merchant mariner families

...a highly unusual, sometimes maddening,
but mostly comical way of life.

February 14, 2015

high heels and the captain...

   I sat on the floor of the closet examining all of my shoes and wondering, 'Should I wear heels out to the ship?'

  Okay, a little explanation is in order, right?  You see, back in November, after hearing that Beady would be delayed out to sea FOR THE THIRD TIME!!!!, I took matters into my own hands and purchased a plane ticket in order to see him.  Though I knew it would be a less than 20 hour visit in which we slept for 8 of them, I was excited to finally catch a glimpse of my husband in action, the crew he spoke incessantly about, and the big, beautiful ship he sailed on for months at a time.  But back to the heels...

     Yes, very impractical.  Yes, wholly unreasonable.  But, for me, it was a sure fire way to get under Beady's skin!  I could just see his face when he met me at the shipyard gate and hear the words, "You're not getting on MY ship with those shoes.  Are you crazy?  That's a major safety hazard!!"  So often he's such a Dudley Do Right.

      So I toyed with the idea for a few days, fully prepared to take a pair of flats so I could accommodate the anxiety he would adopt after seeing the offending shoes.  But in the end I chose to forgo said pair of heels.  It was a difficult decision in that I hadn't seen him in a long time and wanted to make a good impression.  Long, blond hair down and expertly set, blown perfectly by a gentle breeze off of the nearby water.  A pair of skinny jeans which would "acknowledge" the recent weight loss I had achieved.  The beautifully feminine sweater I had just purchased for such an occasion and those tremendously tall and striking high heels.  I wanted him to see what he'd been missing all of those months in one gorgeous snapshot.  Oh boy, do things ever really go that way for any of us?

A bit how I felt as he escorted me onto the ship!
At last, the day was upon us and I headed to San Diego with a lightness in my step, sans spiky heels.  I waited anxiously at the gate and when he finally arrived to meet me, I was completely overtaken.  
With the ship.  Did you think I meant with him?            

 She was a monster!  I couldn't believe the height, the length; she was incredibly imposing in one breath, then a monument of beauty in another.  I was suddenly fearful of climbing aboard, as if somehow I would get lost in her deepest, darkest depths, yet I couldn't help but move towards her, she was so exquisite.


The next 20 hours were amazing.  I met most of the crew (including Lena), got an incredibly thorough tour of the ship, and gained a new found respect for my husband as I sat quietly in his office and watched him work as the captain.  Who was this guy?  Why is everyone being so respectful?  Don't they know he can't eat with utensils?  All joking aside, I was so proud of him, so proud of how far he had come and I wished, in vain, his entire family had been with us to soak it all in.  

I couldn't help but think about Big Daddy Mitchell, too.  How he had spent so many years earning a living this way, far from home.  And though I'd had a deep well of respect already for merchant mariners before I boarded the Jean Anne, it seemed to grow infinitely as I walked around, listened, and felt for the briefest of moments what it must be like to choose this life.  Though I know everyone aboard probably saw themselves as fairly ordinary, I saw them as remarkable and forever will.  Who does this?  They do.  Thank you. 

   Oh and my wish for that one gorgeous snapshot?  Here's how I ended up.  Beady gave me a personal tour, but first insisted on dressing me the way a mother might ready her child for that bitterly cold walk to school in the winter.  His most hideous flannel shirt (electrical tape blue and murder scene red) went over that sweater I had so painstakingly selected because the deck was incredibly chilly.  On top of that, an attractive highlighter orange safety vest, so I wouldn't get run over by one of the thousands of cars driven onto the ship that night.  He then handed me crayola yellow ear plugs that stuck over an inch out of my ears ensuring hearing damage wouldn't occur and a rubber band to pull back that beautiful, blond, long hair so it wouldn't get caught on some of the more sharp and unforgiving "things" that might be sticking out on the Jean Anne.  I was sexy, I was hot, at least I knew I was under all of those visually offensive colors.       

     Time slipped by so very fast, as it always does when you're with your mariner, and eventually ran out for us.  But as he walked me off of the ship (he wishes) and lovingly pushed hovered as I stepped gingerly down the gangplank, I just had to mention my aborted plan of wearing high heels for the visit.  He quickly snapped back, no smiles all business, "If you'd done that, you wouldn't have gotten on my ship."  This girl's a lucky one. 


Copyright Callie's Mariner 2015

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