The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 114

by Bruce Colbert "Y Dark as Dutch Chocolate ou either come, or you don’t!” was the way my poet cousin phrased it before hanging up the telephone, demonstrating her general disinterest, or perhaps boredom, with anything concerning my present life, or ‘my issues’ as she liked to call them. I called them concerns, or questions. Hillary had been the first grandchild in the family, the eldest daughter of my late aunt Sarah whom I adored although we rarely saw her after they settled in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he husband Eric had been a well-known oceanographer, a watery trade which seemingly had room for even the most bizarre of scientists. His specialty was the popular Great White shark, though he was also a world-renown authority on plankton for some reason. With the release of the hit movie Jaws, he had become a sought after keynote speaker, and made enough money from these after dinner speeches to allow them to buy a quaint, Victorian rose-covered cottage on Nantucket, a location both he and his Atlantic fish charges seemed to favor. We had visited them on the island once, just after I had graduated from Berkeley. He had told the story of sharks for years over cocktails all those summers, and usually a handful of writers from the art colony on the Island were always guests; he liked an audience and was a natural spinner of sea yarns, so when the book Jaws hit the New York Times Bestseller list, the top book for two years running, it was no surprise to Hillary. She remembered the writer: he was a local guy from a rather famous literary family that summered on the Island from New York, and what angered her most, was there was no acknowledgement, not a word in the book, thanking her late father. The little bastard, this upstart writer, and he was small guy too, a runt, she told me. I recall that summer trudging along the beach with Eric one morning, when he always took his two mile walk, and he stopped me, and said, “look!” pointing seaward. “What?” I answered. “Over there,” he indicated with his index finger, excited. “What is it? I can’t see anything!” “Dorsal fin, a big one, maybe twenty feet, could be more!” he proudly announced. “Shark!” “Of course.” “No way, I’m swimming here, no way,” I told him, shaking my head. I had taken a commission as a new officer in the Navy much to the surprise of my Berkeley friends, so I made a mental note of the dorsal fin, in case I saw one of his brethren from the deck of a destroyer, or at worse, next to my life jacket