Deena was hooked into the politics of fish but the lure for me is still the story. Rob could talk endlessly about fishing and Rodney forever finds Aesop-like Buddhist-style fables for each Communal Table. Bless Ukulele Sarah, who came with laryngitis but croaked nonetheless a rousing "cockles and mussels alive, alive-o." Vince, our fishmonger host answered countless questions (folks are hungry for fishy information; we navigate murky waters.) There was a beautiful moment when Paul Neuman http://www.caterernyc.com told a story about his late fishmonger father, and Vince who'd not met Paul before tonight but knew and respected Paul's father from the fish world, told Paul what an inspiration his father had been. Made both men feel good- and everyone else too.
Listening to Vince's reading of a decidedly masculine passage from a Dave Eggers tale about pulling and pulling a fish from the sea, I suddenly 'got' fishing as man's attempt to mimic women's pushing and pushing babies from the water of our wombs. Push, pull, what's the difference; wiggly slimy things emerge.
And then there was beautiful Kacie with her photo album of harvesting wild sea vegetables. To me she seems a water sprite of sorts in her row boat on the sea, but for her it's all a days work.
When I checked-in with friends in the days following the dinner, many said... "o, I had a tale I could have told... but, but..." The work of marking and telling the stories food inspires takes a mindfulness we resist, perhaps because storytelling is so revealing. Communal Table gatherings are meant to nurture political/activist insight along with our very human impulse to tell a tale... that is, to share with others the stories we hold dear. In my mind this engagement marks a life well lived, and if we can do it while eating heartily, amen.

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