Ocean Station Delta – #SoCS

If you recall, we left the bar last week with a curious “to be continued…” notice. Well, it’s Friday and time to see if Linda G. Hill is going to give us a Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt that will let me proceed with that story. Here we go:

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘yawn.’ Write about the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘yawn,’ when you sit down to write your post. Enjoy!”

I think I can work with that.


If we were having a beer, I’d be paying for everything.

“Cheryl – yaaaaaaawwwn – excuse me, get this old man anything he wants. Food, drink, it’s all on me today.”

“Sweet. Am I getting you a Corona?”

“Actually, I’ll start by toasting him with a bit of John Howell’s Bourbon.”

“And I will certainly join him in that bourbon toast.”

“I’ll get right on those.”

“Now, to what do I owe such generosity?”

“Yaaaaaaawwwn, oh, excuse me, your note, last week.”

“You looked it up?”

“I read the book.”

“You read it already?”

“I did, I could hardly put it down.”

“Is that why you’re yawning? I can’t believe you stayed up late to read that.”

“I can’t believe you served on one of those boats.”

“I served on several of those ships.”

“OK, an unprecedented two glasses of Willett Reserve – I took the liberty of adding cherries to both – now, what gives?”

“Check out this book, Cheryl. Here, look at this picture.”

“Yikes. I would not want to be on that boat.”

Ship.”

“Cheryl, this guy was on that boat, or one like it, for 18 years!”

Ship.”

“Seriously? Him?”

“Well, “he” (I) was in the Coast Guard for 18 years, not always on one of those… ships.”

“Well, then your next round is on the house. I didn’t even know you were in the Coast Guard.”

“I knew it, and I knew you served on a boat on weather station, but I had no idea what that entailed.”

“OK, for the record, a three-hundred-foot-long ‘boat’ is a ship.”

“Whatever. Anyway, how come you never said how dangerous it was?”

“I don’t talk about it much. People today can’t even imagine why we were out there.”

“Why were you there?”

“Well, Cheryl, we were providing radio navigation to other ships and the early trans-oceanic flights, and we were gathering information for the Weather Service, so they could prepare long-range forecasts.”

“And, they were rescuing people from all manner of catastrophic situations – sinking ships, broken ships and planes that had to ditch in the ocean.”

“That didn’t happen as often as he makes it sound in the book.”

“I didn’t know it happened at all. Planes ditch in the ocean?”

“Not anymore, Cheryl. Although they do sometimes crash there. But this was way before satellites and GPS.”

“And you were out there – in the North Atlantic – for weeks on end – riding out whatever weather Mother Nature could throw at you.”

“That was our job. But, we were well-trained, and we had the equipment to do that job.”

“Like baseball bats?”

“Ha ha – yes, we did use baseball bats to break the ice from the rigging.”

“I fell on my butt on Wednesday, on the ice on the three steps that go from our porch to our driveway. You were on a boat, rising up and sliding down fifty-foot waves, rolling from side-to-side, COVERED in ice, in the dark, in the rain, in extremely high wind, on a freaking ocean!”

“Fear is a powerful motivator.”

“Huh?”

“If you didn’t break the ice, the ship could become top-heavy and sink, instead of rolling from side-to-side.”

“Well, I thank you for your service!”

“Mostly, I was in the radio room.”

“I don’t care. You were on that boat.”

Ship.”

What-ever. I’m trying to be nice to you, stop being pedantic.”

“The consideration that you served on a ship as opposed to a boat is a serious thing. But, for the record, I don’t much care.”

“Then why are you busting on me?”

“Just because. Thanks for reading the book, and thanks for the bourbon.”

“You’re welcome. Now, what was the worst thing you ever encountered?”

“One night, I was getting ready for my shift. We were in rough seas, but I really needed to take a shower. Just as I got out of the shower, this green kid comes rushing in.”

“Green as in new, or green as in sick?”

“Both.”

“OK, then what happened?”

“He threw-up, all over me.”

“That’s the worst thing that ever happened?”

“You ever have someone puke on you?”

“No, but I was hoping for something more dramatic.”

“Like in the movies?”

“Or the book, whichever.”

“Someday, when it’s warm outside, and you’re awake, you can buy me a couple more bourbons and I’ll talk your ear off.”

“Deal!”


Note: Today’s post is a little less fiction than normal. One of my (real) bar buddies did serve on a ship at Ocean Station Delta, he did recommend this book, and I do thank him, and everyone who ever served on those ships, for risking their lives for us.

Today’s gallery includes pictures of the recent ice storm. I did fall, but I’m just a little bruised and Maddie helped me recuperate. Meanwhile, Cheryl brought us a bit of beauty on Wednesday. And, for Maddie’s fans, there’s a few seconds of video below the gallery.

78 thoughts on “Ocean Station Delta – #SoCS

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    1. Thanks Judy. We have cleats. It’s a long story, but I decided not to put them on. I had a “better” plan. Oh well, I guess I didn’t. I’ve got s coupke lingering aches, but nothing serious. This getting old thing is scary sometimes. As for this service, it was an odd and dangerous sacrifice that most people never heard about, yet hundreds of young men were out there. I’m proud to know one. Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I understand GP. She loved coming out after I put the snow blower away. The Mrs tossed her ball out and it’s playtime. She just loves the snow. This was good, because the ice wasn’t so thick. She could crunch right through.

      I think you would enjoy the book. It’s an accounting of a segment of service I never knew existed. During WWII, Korea and Vietnam, these guys were out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am duly impressed. I admire anyone who was able to live at sea with a dozen or more others in close quarters on all too often ridiculously rough seas. And while that may be a ship, it is a small one so I imagine his young friend wasn’t the first to puke on a senior member of the Guard. Not many people think about the Coast Guard or the Merchant Marines and what they do, how long they are at sea oe what treacherous situations they can be in. Thanks for the great images and book recommendation. I do hope you are healing up. That ice looks so dangerous. I hope you have a painless weekend, Dan. Thanks for the shout out. I have neglected my blog lately. Too much writing and a whole lot of work. 😏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Cheryl. So many of the rescue stories in the book are about the Coast Guard assisting merchant ships that had suffered power losses or broken up. The work involved was so dangerous, and these men never hesitated. Several lost their lives while saving others.

      Compared to 50′ waves, that is definitely not a big ship.

      The ice is dangerous. I know that, and yet, I made the wrong choice and paid the ice-price. I’m feeling better today, I think I’ll be fine but I still feel stupid.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch! Falling down steps, even just a few steps, can make your body feel like every bone and joint and muscle has been rearranged!! Been there, done that. Hope you’re well on your way to recovery.

    Today’s bar conversation was more than just interesting, it was an eye opener for me! I had no idea what a major part the Coastguard plays in times of conflict. How sad that these men and women are not recognized for their heroism like the rest of our military. They have my deepest respect and gratitude.

    Maddie seems to be having the time of her life running around the yard. She probably needed an extra long nap later! Maddie’s neighbor is one handsome dog. MuMu getting scratched AND brushed….ahhhhh, the good life. And MiMi consenting to let you work in HER space…..what a sweetheart!

    Have a relaxing, SAFE weekend Dan. ☺️
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. Though the Ocean Stations were manned during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, they also served in peacetime. Their “enemy” was the weather in the North Atlantic, and it seems like it was formidable. I’m glad you liked this. I was so impressed by the willingness of these young men to risk their lives to help save others.

      Maddie loves the snow. She is waiting for me to take her for a walk. The Editor isn’t so sure I should be doing that, but I’m thinking a short walk will be OK, as long as the sidewalks are clear. I have to say, getting down to scratch MuMu that first day did make me think about bones and muscles I didn’t know I had.

      I hope you’re having a nice weekend with good weather and playtime for Murphy.

      Like

  3. First of all, glad you’re OK. Falling at any age and especially on ice isn’t good/fun at any age. Secondly, I enjoy the story a lot. Thanks for sharing it. Right now we’re not far from the shooting in Aurora, Illinois. Not ice hardships there, but five people killed and five officers shot. Being a policeman is also hazardous these days!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. Serving in any of these first-response positions is way more dangerous than we tend to think. I feel bad for anyone that is involved in these shootings, but the police who rush in to save others get a little extra sympathy.

      I hope your weekend stays clear of ice/snow/cold – I’m feeling a lot better (dumb, but better).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d love to be there for that warmer weather conversation. Very interesting! And now I have a new book in my TBR queue.

    My dad served on a ship too, the USS Copahee. But in the Pacific ocean. Much milder climate. I wish he was still here so I could ask him to tell some more stories.

    I’m glad you didn’t break anything when you took a tumble. Slipping on ice is no joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jill. The book includes a few stories about the stations in the Pacific, including the ones north of Midway and into the Aleutians. I can’t imagine that being out on any open water is ever truly safe. Thanks for your father’s service. As we ocean commerce and overseas flights advanced, these men were the only way to get this critical job done, for so many years. We don’t need manned ships out there today, but we shouldn’t forget the time when we did.

      I’m feeling pretty good today. The ice is melting, but unfortunately, it’s refreezing because the ground is frozen and the water has nowhere to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. B always says if technology fails we’d be in a world of hurt for exactly that reason… we don’t remember the past. I think maybe we take things for granted. It’s why I want to read the book even more. Of course reading isn’t doing but still will help me appreciate what others have done.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great story, Dan. And thank you for letting folks know the dangers of being on a ship at sea. Hubby’s aircraft carrier turned into a storm to rescue a fisherman with severe appendicitis. The fisherman survived at the hands of the Navy surgeon, but a sailor lost his life in the rescue. And thank you for the book recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked this Jennie. There are a few stories in the book where men lost their lives, rushing into dangerous water to save others. I don’t think it’s possible to thank these men, and everyone who served on these ships, for their service. Even ships the size of aircraft carriers are at risk, and when it comes time to rescue people, you have to get from the big ship to the little one and back, and that is very dangerous. Thanks to your husband for his service, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My bumps, bruises, and falls take longer to heal than they used to. Living in conditions like those would be a serious concern for me because, well, clumsy. Put on those cleats, man. But Maddie? She runs like the wind! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes mom…

      I didn’t wear the cleats, because I was planning to shovel a path in front of me on the way to the garage. I thought I could crunch through the ice on the steps, because I had left snow on them the night before – it was a good plan, it just didn’t work! Says the man with a bruised back.

      Maddie liked running on this stuff, because she could break through. The previous ice storm was more substantial and she slid around like the rest of us. She stayed mostly in the path for that one.

      Like

  7. I greatly enjoyed this post. Sounds like high adventure! The first time I saw the movie Perfect Storm I was relatively fit and adventurous and remember thinking I could have been in the Coast Guard since I love the water and was a pretty good swimmer. Then I remembered that I’m extremely prone motion sickness (it’s even worse now). I would have puked on people. Always wondered if people get over that if they stay on a ship long enough. It’s a good thing you were near the shower when you got puked on.Thank you for your service.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that, John. I try to get that clear, but I guess I didn’t leave enough clues. My friend is the one who served in the Coast Guard. I think maybe my eagerness to tell portions of his story might have caused some problems. I do appreciate knowing when it doesn’t work.

      Like

  8. Enjoyed the post, Dan. It is funny but I got into a discussion on the word “boat ” and “ship.” Naval pilots always refer to their carrier as a boat. I wrote about an aircraft carrier and referred to it as a boat (from the pilot’s point of view) The technical military advisor who was a Lt Col. in the army corrected it to “ship.” I finally let it go since it was a small point. However, any naval pilot reading the book will know the author has no idea what they are talking about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John. I asked one of our Navy guys about this. He said it can be quite amusing. He talked about the rule of thumb being “you can put a boat in a ship but you can’t put a ship on a boat.” Then he reminded me that you could put a 300’ ship on a middle sub which is a boat. I just wanted something to add a little diversion to the conversation. My friend (they guy who served) really doesn’t care. I think you were right to try to go with the pilot’s point of view.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Horsefeathers, Dan! Ice is so dangerous. I’m glad you weren’t hurt any worse. Although bruises aren’t anything to sneeze at. They can really hurt. I’ve had some doozies, and worried that something worse might result from the bruise. I took aspirin daily (but wasn’t on any other med that could interact with it).
    I think MuMu was trying to make sure you felt better. =^-^= Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I laughed so hard through this, I had to go back and read it again, because SHIPS. The Mister is completely pedantic about SHIPS as well. That must be a thing. He has corrected me for … eons! SHIPS!
    I am not trying to pun, but I bet that kind of work has serious highs and lows. Imagine the beauty of nature, but also the danger. Imagine peace and then utter chaos. I bet it was quite a ride. The determination and constancy of muscle and heart must have been exhausting and at times, exhilarating.
    Maddie is such a good runner, she should consider being a dog! Your cats’ faces are utterly precious as well. Such a pretty group of fluffers!
    I love the way an ice storm looks, from the safety of my own lawn. It’s so pretty, the hoarfrost, too, but driving, no.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad I included the boat/ship. This book read like a thriller at times but it’s history.

      I’ll tell Maddie you suggested she try being a dog. Probably won’t go that route, but worth a shot. The sisters are pretty cats. Demanding but pretty.

      Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, Dan–sorry about the fall. I think sometimes our pride hurts the most. The three M’s are so cute. MiMi’s expressions at sharing her with you spot crack me up. My husband corrects me: boat, ship….and then throw in the occasional yacht. Who can tell?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I’m getting over the fall. I felt dumb (after I realized I wasn’t seriously hurt). MiMi doesn’t mind sharing, but she doesn’t want a lot of petting and foot-rubbing (her feet are so cute). A little bit of her tail poked through the curtain. I grabbed it and she swacked me with her claws.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate. I do try to be careful. This time, things did not go as planned.

      I’m generally ok on a boat, but I wouldn’t want to be on one of these. The situations he (the author) described were scary. I need to ask my friend more about his service. Most people didn’t know these guys were out there.

      Like

  12. For me Boats versus Ships is one of those word choices that I do not care about. I care about the people who care about it, but for me it just doesn’t matter. That being said, this book sounds fascinating and your story has given me a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about. Must learn more.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That book sounds right in my wheelhouse. Imma look that up. Freezing rain–I love the looks, but I wish it weren’t so dangerous for plants and walking things. Glad you did no lasting damage to yourself. falling from an adult height is a shock, besides the physical pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was very interesting to read. It’s a factual account (actually many accounts) but it’s riveting stuff.

      Freezing rain looks so pretty, but it’s not good for moving. Even Maddie, with her 4-paw-drive isn’t much on it unless she can crunch through (like in the video). Falling at this height and age is not fun. Thanks!

      Like

  14. Cheers to you. I enjoyed how you tied all of the interesting facts and a fall on your butt to boot. I’m assuming on your butt, it clearly wasn’t your brilliantly creative head. I agree – thank you to those who serve(d) on ships, too. Hope you continue to recover and that the ice melts. No matter how pretty it is, it is not the kind of friend to spend time walking with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Shelley – yes, there’s a butt-shaped mark in the ice where I fell. That part was OK. The bad part was smacking my back into the stair I fell off of. But, I’m feeling pretty good today.

      The men who served on these ships – I’m not sure we can thank them enough. Same with the men and women who serve today. They are still willing to risk their lives, to save others. That’s asking a lot, and yet we don’t have to ask.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post….love the pics and obviously Maddie is one happy camper in the snow. Sorry about your falling…ice storms are the worst…I’d rather deal with a blizzard over an ice storm. You are lucky you didn’t have any serious injuries….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love all those snow pictures you post. I know you guys have a love-hate relationship with snow as we have with the rains. The winter here is already fading away and summer will be here in I believe in a fortnight. Do you know I always wanted to be in Navy? I like white smart navy officers. My college is just 5 minutes walk from a naval dock so I wanted to be like them. However, I didn’t clear on many grounds. My friend suggested that I should look for Short Service Commission in the Army, but army is way beyond my physical capacity and I wasn’t passionate about it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. To be honest, I don’t know. However, I have a connect with water bodies. I love being in the water or close to. I used to sit at Marine Drive in Mumbai for hours with my mom and then without her. I just close my eyes and listen to the tides, the birds circling over me, feel the evening sun on my skin, observe the people around me. I did this daily for 4 years. So by the time I was in college I had this attraction to be in the Navy. I’m not sure how good or bad I would have performed if I had got the opportunity. My friends say I like water because I am a Piscean. However I gotta admit I don’t like swimming pools. Plus I don’t know how to swim.

        Liked by 1 person

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