Eww. Summer at the tip of Long Island with our long-gone friend Richard. I was in grade school. We went out into the back yard and saw these lovely swans, were ushered in immediately because apparently they’re quite mean.

Next morning Uncle Dick took us fishing. We only caught blowfish with worms that we threw back. I was seasick, of course. Uncle Dick pulled up lobster traps and he only got one thing, an eel.

I’d never seen one before. I watched him kill it by slamming it’s head on the concrete stoop. Then he placed it on the kitchen counter and made me touch it. The sliminess of its skin made my finger contract. Then the dead body started writhing around. I must have ran outside away from the swans to vomit.

No, I didn’t have eel that day. Well, one piece because I was forced to taste it. But I was a little kid and that killing was brutal and so was the creepy skin. It was a scary weekend with all the wildlife. I don’t remember what we wore but it was probably a blouse, skirt, lace anklets and Mary Janes.

A few years later we were in the driveway with yet another story, the rented RV. As we packed up to go the phone rang (pre-answering machine, much less cell phone) and Dad ran in to pick it up.

We were all in the driveway when Dad came out of the house in tears, saying that our Uncle Dick had died. Way too soon. Now I remember that trip as a joy and an adventure. He was a fisherman and probably fisher of men because he took on my dad. Cheers and best wishes, Dee


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