SHIP AHOY!

You dance with the sea like you dance with your woman.

Capt’n Jaines stood on the helm of his back porch situated miles from the open seas. He felt the waft of the winds stirring up the surf on his crop of wheat. The stalks churned like the golden waves of grain they were. Jaines was very aware of the storm front approaching. Instinctively, he lowered the flag that whipped high upon its pole to raise the weather warning.

But as the stars and stripes of his banner came to eye level, the realization hit him as if his keel had run aground. He was retired. A seafaring gob turned gentleman farmer.

It was hard to release the trapping of his former high adventure life for what he saw as a mundane romp in the weeds. From his back veranda, Cap saw the hint of horizon rising above the low lying ground fog that gave his crop the illusion of floating; a mighty ship of chaff and grain rolling in the silence.

He had a telescope mounted on the porch rail and he would scan the distant view, a “seescape” under his watchful eye. Vern, Jaines long suffering wife, had been worn down by his extended absences at sea. Yes, she had married a sailor and all that that entailed. But she wanted a life with him, to finally enjoy each other’s company – to rock on the porch and roll with the waves of life, watching it creep by.

She made every effort of assimilate Capt’n to this life on solid ground. As far as Vern knew, no one ever went under walking on terra firma. But she had her brother install a helm wheel on the rail next to his sight glass. She knew it would please him. Every so often she would spy her husband standing astride the planks with his gnarled hands firmly gripping the spokes. She admitted he looked more natural there.

Vern brought two cups of coffee out to the porch. She noticed Cap withdraw his hands from the spar quickly, hoping she had not seen. But she always saw.

“You really miss the old girl, don’t you?” Vern inquired.

He returned his hands to the wheel.

“She was a fickle mistress.” he began, talking in a confessional voice. “She had broken my heart many times, but she made sweet love to me as well!”

And Cap glanced over his shoulder at Vern. He smiled his haggard old smile. She never felt jealous when he talked of the sea. For Vern knew the sea kept him faithful. It seemed a shame that he had to let her go.

But Vern understood. You dance with the sea like you dance with your woman. Cap tended to the two of them with a loving eye. She looked forward to the rest of this journey as his First Mate.

“SHIP AHOY!”, she yelled to the crows circling the wheat as she came to stand beside her Captain. She felt his arm wrap around her shoulder as they set sail for the horizon.

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