SAILOR’S LETTERS TO/FROM HOME
Boot Camp, Then Out to Sea
It seems like only yesterday I unsaddled my horse,
Patted my dog’s head, gave hugs, boarded a bus for a Navy boot camp course.
We rose early, trained hard and with extreme fatigue, flopped into bed.
Facts and concepts came so fast. I had trouble keeping them straight in my head. We’ve met and made Many friends. We gave our word to protect our great land.
We try to visualize the ship, the open seas and the life of a deck hand.
We’re physically fit, play sports on our off time and harmonize off-key.
Meals are prepared in huge proportions. They brew a barrel of coffee.
Missing and Reminiscing
Some fellow trainees attended schools with thousands in their enrollment.
Some rode a horse to a one-room school and enjoyed it to their heart’s content.
One left his mountain home and Herefords and his working cattle horse,
Went from working alone to a large group and will learn to do weather reports.
We recall the days before indoor plumbing and the 50-yard dash
To the upright sanitation station. We laugh about it and rehash.
At night there are many card games, but they won’t get any money off me.
We boast of our fav’rite baseball teams and tip a cup of coffee.
7 Seas 4 Winds Same Sky & Sunsets/We’re Shipshape
Some of us rural youth wonder what life will bring and what’s in the cards?
We come from hamlets so tiny we’d spoof and call them the “Whole Nine Yards.”
That’s why we joined the Navy to see the world. We’re all Noah’s son’s;
We share the sky, clouds, and sunsets. We ask what’s over the horizons?
To defend our country, repel our enemies and to give us hope.
We share common ground. Guard duty tonight. Love, Gary P.S. I need some coffee.
Salt Water Toffee at Home/Tell us What You See at Sea
Dear Son, You gave us a burst of pride. Your grandfather would be so proud
That you stand on your own two feet and are not following some aimless crowd.
His sailor’s cap still adorns our mantelpiece. Nations’ flags fly high.
Be true to your country. We came from a different heritage.
We know we’re all Americans at heart. Respect each other but don’t burn one’s bridge.
Take time to practice your artistic talents. Please write on your off week.
Weigh Anchor (must’ve weighed a ton)/Sea Breezes/Salt Water and A Twist of Fate
Dear Mom, We shipped out to Midway Island. We joked of sharing the ride.
We now have our ‘sea legs’ while the waves and the storms we’ve taken in stride.
We’ve learned occupational skills, leadership and dependability.
Learning and efforts have a pro and con inevitability.
Most screw-ups are taken in stride. We follow orders; we just do it.
Some salty old sailors have salty language. As you’d guess, they just ‘chew it.”
Serious moments have a counterpart of light moments, perhaps off-beat;
Like the incident I’ll describe to you, about making coffee.
Like Stepping in it on the Poop Deck/Pickle Juice Flavored?
We’d not seen land for months. The sky and the sea go on forever.
Sharing duties, I volunteered to make a barrel of coffee, however,
In the world of supply and demand there are valuable commodities.
Quantities we take for granted can become short supply, scarce oddities.
For years, hot and cold spigots are right and left. I filled and percolated.
The boss “gulped’ and spit it out. Salty language made me educated.
Salt water contaminated coffee! Scarce coffee founds out at sea.
Disappointed sailors and I’m the fall-guy, from the salt water coffee.
© Orv Alveshere, Fargo ND
(Thanks to Waya’ai Keene, acclaimed New Mexico artist, for the predicament story)