I’m fortunate to have a friend like I do. She is so special I named my mountain bike after her. Some may not view this as a compliment but I assure you it is. For one thing I love my cycle, not to mention said bike is sexy, rowdy and awesome. All attributes that the real life Tabby possess in abundance.
Of all my friends Tabby is the one that I share a special love and interest with. Now don’t assume this takes anything away from my other friendships, it isn’t actually like that at all. The special activity that strengthens my bond and friendship with Tabs is not actually something I want to share with everyone. In fact I prefer that Tabby is the only other girl I know who enjoys this art, that we share, it makes it even more special when we get together. To better explain I will travel back to the first time we shared our love.
Over the roar of the helicopter blades I shouted, “Dad, why on earth did you purchase a business someplace you have to fly to?”
“It’s amazing isn’t it?” he replied, either not hearing or ignoring my question.
Through the glass window of the flying machine which incased us I could see a few buildings surrounded by forest and then ocean. Miles and miles of clear freezing ocean. It was breathtaking, the glaciers in the far distance and the snow covered peaks in the other. Somewhat like the Scandinavian scenery I’d come used to from visits to my grandparents. This was different though, we didn’t take a helicopter to see my grandparents and cousins. No, that was simple a flight to an airport then a car ride.
When the helicopter gently landed blowing snow up in puffs I was convinced my father had lost his mind. As we exited and made our way towards what appeared to be a shed the helicopter lifted and roared off into the distance. Now I was sure of it, he was nuts!
“Dad, ummm… They are leaving us here?” I half asked, half complained.
“Don’t worry Alison, they will be back,” spoke Paul the third member of our traveling party.
With the torment of the helicopter gone it was apparent that the snow was just a light dusting not even an inch and the shed was in fact a shed. However, beside the shed I noticed a white Ford F250. As we approached I quickly realized a young girl set upon its hood viciously chewing an enormous wad of something. My pondering of the substance that filled her mouth was quickly clarified as a giant pink bubble appeared from between her lips.
The girl, slightly shorter than me was clad in white snowboarding pants and a bright pink hoodie, blonde curls hung loosely from beneath a powder blue beanie. She looked as though she was oblivious to the remote desolation of the place. As we came closer she bounced from the hood of the truck with a pop of an enormous pink bubble.
“Hey, I’m Tabby but you can call me Tabs.” She stated and before any of our party could respond in cheerful tone she continued on, “my dad sent me here to pick you guys up and I thought you were never gonna get here, I guess it hasn’t been that long but I kinda have a short attention span. You all ever been to Alaska before? I’m guessing not, most people haven’t. I myself have never been anyplace else… Well kinda not anyhow, I mean I’ve been on the ocean and to Vancouver and Anchorage, well Anchorage is still Alaska technically I guess but it’s not really. You know what I mean?”
With a pause not long enough for anyone to answer, she continued on. “I guess we should get going my Dad is waiting to meet you and well I think he’s frying Salmon and that’s worth rushing back for. In account that he’s a decent cook and all.”
At that point we all began pilling into the pickup. I was so amazed by Tabby’s lack of coyness that until the diesel truck stirred to life that she was obviously not older than myself and I had a year to go before I was old enough to legally obtain my learners permit. When this fact came to my realization and I was about to inquire about legality of her driving, with some strange mind reading skill she began to speak.
“You look like your my age, 13 almost 14,” she said looking at me in the rear view mirror as the truck threw gravel and we headed down a dirt road. “Papa Grizzly, thats the name I call my dad, said your Dad had a daughter about my age. Boy I’m glad you came, tomorrow we can go fly-fishing unless you only fish with a spinning reel in witch case we can do something else, cause I don’t city fish and I’m not of much use as an instructor.”
“I love to fly-fish but I didn’t bring a rod or tackle.” looking around at the miles of what appeared to be nothing I quickly added, “and I don’t have a license, nor see anyplace to get one.”
“I’m sure you could get one in town but if your with me you don’t really need one. It’s not tourist season and well even if a warden was about I’m certain I know him. What I’m saying is don’t worry about it we don’t need licenses.”
This disregard for a need for legal licensing was no real surprise to me due to the current circumstance. The one lane gravel road was now winding down a coast line and in the distance I could see a harbor with boats and what looked like a small town. As we came closer our unlikely escort told us that what I had expected was true it in fact was town and the harbor. Then with a sudden jerk the truck turned and bounded up a steeper rougher road into the woods.
“That’s our house there,” Tabby announced as we approached a beautiful two story cabin that appeared to be out of a movie, nestled in amongst the wilderness. As the truck slid to a halt, I understood why she could drive us. We hadn’t seen another vehicle or person the entire trip. However what I was still clueless about was how did she acquire the skills to do the task? It was apparent that her life was drastically different than mine.
Again as if reading my mind Tabby spoke. “Hey, come meet my dog. His names Burt! You guys can just go on in the house, my Dad will hear you open the door and come greet you.”
To my surprise my father thanked her for the ride, told her he was pleased to meet her and headed for the house. To my complete astonishment Paul patted our driver on the headed and followed my father. This left me completely baffled… My Dad was going to just walk in their house and Paul was affectionate towards a stranger. My world was flipped I was blown away, nothing at all seemed to make any sense.
It was the strangest moment of my life, my father, had purchased a commercial fishing business and had brought me along to Alaska to meet the former owners. Then once we arrived had left me alone and walked without knocking into a strangers home. None of it made sense.
Tabby’s spidee senses again kicked in, “So you know it’s a big deal to us.”
Before I could ask what was a big deal. Having visitors, meeting normal people, entertaining guests, she continued after popping a bubble. “What your Dads doing and all. Him saving the boats from the bank and giving my Dad control of the business and all. Like so you know my Dads not lazy and he does a good job with the company. The economy is just bad and the price of fish down, we will pay you all back you know. My Dad says your Dad just is signing it all over to him, without a contract or anything and it’s a big deal. Anyways, what I’m saying is like I want to go fishing tomorrow though and it’s nothing to do with the business and all. But still it’s a big deal and thanks, but don’t think I owe you anything.”
In a moment of clarity I gained a level of respect for my father that I have never explained to him, he still doesn’t know that I am aware of why we now have friends in Alaska. What I didn’t realize was I’d myself just made an incredible friend. A loving, loyal, kinda wild and crazy friend and the only girlfriend I have who loves to fly-fish almost as much as I do.
So, as summer approaches and I plan another annual trip to Alaska to see Tabs, I’m also reminded by the actions of my father. Be kind and helpful to good deserving people but don’t do it so you can brag and gain credit do it because it’s simply the right thing to do.