The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

The Mighty Fisherman

Posted · 6 Comments


He's out there somewhere...waiting to drop off a load of fish and head back out.

Four days now, Billy has been gone on the fishing boat where he makes his summer living.  At seventeen, he’s one of thousands of kids in Alaskan waters earning more than most teens around the world ever dreamed.

(Read last summer’s post about Billy’s job here…When The Boy Becomes A Man)

Day four...looking a little weary...

He’s been texting me from aboard the boat these past days, attaching photos, complaining of no fish to be found, or bragging about the big bucks he’s made that day.

“The power reel went out and I brought the nets in by hand.  1600 fish in the hold.  We’re full and going in.”

“I just want to lay down for days…”

“Today kicked my ass…”

“Not coming home tomorrow. Don’t know when.”

“Loaded with fish.”

“Perfect out here, so nice but no fish.”

“I’m so sun burnt.”

“Can’t wait to get off the boat!”

“I’m quite far from shore.”

“Mom, look at the sunset!”

“I didn’t have my motion sickness pills…it SUCKED!”

“Mommmmaa…I’m coming HOOOMMMMEEE!”

In a couple of days he’ll drag in here, probably about four in the morning with the tide, drop his fishing clothes on the porch, rummage the fridge for a quick bite, and then disappear into his room for about sixteen hours where he’ll sleep deeply, dreaming of tossing fish from net to hold, from hold to tender.

And by the summer’s end, he’ll swear he’ll never work fish again.

Billy's view from the boat tonight...

But the fact is, he’s been ruined. He will never again be satisfied with minimum wage and tending a drive-thru for pennies will never again be an option in his young, dollar-driven mind.  He’ll forever seek the mighty dollar of the open seas where he learned work ethics and spent his youth.

6 Responses to "The Mighty Fisherman"
  1. Jessica Corcoran says:

    Its great to read about young men learning work ethic and how to work hard. It’s rare these days. I own a food concession stand and much like the fishing boats we are seasonal, long hard days, away from your family and great pay if you can stick it out. We have a young man this year that is so thankful – but I have dealt with so many that sit, complain, and quit – running home to mommy to be honest. I think this is so good for them 🙂

  2. christi says:

    Yep. Totally ruined. Hard working young man who wants to provide for himself, a young man who can value a beautiful sunset, a young man who texts his momma with his delights and frustrations–totally ruined. 😉

  3. Marcia says:

    I totally agree with Jim (above). I love reading all your posts about your kids. It is so inspiring. I am trying to enjoy the ages my kids are at now, but I can’t wait to see what they become when they “grow up”. I bet it is so cool to see the “fruits of your labor” with Billy and seeing what a responsible young man he has turned out to be. My 16-year-old niece has just found out she is pregnant. No job. No car. No license. No diploma. No money. no education. I keep praying for her and her boyfriend. They were over yesterday for about 4 hours and luckily, he seems mature like Billy and is trying to step up and be the “man”. he spend the 4 hours he was here on-line and making phone calls trying to find a job. Please say some prayers for them. So proud of you and your boy. : )

  4. Jim Collins says:

    Keri…You have written another great piece. But I take exception, to just one part of it. He may have spent his youth (two summers)and he may be “hooked” on making the “BIG Bucks”, but his “work ethic”, wasn’t learned at sea….he brought that to the sea with him. No, he got that “work ethic”, from home…from you and hubby. You are right, about him wanting to continue making his summer treks, to the open-sea, because of the money. But, pat yourself on the back, for a “job-well-done”, in raising a very decent young man.

  5. Such beautiful pictures! You must be so proud of him: he’s learnt that hard work reaps rewards!

  6. It’s too bad more kids don’t learn these things. Of course they’d have a heck of a time doing that in Michigan, but too many kids have few (or no) work ethics. They’re just showing up to collect a paycheck, they take no pride in a job well done, and their attitudes leave a little to be desired. I’m not saying all of them, but there are enough.

    Your kids are great. They’re learning about things that really matter. Ever thought about giving parenting lessons? 🙂

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