Sliding a knife down the back of a fish, guts slopping on the cutting board, carving off chunks of meat … Cleaning fish is what you have to do after having a great day out on the water. A “go day” as my grandfather used to refer to those magical days soaking in the sun and catching fish in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys. Cleaning fish is the price for having fun. However, in our family the ritual is something more. When I was a kid we used to catch lots of fish. I never thought about the hours my dad and granddad spent cleaning fish – it’s just what they did. Now though, it’s my turn. After enjoying watching Adam and Benjamin load the cooler with “keepers”, my dad and I clean fish. What is an incredibly mundane task is actually very rich. My dad and I stand side by side, doing men’s work, drinking beer, talking about life, sports, family, or just working together quietly. It’s a bonding moment that adds quality to life.
The last few weeks before leaving the USA we visited with family and friends. Those moments are precious and I don’t take them for granted. There is nothing more valuable and no better way to spend time even, or especially, if it is cleaning fish.