Chapter Thirty-Three – The Fish Farm – In Mom’s Eyes
1997 – I am 48, Scott is 23, Julie is 20
I’ve been taking the kids out to Grandpa Fishie’s house, my Dad’s house, since they were born. Actually, when they were just little babies, I used to take them out there to stay for a few days, so that I could have a break. Raising children alone isn’t easy. I had a life before they came along, I had friends. And now my life is all about them, and it always will be. Both Scott and Julie have very special relationships with my Dad, and also had great relationships with my Mom, when she was alive. I miss my Mom so much. But I’m grateful the kids had the experiences with her that they did. I’m surprised sometimes at how much they remember of her, actually. Julie was only ten years old, and Scott thirteen, when she passed away. But she definitely left her mark on them. Oh, I miss my Mom.
Julie left for the fish farm this morning, wanted to get over there early to see Gramps. And Scott. He’s been living out there for several years now, helping my Dad with the farm, going to school off and on, and working too. He loves it out there, and he loves his Grandpa. There isn't anything they wouldn’t do for each other. Julie has been going out there every month or so, to visit and make Dad his cookies. She loves it, and he loves it too. I swear, if he didn’t have those cookies, he probably wouldn’t eat at all. She makes him dinner, and lunches. She plays the “fish wife” and takes care of the fishermen. They feed the fish together. They try to get the “big birds”. Oh, they’re funny together. They adore each other. It’s so nice to know that Julie and Scott have him, to be a father figure, to be a friend, to teach them things about life only a man can teach. I’m eternally grateful for that.
“Oh, hi there. Didn’t hear ya.”
“I guess Julie must have made it out there, huh?”
“Yup, she’s in the kitchen. I guess we’re havin’ dumplings tonight.”
“Well, that sounds good.”
“Yup, I think she might be brewin’ somethin’ else up in there too.”
“I suppose…cookies, maybe?”
“I hope so, getting’ low. Me and the dogs, we have a few each day. Two for the dogs, two for me. Two for the dogs…”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll get you all stocked up.”
“Yup, got the freezer cleaned out for ‘er this mornin’. Lots o’ room in there now.”
“How’s the peckers?”
“Fat.” He chuckles a little bit, then says, “All they do is eat! And shit. And eat some more. Lots o’ fishers today. I think Jelly made about $350 this afternoon. New record this week.”
“Wow! Really? That’s great, Dad.”
“Ye-up. Pretty good. Wanna talk to ‘er? Don’t know what she’s doin’ right now. JELLY! PHONE! YER MA!” He’s holding the phone in the air, waiting for Julie to come get it. He doesn’t say goodbye or anything else to me. He’s not much of a phone guy, really.
“I guess you made it, huh?”
“Oh, shit, sorry, I forgot to call. Gramps and I got caught up visiting on the porch, it just slipped my mind, sorry.”
“It’s okay, I figured as much. How’s he doin’?”
“Good, Mom, seems good. Wants me to get on the scale, tell him how much I weigh. I teased him about his belly, and he swears he’s lost 20 pounds. Same ol’, same ol’. He’s way excited about cookies though, I can tell. He cleaned out the entire outside freezer this time. I’m gonna have to make a lot this time, get him REALLY stocked up. What a tard, he’s so funny, Mom. God, I love it out here. So peaceful.”
“I heard you were quite the Fish Wife today.”
“Oh, he told you that? Yeah, the big $350! But I’m sure Harv. Jr. will beat me when he gets out here, I guess he’s comin’ out in a few days, gonna fix the hatchery or something, I dunno.”
“Gramps sounds excited about dumplings too…wish I was there…sounds yummy!”
“Gosh, he told you everything already.” She laughs, “He’s a doodle, mama. Too funny.”
“How’s your brother?”
“Oh…fine I guess.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Is he standing right there or something?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“Oh, well, just tell me how he looks. Is he bigger?”
“Um, yeah, quite a bit.”
“Oh. Well, did you talk to him?”
“Not much. I tried. Not a good time I guess.”
“Alright, well, you can tell me more about it when you get back. Just try and have a good time. Be the helper. I’m sure Gramps will appreciate it. He loves his JellyBean.”
“I know, I LOVE that. I love him too, so much. I just love coming out here. I should do it more often, really.”
“You should. We’ll work it out. Anyway, just have a good time. I love you honey, tell your brother I love him too. Call me before you head home, and have fun.”
“I will, Mom, love you too. Have fun without me! Haha, don’t have too big a party though – no messes!”
“Yeah, right, big parties every night. Lots o’ boyfriends too. Think I found a hundred year old one at the store today, no teeth, maybe I’ll invite him over.” We both laugh and laugh, then say our final goodbyes and hang up.
I wonder how bad Scott is. I’m not shocked, but I’m worried for him. I think there might be something wrong in his system, something that makes his body gain weight unnaturally. He did have a lot of problems when he was a baby, all the way up through grade school, really. Maybe it’s something I did when I was pregnant with him. I did drink, and smoke, but we didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that back then. We just didn’t know. And I didn’t drink or smoke a lot. But maybe that’s it. I don’t know, I just feel there’s something wrong. We need to get him to a doctor and find out what’s happening in his body, before it’s too late to turn it around. I wish there was something more I could do.