Kid Fears


It’s funny how we have such deep seated kid fears that never quite leave us no matter how rational we like to think we are or we try to be.

I used to have a fear of drowning, particularly in the ocean. Which is weird for someone who loves to sail as much as I do.  I’m an excellent swimmer too, so maybe it started with my dreams of the seaweed witch, but it solidified when my friend drowned in a diving accident. B pushed me so very hard to get past it. He started by wrangled me into a mask and snorkel and having me dive down to scrub the bottom of the boat. It was only 12 feet of water. Then we took turns diving down to the bottom to recover lost tools, keys or other things we had dropped over the side during the course of the summer. He challenged me to swim on unbearably hot days with no wind while we floated out in the middle of the bay. But all I could think about was the fathoms of dark, murky water below me with who-knows-what underneath me as I bobbed on the surface. By the winter time he had convinced me to get my diving certification, then he drove off to Denver and left me to my own devises.

In the cold, dark of the Washington winter, I donned my wet suit and did what I had promised. I so vividly remember the absolute panic I felt as the five people in my class sat on the murky bottom and were required to take our masks off, put them back on and clear them. My instructor kept tapping my regulator, reminding me to breath, keeping pressure on my shoulder to remind me that I wasn’t alone. I’m sure that some of the water I cleared from my mask was my own, salty tears.

After we completed all of our instruction, we swam along the bottom in about 20-30 feet of water. The sun peaked out for a minute or two. It came in streams cutting through the water until what was, only a moment ago, murky, became the most beautiful bright emerald green. It was like swimming in a gem stone. All those things I had been so afraid of in the dark looked like a magical and wonderful world, that I had only ever read about in books, blooming and come to life beneath me.

I have another fear I have never gotten over yet. A fear of being left. It is not a fear of being alone, not a feeling of weakness, of inadequacy, or lack of self-esteem. It is just a fear of being left. I think it started when I was about 9 and I went with my father and brother one day. My father left me in the woods and drove off with my brother. Luckily, my brother remembered me. But when my dad came back, he gave me no comfort, no reassurance. He laughed and said, “oh, don’t worry about it,” and then he forgot me again, many times, after that.

Facing our childhood fears is one of the hardest things we can do in life. B came home the week before I finished my last dive. When we got up in the morning, it was starting to snow, but I packed up my wet suit and my BC and my warm coat. “Damn,” he said, in his usually sarcastic, grating way, “you shouldn’t have listened to me. It sucks to be you.”

I slammed the trunk of my car closed.

“K,” he said softly, as he put his hand on my shoulder, “I don’t think I could have done it if I were in your position…”

“It’s just snow,” I answered, “I have a six mil layered suit. It’s probably warmer down there anyway.”

I turned away so he couldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes and his hand dropped off of my shoulder. We all have our own kid fears. His was of disappointing those he loved.

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Crispy Lobster Sandwich w/ Key Lime Mustard Sauce

from Alonzo’s Oyster Bar, in Key West Via Saltysailors.com

  • 2 lobster tails (6-8 oz each)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Japanese bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 8 oz. vegetable oil for frying
  • 8 pieces sour dough bread
  • 1 cup Key Lime mustard sauce (see below)
  • 16 pieces Arugula*
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 8 slices tomatoes
  • 16 slices banana pepper

1)  Split lobsters in half and lightly pound meat.  Season with salt & pepper.
2)  Combine bread crumbs and coconut.
3)  Dredge lobster meat in flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs
4)  Heat oil in frying pan and cook lobster for 1 min on each side or until golden brown.
5)  Toast sour dough bread in oven.
6)  Assemble sandwiches:  Put Key Lime mustard sauce on toasted bread then place all vegetables in layers.
7)  Place lobster meat atop all ingredients and top with second slice of bread.

Key Lime Mustard Sauce

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs. dry mustard
  • 2 tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley
  • Pinch green Tabasco
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Juice from 4 key limes

Mix all ingredients well.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

*Arugula is a spicy little leaf, which some describe as bitter and others characterize as having a “peppery-mustardy” flavor. Because it is so potent on its own, it is often mixed with milder greens to produce a nice balanced salad. It can also be sautéed in olive oil. You can substitute most any green for arugula, but the closest matches are Belgian endive, escarole, and dandelion greens.

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