Wednesday, July 15, 2020
July 15, 2020

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Everybody Has a Story: ‘Pebble’ beached by ocean waves


My dad liked to fish. Being the good father that he was, he introduced me to the sport when I was 5 or 6. I remember catching a catfish out of Vancouver Lake as my first trophy.

He really liked to catch salmon. Unfortunately that meant pursuing them on the high seas. I wonder why they are termed “high seas” when “low swells” are half of the equation. That high-low punch induced a nauseating effect, commonly known as seasickness, on most of my family members, including my father.

A common antidote is a product called Dramamine. It didn’t help me. In fact, the last time I went deep-sea fishing with him, the first thing I launched into the water was the boat — but the second was the Dramamine, on the way to Buoy 10. I swore off the ocean that day. I was 16.

It was about 15 years later that my brother-in-law took me salmon fishing on the Columbia River. Click — it registered that the salmon come up the river, out of the ocean and its motion.

Fast (or slow) forward a few decades to a Hawaiian vacation with my wife, Sue. OK, it’s a vacation for her. She gets to pursue her favorite pastimes: shopping for the grandchild and bronzing her body. My body is a shade-seeking missile and I find Hawaii hot, muggy and too expensive to play golf.

As an appeasement, she signed us up for activities including a snorkeling expedition. That of course meant we went out on a boat on the ocean where I found that time, even lots of it, does not cure motion sickness. Actually I should have known because I’ve had a few hints over the years. When the kids engaged in video games I had to pass on Mario Kart because my stomach would get queasy. I get the same sensation at the movies when they simulate a roller coaster ride before the main attraction. I close my eyes until I hear the music signifying that the car has arrived at the terminal.

Endeavoring to be a good husband, I got on the boat. Not long after departure from the dock, my innards started to move — and not in sync with the boat. We met a hospice nurse from Vermont who, on multiple occasions, offered Dramamine. Remembering the exit strategy that Dramamine has with my system, I passed. I’m under the impression that the drug du jour for hospice is morphine, which she did not offer. It probably would have been to no avail as well. I got sick. Too sick to go snorkeling, which was the whole point of the excursion.

Not being one to pass on a wonderful opportunity, I made it abundantly clear to Sue that she owed me for my day of misery. We have an agreement that we take turns selecting movies to attend at the theater. She tends to prefer action movies: Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham movies are in her wheelhouse. My tastes are more urbane: “Ted” or “Ted 2” come to mind.

I accused her of trying to off me on the ocean and insisted that since I barely survived, the penalty was that I get to select the next 10 movies — figuring I might get six or seven. She beat me down to four.

Life really does go on and I get to terrorize her with potential movie picks. Dwayne Johnson is known as “The Rock.” Perhaps I’ve earned the moniker “The Pebble.”

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Send to: or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA, 98666. Call “Everybody Has an Editor” Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.