It was early the wind and was angry her taste lingered on my lips. It was warm and inviting. The men gathered behind me and I thought of retreat but this was the only day.
The first mate said our Captain should arrive soon.
“It’s gonna be rough. Not good for the weak stomach,” I announced.
“Think you guys still want to go?” he said
“It’s always worse from the dock.”
I saw an unwavering hope in the men; confidence pure in youth and they carried their truths on their shoulders as if cut marks on a rifle barrel. A gathering of men called T-Bag, and Stick, and Roman, and Bagger; names changed to reflect the lives led.
Southeast winds at 20 knots washed the bow as she cut west. The roll of the water beneath the hull turned thoughts to my father, his friend and the time they fought a gray and stormy ocean. Old but strong they were also men with character and true beliefs and men these men would become tomorrow as time sees you through life and the lines on your face tell stories of the generation you served. As their seas swelled the old men battled a bull Dolphin bringing him back to the dock to those they loved and they carved thick fillets and shared cigars and scotch as some men do when celebrating.
Foolish men fill this world with their follies but she knows that with a beckon of her salt spray, a calling wind and a dream of conquest all men will follow her. These were men with bravery welded into their hearts; men returning home from the exhilaration of battle and the moments of sheer terror when all is thought lost. Friendship bonds life; those around you become priceless treasures; men offering their lives so others may live in freedom and peace.
The trees at Calusa Cove were black marks low on the horizon, the sky was gray, and wind cut through our bones like a fillet knife. Fortune would depend on the kindness of the Mother and what she would give and this father asked her for kindness and giving knowing this day was the beginning of a new life for one man; his son.
The Captain stopped the vessel over the eastern edge of the reef. The men gathered courage with wobbly knees pressed astern and tossed lines into a boil of Yellow Tails. Dreams fulfilled as the weather turned worse and a few succumbed to the calling of Poseidon and prayed on their knees calling to him below the turbulent waters. Others with stability and strong stomachs and veritable character stood against the tide.
Mother Ocean had been generous but the unadmitted weakening presented clearly on their faces and we returned to port.
After cleaning the catch, the men enjoyed sandwiches and beers and talked of times in the past and then separated ways. They would celebrate again soon. Their friend in arms would marry the woman of his dreams and today was not the end.
On this day I saw that when you face battle one does not speak of it; one does not talk of time spent against the resistance and the feeling left in the heart. The warrior is quiet and holds a confidence only a man of this past can hold and he talks of times together with his comrades and how they spent their time in war and what they did outside of war and what they drank and the women they loved but they never speak of war.
Merriment was on the beach as dusk fell and they relaxed sitting at the water’s edge in chairs of wicker. A sliver of moon rose across the still water as they drank Balvenie and smoked fine cigars and talked of nothing and everything as they knew tomorrow would hold the day.