Friday, March 29, 2013

The Cast of Characters

I have laid the back story, but before I get to far into this I should provide a brief introduction to the characters that will appear regularly throughout this blog.

Julie's cod was the largest
 catch that day (2012)
The Fish Queen - Julie
This is my mom. She is lord and master of all things Gurnet Trading. She is our tie to the sea. It is through her blood that we are linked to many generations of Harpswell fishermen. 

It has taken her many years to get where she is today and in the process she has done it all. She plucked chickens for a short time. Later she worked as an x-ray technician. She dallied as a welder building destroyers at Bath Iron Work. She was the proud owner and operator of a successful lawn care and landscaping business. She even held a 6 Passenger Captain's License for a few years. 

But that was all just practice. For the last fifteen years she has been the hand at the helm of a highly successful wholesale seafood business and for the last ten years she has commanded the retail seafood market and take-out restaurant, Gurnet Trading Co.

The Fish King - Brian
Brian with a 3 lb Lobster (2013)
We let him think he's in charge, but we all know who the real boss is. His real role is story teller. Give him the chance and he will tell you everything there is to know about our business and more. He will suck you in and tell you the tales of our past, how we got here and where we are going. 

Like my mom, it has taken my dad years to get here. As a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, he worked as the chief engineer on ocean going tugboats transporting grain from the US to South America. Later he was an engineer, building destroyers at Bath Iron Works.  

When the walls began to close in, he began diving for scallops and urchins and has never looked back. While my mom steers the business, my dad is the engineer. He keeps the lights on and the ship afloat. He is the operations manager, making repairs to the facilities and seeing to the day to day operations of the wholesale lobster business.

The Fish Prince - Zach
My younger brother was the obvious heir to the fishy throne. He knew from the start that he would not ever work a 9-5 desk job. He didn't even try to pretend to go down that route. In high school he enrolled in the culinary arts vocational program and apprenticed under my mother in the restaurant. After high school, he continued to work in the restaurant and also added Zach's Lobster Bakes to his repertoire. He has a custom built lobster cooker and travels all over the Mid-Coast area, catering weddings; reunions; and other events. 

But a couple years ago, he rejected the throne and made a move to create his own domain. When the convenience store less than a mile down the road came on to the market, he jumped and at 21 years old became the owner of Zach's Country Store.   

The Wizard and Dark Horse - David
If not otherwise identified, you should assume that David is the "we" in all of my posts. My husband is the grand schemer of this tale. He is the character that orchestrates events quietly behind scenes. He plants small seeds and waits for them to take root. He knows his wife is too stubborn and strong willed to easily accept change, and so he manipulates her gently and lets her come to the right conclusion on her own. 

David in the Turks and Caicos - 2012
David came to us from Miami, knowing only about southern lobsters and Florida game fish. He came to us with intentions of sailing as an engineer in the merchant service as my father had. But that all changed when he was introduced to the Fish Queen. Together, they schemed against me and my plans to work a "normal" job. Every few weeks a new plan was hatched and I would be forced to shut it down before the idea got too big. Wippy's Brew Pub was a recurring topic that always pushed the limits of my patience. 

But as time went on, some of the ideas weren't half bad and they began to sit well with me. David has announced his resignation as an engineer building war ships and will begin to take over aspects of my dad's marine services business. David will install and repair ramps, floats and moorings. He will work with my dad in the operations and maintenance of our businesses. 

Additionally, last summer he passed the Coast Guard exam that will allow him to take up to six paying passengers out on our boat. We are going to do sailing charters during the sailing season.