Captain Monty has posted this on socialized media today, and I just want to pass it along. Read it closely and think about those we have come to know through fishing....
Not a lot of folks will remember me hollering to fish cleaner Charlie everyday. Used to either be that or, "put your knives away, Charlie" while making the old wooden Angler fast after a day's fishing. I was working deck then, would jump into the fish shack with him if he was busy.
Clearing backlashed rental rods after scrubbing the boat, (or sometimes casting competitions among mates,) meant an 8 oz sinker on a rental rod cast underhand at the huge steel NO WAKE sign by the 50 drawspan. A loud BANG got you a point, (and usually yelled at by the bridge tender.)
Had a Greener harpoon gun then too, just like in Jaws. More noise.. We'd occasionally practice by shooting a thick styrofoam cooler drifting down current. Never did use it at sea. Still, wish I hadn't sold it..
Boys on the Slick Chick (had the state record mako a long while,) they gave Charlie a skinned bear paw. Looked just like a human hand after Charlie flattened it some with a hammer. Wasn't long when I'd cut the jaws from a sand tiger shark and snuck that 'hand' down that shark's throat. Sure enough, some youngster asked if I would cut the belly open..
The police left when Charlie quietly convinced them to count the 'fingers' - six - while loudly asking what I'd done with the ring. "I know I saw a ring!"
A great friend, he came over the other side of the Rt 50 Bridge when the Nichols family hired me to run their 88 foot supercruiser, the OC Princess in 1991.
Only time Charlie ever got mad was when we set off some waterproof cherry bombs. (Probably planning to eradicate sea bass in a different fashion.) After yelling at us to knock it off, he came aboard and told us a bit about his time in the service. He'd been a combat engineer in WWII - he'd done Africa then D-Day; built bridges into Germany....
Though a student of history, I never had much of a feel for what he'd been through until the beginning of the movie, Saving Private Ryan. That about wrecked me. Charlie'd been right there. Very few in his company survived. Never before or since has a movie left me like that.
Charlie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1994; went on up to the VA and his surgeon nicked a bowel. Passed soon after. Summer - I couldn't attend his service. Not many did. Army did it right though - full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Took me 25 years to pay my respects. Glad I did.
He was a good man.