Skeeter's Song

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I remember when I first knew,
I'd someday have a son.
Long before most think of it,
I was looking forward to that run.

Twelve years old, sitting on a net pile,
Watching my father's hands,
It dawned on me,
I too, soon would be a man.

Just a simple lesson in splicing,
But abruptly so much more to me.
Because suddenly I was filled,
With a deep and hungry need.

In that moment's time I passed,
From boyhood to man.
Sitting there in the sun,
Watching my father's hands.

Looking into his face,
That I loved with all my soul,
I knew without a doubt,
I'd someday play that role.

Son and Father, Father and Son,
What I was and knew would be.
I couldn't wait for the second role,
I knew would someday come to me.

I had a King crabber in the ship yard,
When he came into this world,
It's hard to keep your focus,
When wondering, Boy or Girl.

My father made the call,
Said, "Well the baby's finally here."
But when asked whither boy or girl,
He just didn't seem to hear.

Every time I asked,
He just told me who else was fine.
Wife was, baby was, Mom was, he was, doctor was,
He ducked the question every time.

But my father wasn't a cruel man,
And he quickly had his fun.
He said, "Well boy, you did good!"
"You finally have your son!"

Of course he was a junior,
Even his nickname was mine as a kid.
Guess I hoped to see myself,
In everything he did.

I only held him a couple times,
Then back to the Bering Sea for another round.
Where four long hard months later,
My King Crab boat went down.

No Mayday, Just a half-swamped, storm-tossed raft,
That took an off-shore line.
I'd hardly even held my son,
But it seemed I was out of time.

It was a dark, bitter irony,
To have the son I'd wanted for so long,
And here I was about to leave,
Just when he'd finally come along!

But we were rescued, though it seems,
A miracle to this day.
Wither miracle or luck,
Guess only God can say.

A long convalescence from frost bite,
Gave me a lot of time at home.
Watched my son take his first steps,
And come into his own.

Well, babies all seem about the same,
But his personality soon began to show.
I think God's most precious gift to us,
Is watching our children grow.

He was two when I next went North,
It was our first time apart.
Having to pry his fingers from my coat,
Was a direct blow to my heart.

He'd just seemed to know I was leaving,
And held on with all his might.
Though it broke my heart, I had to go,
I had to catch a flight.

So, I bought a family troller,
To fish down here off the coast.
My priorities had changed,
I'd rather have my children close.

Skeeter started fishing at three years old,
Wish I'd taken him with me more.
But you just can't fish as tough,
With little kids aboard.

He was such a tender-hearted boy,
Just pleasing seemed to be his goal.
Watching him laugh and play,
We seemed bonded to the soul.

You know he used to laugh so hard,
His eyes would squeeze tight shut.
And when I had to scold him,
It was a double edged cut.

When as a kid I used to hear,
"This hurts me more than you."
But it wasn't until I had to do it,
That I found out that was true.

Yeah, he got his share of discipline,
But there was a lot I just let go.
Cause I recognized that 'Tom Sawyer spirit',
He too had in his soul.

The winter he was seven,
I pulled him out of school.
There's more ways than one,
To learn how not to be a fool.

He spent that winter with my crew and me,
Learning to be a man.
I've got to say, he learned it quick,
And turned out a right good hand.

He even learned the tows and marks,
And handled the boat just fine.
Whenever I'd glance up to the bridge,
His grin towards me would shine.

Nothing could make a fisherman prouder,
Than to watch his young son handle their boat.
I doubt there was a happier, prouder father,
On land or afloat.

Several years later in Alaska,
Skeeter got his first big buck.
He'd hunted and stalked it hard, alone,
Had nothing to do with luck.

You know I still watch that hillside,
I guess I'm hoping for some luck,
To catch a glimpse of the ghost of my son,
Stalking the ghost of that big buck.

My father had raised me wild and free,
And I tried to give him that same space.
But I was always haunted by the feeling,
My sone wasn't long for this place.

A beautiful sunlit day in June,
Special made for a boy in his skiff.
A warm, sparkling, sunny day,
That seemed, it's self a special gift.

My father and son, off on a lark,
A short skiff ride around the bay.
It was Skeeter's day to do what he wished.
He turned fourteen that day.

But the sunlight turned hard and garish,
Everything seemed painted black.
As the reality hit home,
That they were never coming back!

The anguish of the search,
I can't begin to tell.
The hope, the fear, the reality,
I'll just say...I've already been to Hell!

Afraid I wouldn't, then afraid I would,
Find what my son had left behind,
Searching, searching, that cold clear water,
Can just about take your mind!

My son is gone before his time,
Seemed I'd barely begun to teach.
But now the dream is lost and gone,
Forever out of reach.

One breath at a time, one day at a time,
I guess that's how one gets through.
Though it all just seems so pointless,
Anything you set out to do.

Though I try not to live in the past,
I'll always miss what might have been,
The times we'd have shared,
My son, partner, and friend.

But I have so many memories of my son,
On his too short voyage to being a man.
One of the fondest is teaching him to splice,
And watching him watch my hands.

David Densmore
2004

 


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