THE FAMILY HOLIDAY
Away from prying lenses
Photography can be intrusive
are we acutely aware of this?
While spending our hard earn money
to enjoy the sea and the sun
of far away exotic lands.
"It is so good to be home,"
I sqeezed the leathery hand
of my sea-faring uncle,
over 60 years old captain Tom.
He eased his 33 m
350-tonne vessel from the wharf
and we watched from his cabin
a big crowd waving
to the passengers on board.
As we headed from the harbour
the bustling popular tourist town
dwarfed by the mighty Biokovo mountains
Tom smiled broadly at me:
"Do you remember our fishing trip together
when you have been seven or eight
coming to spend with us your summer holiday?"
"Of course, I do, my best times ever,
but no more fishing for you now,"
I laughed pointing around the decks
where relaxed passengers
were sipping the complementary drink of rakija.
"We still fish the open seas in winter,"
Tom winked at me:
"You don't have to plough the ocean,
You only have to take care of it
and it always give."
"But tourists give more,"
His son in law from Germany
entered the cabin and shook my hand:
"Welcome, I heard so much about you,
you are just like daughter to him,
so we are officially family,
Fred is my name."
Tom spent 20 years working in Germany
to raise capital to go into business
had paid off
His boat can take 280 passengers
on this day
there were 260 on board
on its return to harbour
it became a nightly seafood
serving up many of the 10 species
caught in the winter
including squid and prawns.
It was party disco time,
the sparkling night
at the rear of the vessel
chefs busy grilling fish
its delicious smell drifting
over the dark waters
of pristine Adriatic.
"This was my idea,"
lifted his glass of white wine,
"To Tom and his successful 2012 tourist year."
"One day it will be yours,"
Tom proudly lifted up
his five year old grandaughter Olivia
who joined us with her mother
for family dinner.
Suddenly someone waved at me
from the noisy and crowded tables
further at the deck.
My friend Lisa from Perth
ran to me and gave me a big hug:
"What are you doing here?"
I asked surprised.
"My hubby comes from Korcula,
didn't you know that island
is the spiritual home
of thousands of West Australians?"
She laughed and then turned to Tom,
"Do you mind, captain if I take a picture of you
and your beautiful girl?"
Tom stood up proudly
while Olivia snatched his captain's hat
and made a cute pose
but Fred rushed to Lisa
and took the camera from her hand:
"Hang on, this is my daughter
you want to take a picture of,
I don't even know you, what for?"
"Just for a keepsake to remember
this great boat and this holiday,"
Lisa suddently turned red
and backed off
full of appologies
when Fred handed the camera back,
"It's okey Lisa, we just prefer for tourists
to respect our privacy."
Tom patted my hand
when I came back from Lisa's table:
"Fred is a good bloke, just too German,
they are very proud of who they are,
do not take it personally."
When Dalmatian folk music
I have known from childhood
filled our ears
and brought Tom and me
to emotional tears
I hugged him tightly:
"I would love you to come
to visit me."
He smiled through his tears:
"Captains do not take holidays,
I just catch sleep on board
when I can,
but Olivia with her parents
go to Thailand in two weeks
maybe you could all meet there."
On my last day
Tom sailed very close
to parts of Brac
where the harsh,
reminded me of the place
where I live now.
"Many of them went to Australia as well,"
Tom said pointing at the crumbling buildings
among the small pockets
of fertile soils
created by moving rocks by hand.
I looked at the extremely difficult terrain
from which local people
desperately tried to make a living.
"Do you remember when we helped
to build a stone cottage up there
for my brother, Ivan,
he is long dead, poor fellow,"
Tom suddently said
watching a man on a small boat
carrying the building material
the only access is still
only by sea.
I had tears in my eyes
when I said goodbye
to the captain of my heart
and the man
of old fashioned values
We pay so much
for the comfortable life we live in
we expect so much
and we are so ready
to take and take and take...
but how much
are we ready to give away?
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