Recently I wrote a blog entry called How Soon We Forget, about a unique encounter I had with a fisherman on the job, and how I reacted when he passed away. That was a story that has weighed heavily on my mind for years, and it was good to get it out.
There have been further developments since that posting. I had mentioned that StoryCorps wanted to include the story in their upcoming anthology, but their fact checkers couldn’t seem to corroborate it.
Well, just the other day one of the fact checkers contacted me with a link to a brief article in the Jacksonville paper. Yay! Vindication!
Well, sort of. The Florida Times-Union isn’t exactly known for getting their facts straight, but still, it’s unsettling see how different their version of events was.
First of all, my old fisherman was only 51, a year older than I am now. Either the man didn’t age well or it was a different guy. But I never saw my old fisherman again, so that would be a strange coincidence.
Also, he wasn’t found in the boat. They found the boat on the shore, the engine still running, and they found his body a mile further down, about 12 hours later. That must have been horrible for his family.
In addition, he did have a job, so he wasn’t the content retiree I imagined him to be. I had this whole story about him in my head that was based on nothing. And that got me thinking about truth and my version thereof, and reality, and the way we perceive one another, and the way we fill in the blanks without even acknowledging that there are blanks.
But most importantly, they claimed that he went out at 3 pm on this particular fishing trip, so maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the last person to see him alive after all. So I think it’s time for me to lay this burden down. Maybe now we can both rest in peace.
I decided it would be good for me to lay it to rest by telling the whole story at Fresh Ground Stories, a fantastic storytelling group that I sporadically attend here in Seattle. You can hear a recording of it here. At the end of the story it automatically starts playing two other stories I’ve told, so just stop it if you don’t want to hear them all. But let me know what you think!