[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]
Things I won’t forget
The schizophrenic nature of an equatorial sunrise.
Sometimes it’s a bare, self-effacing minimum of pink pastels, peeping over the edge of the world with a diffident look, as if to say, “Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just come up over here and you go on about your business.”
Other times it boils up over the ocean in a ferocious, frothing mass, beating its orange and gold chest, daring you to look away, and you don’t, for fear of what it might do when your back is turned.
Rolling out of my rack at 4am when I hear the pipe, “Now, set Flight Condition 1! Close all doors and hatches! The smoking lamp is out!”
Being judged and found wanting in evolutionary excellence by the Darwin sorter.
EO Todd Raybonn’s description of the ballast evolution. “Every tank is only four valves away from sea water.” He makes the ship sound alive.
The absolutely unnecessary collective height of the Captain and the XO. They aren’t intimidating enough already? Sheesh.
The startling, over-the-cliff drop in crew energy and enthusiasm in mid-patrol. The grim, determined climb out of the pit, greatly aided by the crossing of the line festivities.
About which, I say only: Aaaarrrrrrrg. Though not as well as any one of the Chiefs.
Nicknames in the Chief’s Mess. I’m not telling who was called what, but they all fit. Nobody tell me what they’re calling me now that I’m gone.
The wonder in the eyes of my underway writers’ workshop as they learn what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t know I could do that.
The pixie in the galley, aka FS2 Nicki Steele, serving midrats to the mid shift crew she treats like family. Also, her snickerdoodles.
Counting down the minutes left with the midnight-to-four watch on the bridge. Those guys are glad to see anybody.
Darkened ship, DIW, hove to beneath a moon so bright I can’t find my way home.
Things I won’t miss
Sea showers. I have too much hair for an EPAC patrol.
That’s all, really.
To the Captain and crew of the USCG cutter Munro,
Thank you for your tolerant acceptance of my presence among you. Thank you for your infinite patience in answering my endless questions. If I don’t get it right in the books, it won’t be your fault.
I will think of you all, I will miss you all, and I’m going to write about you all.
Now, set go fast red!
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Author and founder of Storyknife.org.