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Here Eric shares thoughts, inspirations and his favorite recipes!

Father's Day 2012 & Fresh Fish

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

 

Okay, I’ll admit it: Pretty hard to connect Eric’s Fresh Fish Market with Father’s Day, but hang with me here, let’s see what happens.

Truth is, I opened the Market back in 2008 after my three adult children cornered  & challenged me to take a deep, hard, and long look at my life. They were concerned b/c although by that point I’d finally begun to get my life in some semblance of order, they didn’t understand any of my choices. None of them seem connected to what they knew about me growing up, under my gentle and loving guidance and direction (if you can call it that). Wall-paper Installer, House Painter, Skating Rink and Family Center Complex Manager, Restaurant Owner, Pizza Franchisee, Cemetery Plot Salesman (Favorite Sales Pitch: Got a headache today?), on up to present day, esteemed English College Professor.

Dad! What are you doing with your life? Wow. That’s always been tough to answer.

Ancient echoes in my head, a variety of concerned tones and voices resonate through my mental corridors: What do YOU want to do, Little Eric? ? ? ? ?

In all its varieties of phrasings like winter cloaks hanging in an unvisited closet full of musty scents. Hidden, always there, up in some lost room of an old mansion. Never could answer that one; at least, well enough to satisfy whomever towered over me with great paternal presence, worry carved into stern features. Instead, I preferred tossing a baseball up in the air for hours and hours in our front yard, playing imaginary baseball games, making the perfect catch and slinging a perfect strike over to catch the runner at first base. Practicing grounders, I threw the ball up against our ugly, orange Augusta, Georgia clay brick home just so the ball spun back and slithered between the bushes onto the slope where I scooped it up into my leather glove time after time until the evening sun disappeared and the folks called for bed time. So, I guess I played a lot.

Back to the Fish, though, digression comes too easily for the distracted mind.

I looked at my three adult kids, their faces engraved with the same wonder and excitement pulsing through me, seemingly unattached to any exterior force or breeze or . . . reason. Some of us are wired that way, you know? It’s always made perfect sense. Non-attachment, for us, doesn’t need to be an Eastern invasion of Western Culture and Philosophy; it was born in us, like an oak seed falls into the soil, rots and breaks open, and grows into a mighty, towering presence. Of course, I’m only 5’7”, so that’s obviously an unfinished process . . .

As for my three kids, they’re much more focused than their dad (which was actually my plan all along).

 DAD!

 Shaken back into the progeny parental cornering booth, I stared into three sets of deep, brown eyes keenly poised for my response. Well? In unison.

 Images of my students at Western flushed into my head, faces, poorly written papers and annotated bibliographies created with the most intent earnestness and dedication any professor could hope for; assignments wafted like magic carpets floating through Arabian Nights. Mr. Hendrix, Mr. Hendrix: Can I have one more week to finish this 2 page paper? You see, my excuse, excuse, apology, procrastination, dawdle-dawdle, interruption, disruption, interruption, best of intentions!!! Please!

 It was at that moment, a HUGE Fresh Fish barged into my swirling thoughts; no, not Don Knott's Incredible Mr. Limpit, but a light burst through the din of papers and excuses and voices and bureaucracy driving education today like Dawn after Dark and Thermal Thunderstorms (I just capitalized those words b/c alliterations often get lost in a sentence). Becoming aware of the room again and those huge sets of brown eyes toe-tapping impatiently for my response, LIFE! Clarity exploded in me like that oak seed penetrating the soil gulping in the first rays of sun, determined to grow bigger and stronger and sturdier than any tree in the forest.

 A mischievous smile curled across my lips and the wrinkles left my broad, sun-burnt forehead: I’m going to open a Fresh Fish Market, that’s what I’m going to do!

 DAD! Those brown eyes again . . . addled and chiming together: What’s that got to do with ….

Slipped off again, molding and shaping my thoughts, attempting to find the connection myself.

What DOES fish have to do with anything I’ve done to this point in life? Finally hit me, though; it’s simple, easy to miss and definitely not a linear thought, much less, a link, joining the various careers and projects and experiences of this journey I call, My Life.Most of which my three were born into and traveled through by my side.

The common thread weaving this old guy is that which we all share, the personal I am, unique to each one of us. Who we are in life is revealed by what we do in life. What chances taken, conventional or not; easy or difficult; painful or bursting with joy. The parallels are as myriad and diverse as the rest of life we share on this little planet-globe. I’ve been fortunate to know my share of what  happens when we step out, take chances, risks, find success or wallow in dark failure. For this, I am truly thankful.

Fresh Fish Market – Father’s Day – Me, 5’7” I am all that has gone before, am now, and embrace tomorrow. A very Happy Father's Day. How about you?