It seems like it was not all that long ago as I look at these pictures, but 1987 is a bit back there in the rear-view mirror. I was 21 years old (several years younger than my son is now), full of fresh hopes and dreams, and not really thinking about a time when my parents would no longer be around. My mom has now been gone for 17 years next month; my dad passed away Valentine’s Day 2012. So to find these memories was a delight.
For whatever reason, on a warm summer morning all those years ago, I grabbed my camera (a Canon T70 film camera) and captured these quiet moments with my dad while he cleaned some haddock.
To clean or fillet (pronounced “fill-it” not “fill-ay“, thank you very much) a fish can be challenging, not to mention messy, unless you have some experience. As a fisherman, my dad would have filleted many o’ fish. His technique was fast, slick and with very little waste. On this particular morning, he had backed his truck up so as not to be too far from the backdoor of the house where my mom would take the fillets inside to rinse off with cold water then wrap them up in meal portions to store in the freezer.
Fish was a staple in my parents house. It’s still my favourite even though we had it often. My mom was a master at experimenting with new recipes to make each fish meal different than the next. However, her pan-fried fish was the best! Relatives would come from as far away as Ontario on their annual summer vacation to Nova Scotia to have a feed of Mom’s pan-fried fish, homemade bread and pies. Mmmm…I just couldn’t talk about Dad cleaning fish without talking about Mom’s cooking.
I look at these photos and start to take notice of the details – the homemade cutting board, the knife with the worn wooden handle, the rose bushes against the house, even Dad’s “dungarees”. But most of all I remember Dad. I had to crawl up on the back of the truck to get a few of these shots and he was content to just go about the task at hand.
It’s been a while since I did my last post, but after finding these old slides I decided to convert them and share them with you. The composition and quality isn’t my best, but the memories are no less sweet.