I wish I knew the fisherman’s prayer. All I can think of is part of the line on the memorial I’ve seen at the boat harbor: “They that go down to the sea in ships . . .” I have a feeling the rest of the verse is not very positive. Instead, I silently ask God to watch over my girls, if he gets a break from world peace and AIDS in Africa. It’s a sparkling summer morning, which may be why the memory of a much more urgent prayer hits me like a bad wave and I have to leave the kitchen.
When the telephone rang at four on that November morning, I ran downstairs to get it, but my answering machine had already begun. I heard my friend Kathy say, “Heather, if you can hear me, pray.” She said that the Becca Dawn, the Nash family fishing boat, was sinking–with three brothers and a friend on board. I didn’t pick up the phone. I sat down on the bottom step and prayed that this was a false alarm. Then, just in case, I asked God to drop everything else and hold those boys in the palm of his hands. It was an outside shot, but I had seen enough three-p0inters made by the crew of the Becca Dawn at the buzzer in high school and city-league basketball games to know that their odds of making it were better than you’d think.
Their parents, Becky and Don, are our son’s godparents. Don is a fisherman and a carpenter. Becky is a quilter and teaches Sunday school at the Presbyterian church. There are six Nash children all together–Lee, Aaron and Olen are biological and Yongee, Song, and Corrie were adopted from Korea. Becky refers to them as a six-pack of “half domestics and half imports.” The Nash kids were raised on boats. Just out of high school, Lee and Olen both skippered their own trollers, which are bigger boats than gillneters and use tall poles that drop out over the water trailing lines of hooks, with their brothers Song and Aaron as regular crew.