By Sheila Dassatt
Today is the day that the clocks went back, which I always have to remind myself which direction that it goes in, so I remember the phrase, fall back and spring forward. I admit, my stomach usually tells me it’s lunch time or supper time an hour sooner than the clock says, until I get used to the time change! Even better, tell the dog that, too.
Fall back can take on a lot of meaning, which is why I chose that title. It can mean a lot of things in life, such as, have you ever seen an athlete perform something special and fall back into the crowd? They are actually so excited, that they have the faith that the crowd will catch him. Now I’m not so sure about that, if I gave it a try. It is actually a way to enforce having trust in a person, when they tell you to close your eyes and fall back and they tell you that they will catch you.
There has been so much change this year with the fishery, that I’d have to say that when it comes to our economy, with the price of the lobsters and the price of bait and fuel, we have all fallen back. We have all been working our ______s off, always hoping for that good haul that will put us in the black instead of the red. I do not want to sound like I am repeating my article every month, so I will try to move forward.
Tuesday of this week is election day, which I stated in my D.E.L.A. report. This can have a big effect on our future personally and within the fishing industry. My biggest problem with this is, if you listen to all of the campaign ads, pro and con, they are all accusing each other of being liars, so who do we believe? Honestly, I want to vote for the best candidate that I know that I can trust. I admit, we should all vote if we want to try to make a change in our near future, but for the first time in my life, I am apprehensive.
Do we want to fall back or move forward? By the time that you read this article, I understand that it will already be decided. Let’s hope that we can trust each and every one of the candidates and feel that they have our better interest in mind.
I am seeing more and more ads for selling lobster fishing operations, which is another issue about going backwards. Please, don’t throw in the towel on just watching the news and social media alone. Yes, we have had quite a year, but we also do not give up just yet. Back in 2005, we sold our boat to a person that promised that they would refurbish her and use her as a pleasure boat. This was one of the biggest mistakes of our lives, because not only did they let the boat fall into disrepair, she fell apart in their back yard.
Mike and I still regret it to this day. My Dad was fishing with us at the time, and we went into a little bit larger fishing boat, which we never regretted. Dad was able to stay on the water with us right up to his last year, which he made it to 88 years. He was so much happier when he was lobstering, which he did most of his life. He taught us so much about fishing, not just lobstering, but putting out trawls for halibut too. When all else failed, we did quite a bit of throwing out a line just to catch a mackerel or two. I also have a picture of the three of us picking pogies out of a gillnet. This is a life style that you just can’t sell out of and hope that you will stay fulfilled, especially if it is in your blood. I’m talking about a way of life, so please, “never give up.” It isn’t so easy to replace what you have once it is gone, especially your lobster license.
Speaking of falling back, I can remember when my family moved us to Belfast because the fishery was failing at the time. Dad took a job on the tugboats to help us survive. I was just a little girl, and those tugs seemed so big compared to our fishing boat. There were ladders that were long and wobbly, with chicken grease and bunka sea (bilge oil) all over them. I was lifted and passed from ladder to ladder, depending on how many tugs were tied together at the dock. I had to believe my Dad, when he had me under his arm and told me not to worry, he would not drop me, and he never did. This was how we spent time with him, as he would have a nightly watch on the tugs. It was quite something, and I will never forget it. He would let me blow the whistle when we came into the harbor after docking a ship in Searsport which was a big deal for a young girl.
Belfast has definitely changed since those days, the harbor has been cleaned up, the poultry plants are gone and new folks to the area would never know the working town that it once was. But this was the town that I remember growing up in. It was full of some great memories, that my generation can hold onto and cherish.
Now, spring forward, we are back home now, Mike and I have brought our boat, Saving Grace to Stonington, which is where she is meant to be. I am able to re-connect with my childhood friends and encourage our friends and family to come and visit us when they have a chance. Times are tough for the fishery, but we are in a village that helps one another and will not give up the battle.