Against All Odds

My parents moved to Catalina Island in the 1970s to work as lobster fisherman. It was a grand year consisting of no money, just a heart yearning for experiences and adventure, new connections with ideas different than their own to expand their minds and fill their souls. They came back with stories to tell of great white sharks swimming close beneath them, being lost in the middle of a fog-enveloped ocean on a small boat with no compass, no motor, only the strength and will to make it across the sea to their destination unharmed. Stories of wealthy people stealing from their traps just for fun, when my parents depended on every penny of their catch for survival. Stories of the wealthy with full hearts who made them a deal, an opportunity that would allow them to stay on the island and live out their dream.

They never ate out or went to the bar. There were meals of canned tomato soup and water, and at the end of the week if they had enough money their friends would all pitch in to buy one small bottle of liquor, a celebration of their hard work, of their making it work one extra week against all odds.

So now it's over 40 years later and they're returning to the island with their family. They've lived many chapters of a fulfilling life. They've been through extremes of struggle, happiness, sadness, life, death, and illness. This time they're able to buy a drink at the bar and eat at the restaurant. They see the island from yet a different view.

I watch them as they stand in the middle of the brick street, cafes on the left, ocean on the right. They hold each other, staring off into the bustling street. I wonder what they're thinking. I watch them and think to myself - WOW... what a LIFE lived, what a FULL life lived...and together this whole time, against all odds.

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