smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...”
My dad was a down to earth, simple man. He was uneducated because he had to leave school at a young age to work during the depression. He was a genius when it came to spatial things like packing a car and such. He would cry at a sad movie, had a physically demanding job, but somehow moved past his body being too tired, to play catch on a summer’s evening. He had empathy for those in need.
He loved sailing on a cargo ship. So much so, that he joined the Merchant Mariners, (Merchant Marine is not longer correct) as a young man and sailed the seven seas. He said his favorite port of call was Cairo, Egypt. He loved it there, even touted that he had rode a camel.
He was on a ship that was torpedo in San Diego Bay in 1941. Here is a link to the coverage. http://californiamilitaryhistory.org/Olson.html
Dad’s younger brother, Herbert, was also on it and they had a challenge getting to safety, as Uncle Herb was injured.
When my dad married my mother and she became pregnant with yours truly, the handwriting was on the wall, as dad was still in the service during mom’s pregnancy. This did not bode well as he did not get to meet me until six months after my birth.
Eventually my mom laid down the law….no more sailing! So Dad did the next best thing, he became a longshoreman so he could be near the ships that docked in Portland, Oregon.
His in-laws point of contention was that my dad would never amount to anything being a “dock worker”. He got the last laugh, when he said to me one day, “You know that is all I ever heard, but you know, belonging to the Union (ILWU) my benefits of medical, dental and retirement is better than most.” He smiled, knowing for the most part that he had provided for his family, quite nicely. Yes, we had some rough, lean years but so did others.
Dad sometimes would park his car, and sit and watch ships come and go. I did not realize then, how much his soul grieved to be on them. And, how he had given up this love of sailing for another kind of love.
I sometimes wonder how it would have been if he had been the one to “lay down the law” and continued to sail off into the sunset. And, if he had remained true to his love of sailing, would he have even married my mother knowing how she felt? I wonder.
Well, hello? I would not even be here if he had made that choice! Bless you Dad!
Blessings, and a happy Father’s Day to all Dads!