Somewhere Along the Way features a variety of easy-to-read commentaries on the ups, downs and in-betweens of life as viewed from a back yard swing. Subjects range from those as playful as accessorizing and gift-wrapping to empathetic interviews with war veterans to the hilarious frustrations and delicious rewards of gardening, groundhog included. Music and pets are oft-visited topics.
The articles, which originally appeared as columns in Columbia Tennessee newspaper The Daily Herald
, are rich in gentle humor, down-home nostalgia, occasional serious ponderings, and quirky characters. Whether read cover-to-cover or ten minutes at a time, the collection's varied look at everyday existence is life affirming and uplifting.
Chris Fletcher, former editor of The Daily Herald
, dubbed the writings “…a welcome break from the frenetic pace of our modern lives” and considered Wilmoth’s stories and themes to be “…at once intimate and universal.”
Author Karyn Henley added, “Wilmoth has the rare ability to touch your heart as well as your funny bone.”
At times light and funny, at times serious and contemplative, Wilmoth Foreman's Somewhere Along the Way is an always entertaining collection of essays about life lived fully, and with meaning.
-- Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B-3087
Sample column, excerpted from The Ups and Downs of “Just for the Halibut” Fishing
“You need to go halibut fishing, Mama,” said Kate. “It’s what people do when they come to Alaska.”
“It’ll be a memory you’ll never forget.”
Homer, Alaska, does not have a Hilton. Mostly, it has charter boats that leave early and go far to where the halibut are.
When Captain Todd strode into our gathering place clad head-to-toe in waterproof wear and said, “Follow me,” I waved goodbye and did as I was told. So did two men from Oregon and three from Arkansas. The boat was small—brought to mind Little Jimmy Dickens’ song: “I’m puny, short, and little, but I’m loud.” We seven, in the cabin or on deck, were a crowd.
We roared out of the harbor, hitting the high spots of waves that, even near shore, were so riled that Todd, who constantly communicated by radio with someone as to conditions “at sea,” dared not venture as far out as his favorite fishing spots.
Nevertheless, we spent over two hours speeding atop watery oblivion. Shouting back and forth, we got acquainted. The older of the Oregon twosome was less than a year beyond open-heart surgery. The day before, he landed a 150-pound halibut from Todd’s boat. The Arkansas three would fish again the next day; I was the lone one-dayer.
When we finally stopped, the sensation was like being in a washing machine except uppy-down rather than side-to-side. Never mind; let the fishing begin.
The men lined themselves up around the back deck rail; I sat on a small platform to the side. Each time the boat dipped low, icy cold water came within inches of soaking me. Todd ignored my request for a life jacket. There was no point; if anyone fell into those frigid waters, instant hypothermia would set in.
Gear consisted of a heavy pole; three-pound weight; cut-fish bait literally big enough to choke a horse; huge reel. Halibut live near the bottom; we let out lots of line. Any time someone snagged a halibut, that action took center-stage. Even the “small” ones’ fighting, amplified by the pull and tug of fierce ocean currents, became a muscle-ripping battle.
Todd threw back my first halibut—probably at least a 20-pounder. He also threw back my dogfish (an 18-inch-long pointy-nosed shark that curled itself around the bait), and a larger-than-dinner-plate starfish. We kept the ugly but delicious sea bass, a salmon, and the larger halibut.
The smaller fish got tossed into a large bin full of ice. Todd would drop “keeper” halibut onto the deck, pick up a big club, and whap them in the head
The goal for charters is for everyone to catch their limit. This wasn’t happening, so we moved farther out, to rougher waters. There, adorable little puffin birds bobbed peacefully in troughs between the frantic waves. I enjoyed watching them, but after several minutes of sitting idly as the guys snagged halibut, I asked, “Why am I not fishing?”
“These waters are so rough, you wouldn’t be able to reel in the bait and weight, much less a halibut,” Todd explained.
The dollar amount of this venture swam before my eyes. “I think I want to try.”
The 30-plus-pounder in Ellen’s freezer probably wishes Todd had ignored my request. But after wrestling it forever, when the next, bigger one hit, I said, “Who wants this fish? It’s yours for the reeling.” It landed in a freezer somewhere in Arkansas.
Our largest halibut was a mere 50 pounds. Its floundering [pardon the pun] on deck could have broken bones. So as soon as it appeared under the water’s surface, Todd shot it dead.
When we finally had enough fish, Todd scurried graceful as a cat across the boat’s bow, securing ominous ropes and equipment. For an eternity, the motor’s full-throttle roar, punctuated with resounding whaps as “Jimmy Dickens” belly-flopped across the angry ocean’s surface, suggested that each breath could be our last. Twelve hours after departure, we reached our harbor. Before our feet touched the ground, this one-dayer was dreaming of someday going again.
-- October 5, 2003