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A Life In The Day (56)

—————BOW WATCH—————-

and the face of God


As the day rolled on, Joel and I, drifted off to our cabins and got what made us feel good in our minds and hearts. We walked back to our cabin. Joel got His drawing paper, I got my writing paper.

Joel then went to the aft part of the ship, got comfortable on the poop deck and proceeded to draw the seamen at work “chipping the deck”, in preparation for the “red leading”,




The process of “CHIPPING”, is done with an instrument that looks like a short handled WEED WHACKER, protruding from the edges are rounded metal projections about 5/8″ long, that vibrate at a high rate of speed. When held to the deck, it “CHIPS”, the rusted metal off the deck. After 1/2 an hour , your arms feel like you’ve worked with a jack hammer for the day long! Smoke brakes were standard every 20 minutes. All this being done for that section of deck for that day, all the rust chips would be washed off the decks with sea water and allowed to dry as the rest would have lunch. As the crew returned, they would start to swab the decks with fish oil drawn from 50 gal. barrels and left to dry for 1/2 hour, at which point the decks would be swabbed with “RED LEAD”, or the same thing that is on the “GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE”, to give it that color. After an hour or so the crew would come back again to swab the decks with “Black” paint and the job was then considered done.

It seemed that work on board a freighter at sea was/ is basically “BUSY WORK”, until a port is reached.


Joel would try to look inconspicuous as He drew, but some of the crew would notice and attempt to look as GALLANT at their work as possible. hahaha, ( for Joel had shown some of His work in the mess hall and the crew could see that He was good at His calling.

Joel did this for the rest of the day and seemed to come out from it all lighter and refreshed. He smiled more for the rest of the voyage.

I on the other hand took my interests to the bow of the ship, for me the future was my calling……

It was one of those days where the storm was receding in the past , both metaphorically and in reality, and the sun was beginning to shine its face on my face.

At that time of day I was alone to think on what road I would walk in my tomorrows. Would there be days of riches? poverty? drama? pain? love? tears? I thought “the future would take care of itself.” I sat there pretty much for the rest of the day, occasionally looking over the bow to see playful Dolphins swimming along side of us and wondering ,”what is going Thu their minds?, how many ships through out time had they escorted to adventure or ruin?”

I was in a state of dreams, I saw myself as the GREAT Voyager “ODYSSEUS”. It was rather presumptuous of me , but hey! I was 17! hahaha !

I was pulled out of my reveries by one of the older crewmen, who I came to know and learn a few of life’s lessons. I developed a strong respect for this old fart!

It was dinner time and as we sat at table, the seamen started to ask about other aspects of previous remarks, all the time staying away from any reference of the village but asking for just more telling of “stories around the campfire………..”

Toward the end of the meal and into desert, conversation just seemed to wander like a puppy chasing a slow rabbit. That’s when the old sea dog, WILLIKER, by name , started up a conversation with me pretty much to see where my head was. It seemed that in his youth he taught philosophy at some university in Belgem and took to the sea after his wife died, (a precursor of my future.). We hit it off mentally and something more……….ethereal, metaphysical. He noted that he had seen me at the bow for a good part of the day looking both at the sky and the sea and wondered what I saw in the two?

It took me a while to assess the question. no one had EVER asked me a question like that before!

After awhile, he asked me if I wanted to meet him for bow watch at midnight………and see the face of Gawd?

Posted by Gaby at Wednesday, November 04, 2009



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