‘Having any luck?’


He was a handsome, bald-headed man in yellow bathing trunks, with an accent thick with Argentina. I met him while I was walking along the edge of the shore in Brigantine early on Memorial Day, when I spotted his two fishing poles upright in the sand — one in the water, one on dry land – and stopped to chat.

“Are you having any luck?” I asked.

He said something I didn’t catch, but when he repeated them, his words were hard to miss – or to forget.

“Just being here is luck already.”

How right he was, of course, and how often we forget that. It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have, what we might be missing, what someone else has achieved, what our unrealized dreams are that we often forget how very blessed we are.

On that morning he and I could squeeze sand with ours toes, see the waves meander to shore, feel the breeze tickle our skin and the early sun bathe our faces. People we cared about were nearby, a few feet or a few blocks away. We were comfortable enough to be in a vacation town. We had freedom to come and go as we pleased. I was happy to get my morning exercise at the shoreline. He was hopeful for fish.

We were blessed indeed.

On a holiday weekend, on a sparsely populated beach just hours after dawn, the fisherman exhibited such great — and simple — wisdom. I don’t know if he caught anything that morning. I don’t know if it even mattered. He was enjoying his luck already.

Patricia Quigley is a freelance writer from Incarnation Parish, Mantua