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No Rose Garden house, his father’s routine. He would stand the next wheel watch. He knew his father got the most sleep when he steered. Sal was good. He had a feel for it. A natural, his father had told his Uncle Vinnie, who let it slip. Antonio was only two years from retirement, and Sal was daring to think that what the men said was true: when his father retired, the boat and the tradition would be his. Sal was superstitious enough not to count his chickens. But the job did feel like it was for real. It was important. He couldn’t imagine continuing to fish unless he was running the boat. He would never admit it out loud, but $30,000 a year be damned. It wasn’t worth it. Ten days out, three days in, year round, except for the festival in June and ten days at Christmas. And those three days in were eight-to-four work days, chipping paint and mending gear. It wasn’t worth it. For Sal to admit such a thing to his family would be unthinkable.

He would hesitate even with Tony. It was the women’s line, that it wasn’t worth it. The younger women were very outspoken on the subject. Not a day ashore went by that it wasn’t discussed. Even the stoicism of the older women ~ his mother, for one ~ was breaking down as the men got older, as life began to roll along

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Tidewater Times December 2018  

Tidewater Times December 2018