Last night at dinner we spoke about the now closed Nantucket, located at the bottom of the Carquinez Bridge in Crockett. It was my father’s favorite place to go. To this day I really do not understand why. He was a fisherman, by sport, and loved seafood. For some reason he was taken with the Nantucket. As a young man I was never much of a seafooder. I did like when he would bring home sturgeon after fishing in the bay with my grandfather. He would clean it, chunk it up and deep fry it. Hard to pass up fired fish to this day.
But there was a size limit, as I recall, on the sturgeon that he could keep. Not too small, as they were too young, and not too long, as they were too old and still prolific. It was sort of the Goldilocks method of fishing. It had to be just right. There is one photo, buried away somewhere, of my father and grandfather holding up their catch for that day. I remember it well because my grandfather was not a tall man, perhaps 5 foot 6 inches. Which, coincidentally, was the exact size of a ‘Keeper.’ This photo had my father and grandfather side by side with a sturgeon. In order to hold up the sturgeon for the photo they had inserted a broom stick through its gills and mouth. This photo has both men in their fishing gear, standing in the driveway of my boyhood home, laughing as my grandfather lifts the broom stick and holds it on top of his head.
When I was old enough they would take me with them fishing and teach me about how to rig the bait and to set the drag just right on the reel. We would eat sandwiches and I would get to have a soda while they drank Hamm’s or Pabst or something that looked like them. They would talk about stuff and I would get to listen and talk with them. The part about that I remember most is that, I was one of the guys. I could drive the boat, clean the fish and help load things in and out. It was fun.
When we were done fishing we would often stop for a burger and fries. I remember my dad always remarking at how much he enjoyed Nation’s hamburgers. “They are so big!” he would exclaim. This is well before they were a chain and had just a little store in San Pablo near where he worked. Every now and then, he and I would go, order a burger and talk about stuff. He would remark about how large the burgers were and I would sip my shake and listen to whatever story he would tell me. It was rare that I got to spend time with my father alone. 5 kids and all. So I cherish each memory.
This week I bought lunch for my crew and went to Nations on Sonoma Blvd. As I waited for the burgers to cook I recalled the times I had spent with my father fishing and hamburgering. Thanks Nations for still making great burgers and holding the memories of my father safe for me.
Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often