Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sea Stories

Right after my high school graduation in the early 80s, I had the opportunity to work as a deckhand on some of the charter fishing boats out of Newport. Those were some of the best years for me, I learned to love being out on the ocean with her many moods and to love fishing, watching whales, birds, and all the amazing life that resides out there.

That was when I met Corky Knutson. He has been a commercial fisherman out of Newport for over 40 years. A well-known salt who has Captained many draggers, shrimpers and crabbers… he’s done it all and really spent his time out there. He switched from commercial fishing to charter fishing during the days when I was a deckhand. Says he switched because wanted to come ashore every night. I get that.

He is a very intelligent man, and recites poetry with such salty flair, he is a joy to sit and chat with. He looks the part of the old salt too, his hair is white now and he’s 65 years old, tall and lanky… says he wants to give up his 3-pack-a-day cigarette habit and switch to a pipe. That will be the icing on the cake.

Corky lost his lady love last August and he has been grieving like no one I’ve ever seen. A couple of months ago, he started calling and coming to visit with me, had me restore some photos for him and we spent some time talking about things… he credits me with helping him get back out into the world and wanting to live again. I’m tickled that I could help.

Corky took me out to dinner last night, and we went up to Depoe Bay to the Sea Hag because he likes the musician who sings there, Michael Dane. So we had some dinner (oysters, yum…) and some drinks and chatted with people as they came and went and watched Michael sing and play the keyboards and guitar.

Gracie herself showed up and played the bottles, that was a real treat. She is such a neat lady, a real character. In fact she has a new biography out now and I got her to sign a copy for me. Woo hoo! Corky wants to write a book of his own and I really hope he gets going on that soon.

The music set was over and they were closing up shop when Michael recognized Corky’s deep, distinctive voice from across the room and came over to greet him. Then he sat down with us and his guitar and sang to us. It was such a fun time there, icon-filled and memorable.

Corky wanted to go dancing so we ended up at Moby Dick’s where it was karaoke night. That was interesting. Ran into a few people I knew and met some new ones too.

So, a salty Saturday night on the beautiful Oregon coast. What fun!! I love where I live.

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