Zelda's a Fisherman. The people who fish went through a transition stage for a few years, trying to call female people who fish Fisherwomen. It didn't work. Then they tried just Fisher for awhile for both sexes, but that didn't work either. Zelda's a Fisherman.

Before I met Zelda, I'd known one other female Fisherman. I was staying for a short while with a friend of mine, years ago when I was between parents and children, flopping on her floor in a house she shared with several other people, one of them a female Fisherman. That female Fisherman would get up in the morning and walk to the bathroom with jeans and her Fisherman boots on, but no top. Literally camped in the front room in a sleeping bag, I found it somewhat disconcerting to have this half-naked person stomp over me in their boots. But I was grateful to have a free place to stay between apartments so, I attempted to adjust.

Do you think she slept with her boots on?

I hear Zelda's got more than her fair share of sad stories in her past. Oh well. I know she drinks too hard. Oh dear. I know I sure wouldn't want to cross Zelda in any way. She's a big time survivor. She's learned well, despite and because of being taught hard, how to deal with the people who cross her.

Fred knew Zelda years ago when they were both much younger. He'd regaled me with stories before I met her about being a Dashing Young Fisheries Officer and adventures they'd had together. She'd fed him a special meal "just for him". It was obvious he was fond of her. The first time I met Zelda we'd stopped in Harriott Bay to do the laundry, buy milk and stretch our legs for awhile. Fred was excited when he saw her boat and wanted to introduce me.

Zelda remembered him right off the bat even though they hadn't seen each other for some 20 odd years. Right away she sized me up. Knowing I was under scrutiny I looked my cutest. She immediately decided I might be ok and advised Fred he'd never picked one quite like me before.

"You've never had one like this before", she said.

Zelda likes her deckhands young, handsome and hard bodied. Fred had not been alone when he was a Dashing Young Fisheries Officer. She never fed him again, I noted, after she'd found out he had a girlfriend.

The second time I met Zelda was in Powell River a couple of years later... And you know, despite time and space, we were old friends. Fred got a bit pompous telling old stories and Zelda turned to me and told me this story:

"I had all these undersize abs* and this greenhorn Fisheries guy comes up."

Zelda turned to Fred and laughed and then turned back to me and winked.

"I invited him on board for supper that night. We had a great time until I found out he had a girl friend. Then I sent him packing. Besides" Zelda mused, "he was a bit old."

Zelda laughed patting my hand and Fred looked appropriately chagrined.

Being a boat greenhorn myself at the time, I wondered exactly what undersized abs were, having this vague vision of the various stomach muscles from Zelda's stable of eager and way more than willing young deckhands.

Somewhere along the line I figured out what abs* were.