Go Chinook!

by jkatejohnston

28 October 2013

Dear Max,

A few days ago while we were reading books Enzo said, “I don’t think I want to snuggle anymore.”

“Like ever—or when you go to bed?”

“When I go to bed.” Our routine is—or was—when he goes to bed he gets to read magazines with a flashlight for about twenty minutes while Teresa and I watch TV and then he throws them down and calls out, “Snuggle!” and I climb up to the top bunk and snuggle with him for about five minutes and then he goes to sleep.

I agreed to this of course and wondered if he’d go through with it. That night when we were watching TV I was listening, listening. And he never called me. It was great watching Parenthood all the way through, stopping only for snacks. Then one night a few days ago he did call me. I jumped up and climbed up to his bed. I started to scratch his back. “No. Snuggle-snuggle.” So I just snuggled him while he played with the loose skin on my elbow, his favorite thing, ever since he was a baby.

‘Snuggle’ seems to be one of those words—like ‘giggle’—that are wonderful to do but almost too cute for the written language. But what can you do?


Teresa and Enzo were picking up his toys in the living room. Teresa must have put some kind of crocodilian in the same bin with the dinosaurs and Enzo must have protested. The only part I actually heard was Teresa saying, “It was alive at the time of the dinosaurs, it can go with the dinosaurs.”


Enzo: “My destiny is to catch alligators and crocodiles and all crocodilians and also monstrous fish. And they’re going to be huge.”


Enzo: “I’m jealous, I’m really jealous.” Because the world record sturgeon was caught in Russia not North America. He’s a big home team booster, always rooting for the animals from North America to be the biggest, fiercest, fastest. The Atlantic Salmon, for example, is nowhere. The Chinook, on the other hand, is King. (The Pacific is the home town ocean, naturally.)

He keeps saying, “I am going to catch a Chinook this year. I know I am.” We were at the American river yesterday talking to a guy who caught a 35 pounder last weekend. He also told us that the crawdads under the bridge were about so long, and he showed us on his beefy forearm how long they were—monsters—so that we expected them to be almost the size of lobsters. But the three that we caught were just regular size.

Anyway I don’t think he’s going to forget about the Chinook. We have none of the equipment for this and no idea how to do it. And if, by some miracle, we ever catch one, I’m the only one who will eat it.