Tag Archives: Annapolis

From Sea to Sea

I remember sailing this leaky, 17′ day boat, my father’s dream. We’d go out when the wind quit around 1900 hours and Dad said “put down the centerboard, we’re gonna go like hell.” Uh, no, Dad. Let’s limp back to the dock.

The wind whispered otherwise. That boat broke our dock during bad weather several times and real sailors brought it back. They already knew who owned it and where we lived.

Another sailor tried to teach me how to fish. My brother and I took a ship across the Channel from Dover to Calais. With a guide, my brother and I did Class 5 rapids in the Adirondacks when we were young. I flipped out of the raft in an instant. The other raft saved me and afterwards we were stuck in an eddy and almost died. I didn’t know that until later, at lunch on an island and I passed the guides talking about how close we all came to death. I think that was the best canned chicken soup I ever had.

My husband and I went down a river in Texas with a guide at Class 3 rapids, years later. At 3,000 cfm (Army Corps of Engineers had to release excess water from a dam due to rainfall) we did a five-hour trip in two.

Sometimes I just make it through. I do get seasick and recommend sea bands, a pressure point wristband so you don’t need Dramamine or equivalent.

I made it through for my greatest challenge, marriage, 12 years ago. I asked a highly decorated Navy Captain (USN, Ret.) to marry us. He wrote our vows and took on the challenge. When he died we went to Annapolis to see him interred and his widow got to meet SecNav and received a coin.

I think my sea-worthiness is worth some sea-sickness. Ahoy, matey! Dee

ps You’re not getting married at sea, Miss M (it’s the last time I’ll be able to call you Miss), and I will not be there to meet your betrothed but you are in my heart and I want to see photos at Thanksgiving! Love from Cousin Dee

Marriage

That’s something my husband and I talked about a week after we met. We married 14 months later. Oh, we eloped. What we said that first week is that the marriage is more important than the wedding. Our young friends are proving that to be true.

Marriage is about yesterday, nearly 13 years in, on a klutz week, I have them from time to time, every five years or so. I think I broke my near little toe on the wood leg to our sofa and had to get up to ice it again. He brought me an ice pack and a naproxin sodium for pain. Thank you, dearest!

In 2003 we were moving and had the car, the truck was on its way to its new destination and we were at an old Holiday Inn, new name, the round ones. The room was angular. I was up and pacing middle of the night and because of the non-squareness of the room when I stubbed my toe on the desk my husband, in his sleep, said “hurts, doesn’t it.” To this day it’s a joke here and he doesn’t remember saying it. That’s marriage.

People spend tens of thousands for weddings when they should consider their future. I did our wedding planning, flowers, site, dress (rental with tiara and lovely white scarf, hair, makeup, shirt and tie for my groom, lunch for eight and honeymoon) for $2,000. Yes, tell me to get out of here. That includes permits.

My husband and I asked an older couple (married for decades) for a meeting at their home. It was a Tuesday afternoon. They had been very kind to us, me before I met J, for years. I said that we have decided to marry. If you don’t have any plans at noon Saturday, we’d love for you to be there. I called them Mom and Dad.

I asked “Dad” if he would marry us. As a retired Navy Captain I’m sure he thought it would be on a ship, and “Mom” to sign as a witness. He took a moment in the other room (perhaps shed a tear because he has three sons and no daughter to give in marriage). He came out, asked how it would be done and told me he wanted to write the vows.

They were not great on computers so I said I’d type and print the vows for him in caps and double spaced. We found an illegal venue less than 24 hours before the wedding and were in and out of there in 15 minutes to go to my favorite Northern Italian place on the patio for lunch for eight. The chef gave us wedding cake. Then we went home to call our parents.

Yes, that 2K got us one night at a senior’s resort on Rte. 66 (my husband’s choice and it was karaoke night) and two in Vegas courtesy of a concierge who saw my bouquet and told us to come back after lunch and gave us a gorgeous suite on the 33rd floor for $88 per night!

It was an incredible four days planning and executing but worth every minute. We did what we wanted to do. Simple, elegant, and we met each others’ families first. His mother interrogated me for five days. Smart she is, because whenever I tell her that her son is on a five month project that takes over my kitchen work space and is driving me nuts all she says is “I told you.” Yes, she did. Cheers! Dee

ps “Dad” is now interred at Annapolis. Of course we were there. God rest his soul. As his “daughter” I’ve permission to visit any time. I just have to wait a month for a parking permit. Dee

Women With “Spirit”

Luckily I know a few. One “adopted” me 17 years ago and we attended her husband’s burial yesterday. When she started trying to direct her grown children from behind the scenes moments before the ceremony, I said to her “I don’t think you need to be organizing things” and she replied, “Oh, yes I do!”

Her husband, who was put to rest yesterday in a lovely ceremony at his alma mater, the Naval Academy, overlooking the Navy Yard where we witnessed an impressive Parade and 21-cannon salute, would have been proud.

This incredible couple were married 63 years, met at the Officers’ Club, had their wedding reception there and had his memorial reception in that same room while he looked on from across the bay. He married us nearly ten years ago, and his wife witnessed our marriage certificate and bought me a lovely bouquet, which I tried to replicate to honor the service, the gift, they gave us.

That gift was knowing a quiet strength that underlies a marriage and family, a life based on purpose.

The Captain was given a fine send-off on his final voyage, and the Admiral, his wife, remains.

I’m lucky to know several intrepid women and this is definitely one of them. Despite the circumstances it was wonderful to see the family again. Even though we move around a lot, we always keep in touch. This post is dedicated to the memory of a courageous and honest man, and to the woman who stood beside him for 63 years. Dee