2011-12-30 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From TheWheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Funny thing about Rockaway, you never know who you’ll run into; such was the case this past week. While at the light on Beach Channel I was sandwiched between two local icons; Dickie aka “Big Foot,” and Frankie Fish, both of whom have several aliases better left to the imagination.

Anyway, we exchanged glances, nods of the head and in a span of a two minute red light conversation decided to have lunch. Actually it was late morning an hour or so from lunchtime but fishermen don’t do brunch, nah that’s too chic; we do lunch. Frank made the decision and we followed him to one of his fav culinary places, Tap and Grill. As we disembarked from our respective trucks the usual fishermen salutations were given, you know “what’s up cap,” “I gotchya” and so on.

Entering the restaurant Frank began a litany of the menu, “cap you gotta try the fish taco.” Echoes of “I gotchya” followed and we sat down. The waitress pointed toward a booth but weighing in at an average of 260 pounds we opted for the more user friendly table, I gotchya.

Three diet cokes with lemon started the feast. Isn’t it funny most big people like Dickie, Frank and yours truly drink diet sodas. We’ll consume 5000 calories but give me that diet coke like that one calorie might put us over the top. Frank’s feeling like the true captain that he is and orders, we acknowledge with I gotchya. Looking around the table I see Dickie is looking very chipper, rosy cheeks from the wind burn gotten by his morning jaunt on the beach.

The guy spends every day of his life on or near water. After the season ends he can be seen prowling the sand beaches, metal detector in hand; a human metronome sweeping the beach in quest of gold. Frank looks a little disheveled perhaps missing a grooming or two what with all the work he does, and me well I’m still half in uniform on my way to work so I’m good.

My nose raises nostrils flared as the aroma of our food draws near. Some men favor channel number 5, me I’ll waif a fish taco any day big plates consisting of shrimp taco, fish tacos and the house specialty steak fries appear. You know I think I could be a foodie! We dig in and for the next couple of minutes not much is said, our jowls do the talking. “Ah ha told they were good hey cap?” Two I gotchyas follow. Anyway fast forward we get another round and gorge ourselves like fattened fall bass.

Dickie’s talking some fish story from 1975 a little nostalgia from the past; some swashbuckling tale about Fort Tilden and jetty rights oh please, and as things quiet down the check comes. Frank doesn’t move much, Dickie and I half heartedly struggle for the check but I guess all that beachcombing has left Dickie weak because I get the tab. I got the tip, cap, and Dickie digs out some sand encrusted coins no doubt from today’s beach bounty. Departing we nod and say, cap do it again Friday? Yeah I gotchya, and so begins the winter of 2012 tradition. And with any good meal my review; five starfish, bon appetite until the next tide …

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