Days of Innocence

Days of Innocence

A Story by Tom

An introspective story of an innocent childhood.

Days of Innocence
By Tom Kidd

I use to play on this dock. The sun was warm, and the breeze was cool. Sometimes I would feel like running and jumping over the moorings that kept all the fishing boats up close to the docks. Then, sometimes, I just felt like hanging a line off the dock, and just sitting quietly, feeling the contradiction of the cool breeze and the warm sun on my face. My reverie would be broken by a string of profanity, directed at me for blocking the only spot Andrew's boat would fit.
Oh, sure, it would fit down on the end, but that is where the shrimp boats would tie off.
" By God, I'd sink her first, as to tie her up next to them... BUG NETTERS!" He would always shout.
There was quite a difference between Fishermen, and Shrimpers. Kinda like upper and lower class...
As if one were better than the other.
Seems like to me, at the end of the day, they both smell like fish!
I would sit and smile at the irony. Andrew would stomp around and rant about the Shrimpers, while everyone knew that his wife, Carla, is a Shrimper's daughter.
Andrew is an interesting man (when he isn't throwing one of his tantrums.)
I love to sit and listen to him talk about the day's events, while he repairs his rigging before he goes home.
On, and on, he would talk about, this one breached three times, or that one made a run that nearly took my rig.
Then there was the time one dove straight down and nearly pulled the boat down with it.
I might believe that one, because his boat looks like the wake off of a guppy could capsize it.
It is an old boat. Even by fisherman's standards. Most of the railings are weathered and broken. It also looks as though all of the paint is peeled and the wood beneath is rotting.
A faint outline of the name,"Miss Carla," can be seen on the front and back of the boat.
I thought that boat would have sunk long before now..... However, it looks exactly the same as it did three
years ago. That's when I first encountered ANDREW....
Yup! Some things never change!
So, here I am, scrambling to get out of his way while he maneuvers his boat up against the dock. " Make yourself useful," he shouted as he tossed me the bowline. I grabbed the line and started pulling the boat closer to the dock.
"Don't pull so hard! You'll pull the front right off that ole barge!" I hear someone shout from behind me in a rough Portuguese accent. Then he chuckled as he walked away.
Andrew didn't even look up from what he is doing. He is use to them poking fun at his boat. He tells me it's because they are jealous of the amount of fish she hauls in each day. There could be some truth to that. It does pull in the most fish, but she is the worse looking boat on the dock.
I tell him it's because she is infested with barnacles. This earns me a sideways grin, and a fish thrown at me!

It's not long before we get the Carla secured to the dock and we start to unload the day's haul. As we get closer to finishing the offload, I begin to get excited, anticipating the sounds and smells of this time of day. The sounds of the old sea songs start rising into the air to mingle with the salty sea air, and the smells of the fresh catch. Combine that with the warmth of the sun, and the cool island breeze; that's the magic you just can't get out of your blood!
I heard of a fisherman, once, who moved to Montana. He lasted three days before he dried up and fell to the ground like a pile of dust. I don't believe it happened, because what fisherman, in his right mind, would leave the ocean?

As the sun slowly settles in for the night, there is a subtle change in the island air. Sure the breeze is getting cooler, and the warmth of the sun is fading. These things are true. To the tourists, this is all they will notice. To the locals, it is something all together different. It is, as if, the island's innocence sneaks off to hide, while the red lights come on, one by one.

Slowly, I open my eyes as I try to shake the cob webs of the night's sleep from my head.
The sound of the waves, and the cry of the seagulls tells me that a fresh new day is about to begin. The feel of the darkness from the night before has subsided, being replaced by the newness of innocence once again.
In a rush, I dress, grab my fishing tackle, and hurry across the cool sand towards the docks. The sand, which is usually hot and difficult to walk through, is pleasantly cool, not having sufficient time to heat up.
I arrive on the docks just in time to see all the fishing boats getting underway. I think to myself, if only I had a boat of my own, I could be one of those, setting out for a full day of fishing.

© 2017 Tom

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Added on September 17, 2017
Last Updated on September 17, 2017



Fouke, AR

I am an electrician, husband, father, grandfather, Marine, and amateur writer of poetry and short stories. At 54 years old, I have plenty of life experiences to draw upon. more..

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