We Deserved More Time

Dear, I’m sorry.

We Deserved More Time

We Deserved More Time

I meant what I said—oh those many years ago when I promised you the moon and stars and days filled with rich foods and sweet drink, but then came the hard work of making a living and honestly honey, how much of the world can we see with just two weeks of vacation each year. You understood. Of course you did. You were the frugal one, the one who set budgets and banked paychecks for unseen emergencies. So we shelved our travel plans, packing our dreams into folders marked “beach house,” “Europe,” and “Yosemite.”

For a while we enjoyed weekends in cottages borrowed from friends. But the days were too few and besides, the boys needed us at scout meetings, on ball fields, and in the kitchen where you made our house a home. Here, look at this photo. Here you are sitting on the sea wall in St. Thomas. See that smile? See how, even with the glare of the tropical sun in your eyes, you’re still beaming with that carefree smile that now sags, thin and pale.

There was hope for a time after the boys left for college, but then our parents became sick and then the grandkids… my God, think of them. Would you really have wanted to exchange their laughter and cooing for a few months in the vineyards of Tuscany?

Before I heard—before the oncologist called—I was dusting off those dreams. I wanted to see if we could recapture the magic we’d enjoyed oh those years ago. But now it’s too late. Now there’s only you and me and each day there is less of you.

Were we to leave right now it would be too late. So we won’t. We’ll stay right here in this room, on this bed, among the deepening shadows that diminish the light in your eyes. All that is left is the moon and stars and they are not enough.

Oh dear, I am sorry. Please forgive me. When you said I do, I didn’t. I didn’t take you to the pyramids and glaciers and mountaintops like I promised. You deserved more. You deserved the world.

We deserved more time.

Apply to Be a Pirate

Talk Like a Pirate for Days to Come

Would You Like to Talk Like a Pirate and Serve As Crew In, Dead Calm, Bone Dry?

Dead Calm, Bone DryTo apply to be a member of our crew, write a 200 word essay on why you feel you would make a swarthy pirate in the next installment of the Caribbean Chronicles series. Information on how to apply can be found at Caribbean Chronicles. Below are available positions.

Quarter Master: During times of battle the Captain holds unlimited authority, but at other times he and the rest of the crew are subject to the command of the Quartermaster. It is his (or her) duty to represent the crew’s interests. For this the Quartermaster receives an extra share of the booty when divided. (More treasure!) Above all, the Quartermaster protects the crew against each other by maintaining order, settling quarrels, and distributing food and other essentials. A jury of the crew tries serious crimes, but the Quartermaster has the authority to punish minor offenses. If the pirates are successful in their attack of a vessel, the Quartermaster decides what plunder to take from a prize. If the pirates decide to keep a captured ship, the Quartermaster will assume command until the vessel is disposed. The crew elects the Quartermaster immediately after choosing a Captain. One position available.

Sailing Master: The Sailing Master navigates and sails the ship. He or she directs the course and looks after the maps and instruments necessary for navigation. Since charts of the waters in which we sail are often inaccurate (or just don’t exists) this role requires someone with sharp eyes and a sense of the danger that lies beneath the keel. One position available.

Boatswain: The Boatswain supervises the maintenance of the vessel and its supply stores. He or she is responsible for inspecting the ship and its sails and rigging each morning, and reporting their state to the captain. The Boatswain is also in charge of all deck activities, including weighing and dropping anchor, and the handling of sails. One position available.

Carpenter: The Carpenter – also known as Surgeon – is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the hull, masts and yards. He or she works under the direction of the ship’s Master and Boatswain. The Carpenter’s duties are to check the hull regularly, placing oakum between the seams of the planks and wooden plugs on leaks to keep the vessel tight. The Carpenter may also serve as the ship’s Surgeon and perform amputations (and other operations) with the same wood working tools he or she uses to repair the ship. One position available.

Master Gunner: The Master Gunner is responsible for the ship’s guns (cannons) and ammunition. This includes sifting the powder to keep it dry, prevent it from separating, insuring the cannons and ordnance are kept free of rust, and that all weapons are in good repair. A knowledgeable Gunner is essential to the crew’s safety and effective use of their weapons. One position available.

Mermaid: Mermaid is an Old English word for sea, and maid. Mermaids sing to sailors, often distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or run their ships aground. But they also save drowning men – in some cases carrying them to their underwater kingdoms. One position available. (Sorry, females only.)

Mate: Mates serve as apprentice to the Ship’s Master, Boatswain, Carpenter & Gunner and take care of the fitting out of the vessel. Mates examine whether the ship is sufficiently provided with ropes, pulleys, sails, and all the other rigging necessary for the voyage. Mates also take care of hoisting the anchor. During a passage the crew checks the tackle once a day. If a mate observes anything amiss, he or she reports this to the ship’s Master. Arriving at a port, ship mates help repair the cables and anchors, and attend to the management of the sails, yards and mooring of the ship. Several positions available.

Wench: Wenches are young woman or female servants taken aboard ship as cargo who, through choice or force, decide to remain as crew. Though women are not generally welcome aboard, wenches serve at the pleasure of the captain and may sometimes out-perform the (mostly) male crew. They may also serve with and replace the ship’s cook, at which point they become a Galley Wench. One position available.

Grog Maid: A Grog Maid serves beverages in a pub or tavern. Grog Maids also act as the public image of the establishment, contributing to its reputation. For example, drinks like, Bloody Mary, Shirley Temple, and Margarita are named after grog maids. One position available.

Able Bodied Sailor: An Able Bodied Sailor is common sailor. He or she needs to know the rigging and the sails, plus how to steer the ship for the purposes of navigation. He or she needs to know how to read the skies, weather, winds and most importantly the moods of the captain. Several positions available.

Rigger: Sailors assigned aloft to work the running rigging and to furl and release the sails are called Riggers. Due to the risk of falling from a slippery spar high above a rolling deck this is a dangerous position. We need lots of Riggers.

Cabin Boy: A young boy who works aboard pirate ships is a servant. Many cabin boys are runaways looking to escape the dreary life of school and work. Others are taken hostage from captured vessels. One position available.

Powder Monkey: These sailors run gunpowder from below decks to the cannon crews during battle. One position available.

Swab: Although technically not a rank, a sailor who mops the decks using the swab is called a “swabbie.” The term has come to describe someone who is not held in high regard by the commanders and crew. Several positions available.




My Family and Nat Turner

How Come I'm Fighting Yankees by Sam Turner

Nat TurnerSunday evening, August 21, 1831, seven negros gathered ‘round a campfire in the woods of Southampton County Virginia. Out front of the fire was Cabin Pond, a good size swimming hole that leads to the swamp south of Norfolk. Embers from the campfire reflected off black water, shining onto lily pads, rushes, and mossy stumps. The night sounds of frogs, crickets, and owl offered some cover as the men discussed their murderous plans.

The leader, a slave called Nat, told how God called him to kill the whites. Maybe it’s so. I read my Bible regular. More so now than when I was back home on my farm. I read how God told folks to attack one group and kill everything, even the babies. So maybe God did tell Nat Turner to do such a vile thing. But more’n likely, it was Satan that done the talking.

Not long after midnight, Nat and his band set out along a footpath that wound its way through cypress and water oaks. When they reached the clearing that was the Travis farm, they scaled split-rail fences and slipped past hedgerows until they found their way to the cider press. Drinking liquor will give a body terrible ideas. We ain’t allowed none in my company ‘cept when a body is near death’s door or a limb has to come off. But I reckon Nat’s men got some courage from it, because it weren’t long afterwards that they crept up to the Travis home.

A feller named Hark placed a ladder against the chimney and held it firm while Nat climbed. When he was all the way up, Nat opened the upstairs window and slipped in the way a snake ‘ill slither into a bedroll on a cool fall night. Was pitch black dark in his master’s bedroom, but that didn’t stop Nat from killing. He swung his hatchet at his master’s head and missed. Travis sat upright and bolted from his bed, but before he could warn Mrs. Travis, Hark rushed into the bedroom and cut him down with an ax. Blood covered the bed and floor’s planking. Them two butchered Mrs. Travis in her bed like she wasn’t nothing more’n a hog. Hacked up the couple’s infant boy, too. Cut his head clean off. Now I ask ya: what sort of man called by God does a thing like that?

The Union soldiers across the river from our camp call what Nat Turner did a righteous thing. They sing songs ’bout John Brown’s body and say killing is what comes from keeping a man like he’s nothing more’n property. I ain’ never owned a slave and don’ want none. Fair wages for a days work is the way Mom brought me up. Nat killed my grandma, Elizabeth Turner, and I can’t forgive him or his kind for that. I’d have hung him myself if I could. But that parts over. All I want is to go back to farming but them Yankees would let me.

Seems to me that army across the river ain’ no different than Nat Turner. They come onto my place and want to kill me and my kin. No sir, I didn’ start this quarrel but I can do my part to end it.

I ain’ fighting for the slave owners. The north can keep all the negros if they want. Just keep off my land is all I ask. But they want. Yankees is worse’n Nat’s band of murders. They just keep coming and coming and all the while talking how they’s in the right and the Lord’s on their side.

Some asked why I joined up. To keep’em off my place and out of my county, that’s all. I’d write more ’bout how come I’m fighting, but right now revelry sounds and we got to get marching towards a train depot called Manassas Junction. Some in my company say this’ll all be over soon as we whip them Yankees. I have my doubts. They hung Nat and the killing didn’t stop. Don’t see as how one battle will end this.

But I pray it will. I miss sister’s sweet potato pie.

Sam Turner.

(rough draft, typos included – EJ )