I am blessed to live in a town where fishing has been one of the mainstays of the local ecomony. I feel very lucky to call the fishermen my friends. Fishermen have increasingly taken a backseat to the tourists and multi-million dollar homes in Chatham. However, the Chatham Fish Pier is the one place all those tourists love to visit in the summer.
The fishermen and their families have taken some hard hits from the government in the past 12 or so years. The restrictions have been so confining that many of the men have found other jobs, have been forced to sell their boats and their homes. Many of the men started fishing with their Dads when they were little. Many of the fishermen now, do not want their children following in their footsteps.
My favorite thing about the fishing community is how loyal they are to each other. No matter how much they jockey their positions out on the sea to get the best and biggest catch, they are one family in a time of need. I have seen men gather at the Pier when a fellow fisherman’s boat sank. I have seen them come together to prepare for a hurricane or large storm. The most touching times are when a fisherman or child of a fisherman is battling a life threatening disease. The families rally, donations come in and the community comes together as one to help. I have been blessed to see this happen over and over again.
My daughter(14) went fishing one day this summer with her dad. He bought her pink fishing boots and new Grundens. He picked her up at 4:30 in the morning and by the time I saw her at 11 AM, she was laughing, joking with the crew and rinsing out fishing totes. A highlight of her day was bantering on the radio with the men who had watched her grow up. These men (and women) are the salt of the earth and I am so proud to be considered one of the family.