Cancer and Dorados
I'll be awake way before the crack of dawn tomorrow. I'll jump out of bed, and whip through the morning bathroom routine. I'll get dressed hastily, slipping on the pair of shorts and Guy Harvey tee shirt I'll lay out tonight before going to bed. I'll make sure I have all my accoutrement - sunscreen, hat, pliers, extra shirt, cooler - laid out by the front door. I'll grab my keys, kiss the still sleeping wife goodbye and load up the truck. I'll come back into the house, make sure I have all I need and as Im walking out the door Ill grab my trusty Ugly Stick/Penn spinner rod and reel combo.
Yes, tomorrow I go fishing. But it gets better.
I'm going fishing with the man that taught me to fish, my Godfather Ismael.
Tio Ismael has been out with us once before, back in 2006, right after he'd been through chemotherapy for cancer of the esophagus:
It will be very special for me and, to be honest, I dont really care if I hook a dorado or not. Id prefer Tio Ismael catch one, or two, or three. I've got a good 30 or so summers left, you see. This is Tio Ismael's 88th summer of fishing.
Things really do go full circle in life. "Ten cuidado con Valen," Tia Ondina would say when he'd take me fishing as a boy. Be careful with Valen. "Cuidamelo" my mom would tell him.
Now it's "take care of your uncle" and "make sure your uncle is ok."
I might have to hook the bait for him this year like he did for me when I was a kid. Maybe I'll tie his knots as well, help him reel in his fish if I see he cant. And yeah, I'll be heeding my mom and aunt's advice and will worry about him. I'll be taking real good care of him, as he always did for me.
We'll be out on the boat tomorrow, searching for the weedlines that hide our fishy prey and Tio Ismael will be fishing there next to me, just like we've done for years and years. And I'll wonder, as he stares out at the ocean in front of us, if he'll be thinking about the time he taught me to knot my first hook or if he'll remember being a kid in a Cuba very different than today's, fishing alongside his Godfather.