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Updated: Jun 10

When we bought the campervan, we knew there would be issues that would reveal themselves as the touchup paint and wheel dressing started to fade. The Big Trip (previous blogs) did a good job of knocking some of the window dressing off of Minerva, but I got those things fixed in the days following my return and I'm on another adventure, this time to visit my father's sister ship and her crew in Evansville, Indiana for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. As I type these words, I can picture my dad's eyes fix on a long-forgotten memory and then shift to me and ask why was I wasting my time with an old ship. What's done is done. We had several such talks when I'd share an adventure or dream. When I mentioned wanting to see the world, he replied "there's nothing out there that you can't find right here." Or when I mentioned how much I loved sailing and that I was taking a trip with a guy from Manhattan Beach from Cape Town to Recife on his 33' sailboat, he said nothing letting the silence on the phone serve as his response. I knew he'd crossed the Atlantic several times and had hoped for some words of wisdom or even a sea story, but I didn't understand at the time. I didn't understand War.

I wished he had been there with me yesterday, running my hands along the bulkhead and railings. I didn't feel cold steel. I felt the hands of hundred of sailors for whom this was home. Bagpipes played a lament from the foredeck and I realized that my dad was on the ship in every fiber of my being. From the hatch to crew's berthing, we studied the figures on the tank deck below. A retired WWII Marine, slightly built and hunched from the weight of 90 years of service. Men in dress blues with brightly colored ribbons telling stories of their own stood at attention as a 27-year veteran showed honor to his elder in front of a crowd of onlookers. Children in Army helmets and flags purchased from the gift shop practiced salutes next to a 40MM relic. A young man thumbed through stacks of books searching for stories as we're all searching for stories as the glue that bonds us to the experience, and I felt my dad pause.

We all have our relative struggles, and like small wars they suck the oxygen from whatever is near and dear to our lives leaving shells of what was once full of hope. But like a fire, War is fleeting. I would like to think my father could feel the steel rails were no longer cold, warmed by the laughter of children running up and down the narrow stairways. War has no hold here, having long been polished and painted into obscurity by volunteers who devote their time and respect to ensure the ship tells her stories for generations to come. His stories. That the fear and despair of years past have been replaced by something much more enduring.


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2 commentaires

Thank you for sharing this ~ so good to hear your stories!


Well written ~ for the everlasting love of your father ~ I know he is very proud of his lovely daughter!

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