isn’t afraid of anything,” my mother would say proudly. I never had the guts to go out that far.
When the dogwoods bloom overnight and the oaks wake one morning with a full complement of leaves, spring has come to the Tidewater section of Virginia. Shad roe, orange and milky, appears on ice in the fish markets, and there are rumors of bluefish running out by the third island of the Chesapeake Bay.