The Fisherman's Gift
Several months after a divorce, when my sons were quite young, I made a decision to move to Kodiak, Alaska to help start a radio station. Still in my twenties, it was a bold move. Dad and mom, and the rest of the family thought I was nuts, so did my friends. Other than two people, I didn't know a soul on the seemingly desolate island in the Gulf of Alaska. It was my first time away from home too, other than college.
Up until then, my life had been rather protected. Family support and comfort was always readily available. We'd been there a few weeks when, on Christmas Eve, the blues moved in like a powerful storm front. Limited funds and loneliness were taking their toll. Driving from the supermarket with a carton of eggnog and a few scant groceries for the holiday, I was having strong misgivings about my decision.
My two little boys sat quietly in the backseat, no doubt picking up on mom's anxiety. I fought back tears. Our apartment was okay, but nothing like the home we'd left behind. What had I done? Kodiak gets some pretty epic winter weather and this night was no exception. Mixed rain and snow hammered at the windshield and, on occasion, heavy gusts of wind pushed at the side of the car causing it to sway. I felt alone and vulnerable.
We were at a stop light, close to home, when the driver of a truck behind me flashed his lights. My rear view mirror reflected the pulsing glare. Next, he hit the horn several times. Seconds later, I was startled to see a big burly fisherman appear at the side window. Gruff and disheveled, he asked if I wanted a King Crab. He'd sold most of his catch at the docks, but had one large one left to unload before heading back home.
He placed the big box with crab in the trunk and with a quick wave and a Merry Christmas, was off. Suddenly, the spirit of the season filled the car. Playfully, I told the kids our mysterious fisherman was no doubt Santa in disguise. Their eyes sparkled as they continued to ask me more questions throughout the rest of the evening. Our dingy little apartment felt alive with laughter, hope, and Christmas cheer.
Suffice to say, that special Christmas Eve gift from a stranger remains one of my all time favorite memories. You just never know.