Thursday, May 03, 2007

Out of Context

Driving home from work today I was behind a slightly battered white truck with a camper shell on the back and one of those oval black and white stickers.

I'm sure you've seen them. We encountered them first in Europe where a two-letter abbreviation announced to the world what country you were from. I think it was to help people sneer at the right cars - terribly embarrassing if you miss out on a Belgian because he wasn't properly tagged.

I didn't pay attention to them again until California where they sprouted on cars everywhere, announcing people were from HMB or SJ or SF. Our town was too small to support its own sticker, so one enterprising neighbor snipped the H off the HMB and defiantly stuck it on his Eddie Bauer edition SUV (with gold detailing and fawn leather seats).

This one was different though - it didn't announce a place, it shouted out a way of life, and took me right back to Alaska.

Fishing for salmon is not a solo effort. Even if you don't know a soul around you, you're part of a close knit community. There are rules, and regulations - social mores if you like. I had to hear three indignant fishermen tell the same story of the idiot from the lower 48 who not only cast over other people's lines and tangled their gear, but hauled in the mess, cut the lines and then pocketed the tackle.

There is one thing you can be sure of though (unless you're the tackle thief). If you do hook a salmon, anyone worth their salt as an Alaskan will smoothly and ably help you bring that fish in. You just have to know the magic words - usually shouted triumphantly if slightly breathlessly.

Fish On.

I don't know where that truck was going, but I'm pretty sure I wanted to go there too.

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