Ships Ahoy, Matey. (Port is left, I know that much)


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I blame the media (Walmart) for everything that goes awry on family vacations. All summer long I’ve watched commercials for bug spray, pick up trucks, sunscreen, and major department stores tell me what my family holiday will look like. I thought I was smart and had their wily ways figured out, but I was foiled again. They lured me into actually looking forward to and enjoying three days of packing, followed by the 35 degree trip in a crammed to the ceiling truck. I was excited to be trapped in a prison of my own misery for 14 hours, silently hating my husband and dreaming of throwing the truck door open while going a buck twenty, and rolling straight to the bottom of the mighty Fraser. I’d live through it of course and start a new life,  having frivolous affairs all around the globe and helping the needy and starving poor people in third world countries. I’d be appreciated, damnit.
Yes, family vacations put all those little fault lines on display. The cracks and crevices that in everyday life can be chalked up to working too hard or needing something to eat are magnified ten fold into massive craters, tsunamis and earthquakes on family vacation. Suddenly you find yourself questioning the stability of your sanity, your marriage, your mind and your life. “Where did it go wrong?” you wonder, blinking and dazed as you seriously consider jumping ship and catching the next greyhound the hell out of dodge.  You can only surmise that rousing an 8 and 9 year old at 4:30 am simultaneously for three days in a row, throwing them in a fishing boat for 8 hours and demanding they be thrilled about it might be a good place to start.
But enough “camp”laining. (I borrowed that line from a friend.) At the pivotal moment, when you’re weighing your options and decide that faking your own death may be the only one, you lift your weary head and look up at the day. You find yourself on the ocean at sunrise. The light dances on mauve colored waves and your lines are so tight you can hear them sing; the salmon siren song. It calls your name and seeks you out, it chooses you, feeding the addiction. Only you. You are thrown into the waltz in an instant and suddenly everything else disolves away and all that exists for you is right now. The zzzziiiiiiiiiinnngg, the pull, the fight. It is intensely personal and, win or lose, immensely rewarding. It is the “Vicious Strike.” It’s what brings you back, time after time and makes you feel alive.
You’ve won. Blood in the boat. And it’s all worth it.
Those you’ve previously deemed “dick heads” are suddenly proud. They high five and sing praise and the story gets bigger and better with every telling and it feels so good that you realize that you  have discovered your brethren, your coven, your family, all over again. And despite it all, you wouldn’t trade them for frivolous affairs, helping the needy or even for being appreciated for once in your life. You wouldn’t trade them for anything. Not for all the fish in the sea. Not for anything at all. 

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