“Mostly open about 9 or 10
Occasionally as early as 7, but some days
As late as 12 or 1
We close about 5:30 or 6,
Occasionally about 4 or 5, but
Sometimes as late as 11 or 12.
Some days or afternoon, we
aren’t here at all, and lately
I’ve been here just about all the time,
Except when I am someplace else,
But I should be here then too.”
After I chuckled while reading the entire “Office Hours” message not once but twice, I noticed the sign “Open” next to another sign “Fresh Salmon Hot From the Smoker or Vac-Sealed.” I leaned tentatively in the open door to the dimly lit room. I could see a 50-something couple accepting plates of smoked salmon from a Native American man named Kimm. “That’s with two m’s,” he told us when acknowledged Ed and me. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”
In that minute or so, I looked around. Three strips of fly tape covered with dead flies hung from the frosted window. Long and short eagle feathers stood in a line of what looked like pre-cut holes drilled into the wooded window frame. More eagle feathers stood like quill pens in a wooden mount on the wall behind Kimm, with two m’s. Round canisters of garlic salt lined the shelves above a stack of paper plates. A sign read “Free Samples.”
Trophy sized antlers hung on the wall of an adjoining room, the smoker room. And, stacks of wood set on the floor near the black cylinder smoker. I was thinking about leaving when I noticed a yellowed newspaper clipping on the wall near the door acknowledging Take Home Fish Co. of Neah Bay, Washington for its smoked salmon. The clipping was from the New York Times. I stayed.
Kimm, with two m’s, offered me a taste of freshly smoked salmon. He served it from a metal bowl on the blade of a hunting knife. “It’s hot,” he warned. I took the sample in my fingers. Inside the charred coating, the orange colored salmon glistened. The salmon tasted moist and delicious, like no other salmon I’d ever eaten. Even though I had just snacked on half of a ham sandwich in the car and I wasn’t even hungry. I ordered a plate of smoke salmon.
“Why is this so good?” I asked.
“Because it’s fresh,” Kimm, with 2 m’s answered.
Neah Bay, WA