Thursday, June 2, 2011
The "Buddy Plan"
Arriving at the ship we had been assigned to we trudged wearily … thin and heavily laden with canvas sea bags down a darkened and huge concrete pier during the first hours of night. Monsters loomed about us. Up the gangplank and we peered into the red glow of cave like entryways at metal and machinery. There was a steady hum emanating from everywhere.
As deck seamen we discovered that we had joined a cadre of sea faring men who knew secrets of ship and sea and of far away places. The wind angrily howled in our faces. Mother Sea sprayed us with her salty breath, as young boys became hardened creatures.
We were “deck apes” and knew violent grinding and banging … heaving, splicing, cutting of line and dangling from precarious heights. We lived within the history of men at sea and our lives were forever bound in the toils and tales of pollywogs become shellbacks upon crossing the equator. We could clearly see our place on the face of the earth. We smelled the sweet stench of the mysterious and ancient Far East. We caressed the fair skin of almond-eyed ladies with distant and troubled hearts.