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Thought for the day - Baseball- Bush League Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net Ya know, I haven't seen the word "fluke" written down in a long, long, time.

So I wanna talk about da fluke. I happen to have four fingers worth of something worth sippin' in a nearby glass myself.

But before I do, I wanna point out something to the gentle person who suggested that we stick to the pernt.

The day I start stickin' to the point, is the day I shut my trap and take up gardenin,' no offense to the gardeners, especially those who talk to their plants.

Fluke. We were talking about fluke.

Who knows what a fluke is?

I don't mean a mishap, a happenstance, a coincidence, or something that wuzn't supposed to happen, but did.

I mean a good old StatNisland capital "F" Fluke?

A Fluke is a fish that you catch, usually two at a time, using a double-rigged treble hook setup, offa the Sout' Shaw of, you guessed it, StatNisland.

I used to do this wit' Leo, my dad.

He had a five-horse Evinrude motor he'd throw into the trunk of the Nash Rambler (nuttin' but first class faw da Faw Cawnahs Sheridans) and drive down to the boat basin at Great Kills Harbor. Yeah, the yacht harbor. We had a yacht.

This yacht was a 14' long Battleship gray Pram, paint courtesy of Bethlehem Steel, Mariners Harbor, Port Richmond, StatNisland, where he worked, and built by Leo in the basement. It took a five-horse Evinrude. It was moored to a stake off a rickety floating pier. At the land end of the pier, which floated on oil-drums, lived an old guy in a shack. Now that you got me talking about the fluke, I'm gonna tell ya about the old guy first, not meanin' to change the subject or anything.

The shack was made of tarpaper and asphalt shingle. It had a little wood-stove chimney sticking up from the roof. The window was only a few inches wide. How anyone could survive a StatNisland winter in a place like that is beyond me.

The man, who wore an old white beard and an old white sailor cap, all worn out, with a crumpled old black bill, minded the other 14' or 16' boats hitched to the pier. That was first class, being hitched to a berth at the floating pier. Being moored to a stake, was, well, less expensive. That wuz us, the less expensive spread.

Any rate, I'm talking to the old guy, and he tells me he used to sail. I'm talking about on old sailing ships that had masts and sails, no engines. He was very old. I was very young.

The white-bearded, white-capped, mariner told me about the time he sailed from Denmark or Germany down around South America, to the U.S. He was a boy. It took a long time. The winds were against them rounding the Cape. They ran out of food. He survived on potatoes.

That was it, potatoes.

Cold potatoes.

Rotten potatoes.

Raw potatoes.

Just potatoes.


After that, dad and I motored out to somewhere between Great Kills Beach and Old Orchard Light. We dropped the hook.

We threw the tandem downriggers wit' the treble hooks, baited with killies purchased from Dinger's Dock, hooked through the back of the neck, if killies have necks, but that's where we hooked them, along with a pyramid sinker, about three ounces, to account for the tide, down to the bottom.

Fluke have two eyes on one side of their head, which always surprises their mothers. Because when they wuz borned offa StatNisland, they had two eyes, one on each side of the head. BTW, if I'm boring the gentleperson who objects to our changing the subject so much, I have one word, "Chum."

Fluke are white on the bottom, spotted brown topsides. The lower eye is pretty useless, watching sand all the time, as fluke swim around on the bottom. Guess what. The bottom eye rotates around one side of this flatfish up onto the topside. But he still can't make out treble hooks baited with killies from Dinger's Dock. Where, gentle person, you can also buy chum.

Fluke make a nice dish, fileted, and sauteed, with lemon, butter, a tooth of garlic, and a couple of capers, along with a snip of parsnip for looks.

Now where wuz I.

-rs



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