Take some time and spend it
August 22, 2011
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Well, the show wasn't bad, for sure. The reception wasn't so great because I was way the heck out in Homer, Alaska, and I tried so hard to hear the whole show and I think by now I have heard it all after tuning in to the Prairie Home website, which is a godsend if I may say so.
To sum up those six days with my father in Alaska in one word is about as impossible as standing on one's head on a trampoline. I could say it was fun, but I can say just about anything is fun. Sex can be fun, and eating cheese, and mowing the lawn. This was something else. It was a journey and when our plane landed here in the Midwest, my home, I was changed. Not a different woman, but different.
I caught a lot of fish. We did. Our limit of halibut and salmon in two days, and more than our limit, along with a number of sharks and odd fish I was not able to name. It rained nearly the entire trip, with sun at the beginning and the end, but it didn't matter much. We had enough conversation to keep us going awhile, and some amazing meals including Alaskan King crab legs and rockfish and steamed clams which I have never before eaten, and some moments of silence together in landscapes it seems silly to photograph. How do you fit a mountain and all it is into a photo?
I know my father better now. He is a good man, a hard working, kind man who loves his wife and his children and his grandchildren and who gave much of his life to countless thousands of students, teaching them the intricacies of the natural world, the periodic chart, the human body. He's at a fine place, where his passion for hunting and fishing takes him to fields and waters near and far, where he encounters people he knows everywhere he goes, and his blue-eyed smile, in sixty-some years, has not lost its charm.
It wasn't so much a fishing trip to Alaska, really. It was time with the man who raised me, an opportunity to find each other again -- which we did -- and a stretch of days where what makes life really beautiful rose up out of the waves and swells and currents, sweet and scaled and shining, arcing against the horizon.
Find your parents and be with them a while, each alone or together, however it may go. Your children, too. Take some time and spend it. The laundry will be there, always. And so will the dishes, and the lawn needing a good mow. Onward, then, to the next thing.
Here's a recipe from my father, a lovely, simple meal of fish. Try it with corn on the cob, blueberry muffins, maybe some fried potatoes. Cherry pie for dessert. His favorite.
Alaska Halibut Royale
1 1/2 lb halibut filets
1 cup dry white wine
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced green onions
Combine wine and salt; pour over halibut. Marinate in refrigerator for a good hour. Drain halibut on paper towel and dip each side in bread crumbs. Place in shallow buttered baking dish. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and green onion and spread over halibut. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until halibut flakes when nudged with a fork.
Makes 4 servings.