Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Like who you Are

Be who you Like, Like who you Are. Not exactly what it says on my LG coffee cup this morning, it says something else, close but else. And I’m not using that cup anyway, it’s still in the cuprack, the cup I’m using says Father Tom, a nice person at my last church made it for me. She made one just like it for Father Chuck. 

If I were using that LG cup, it could say that though. Like the jar of Nutella that says “Best by October 2015” could as well say something about the future instead of something about the past. Cups and Nutella both came from the house with us. The cups are fine, the Nutella tastes okay, has a plastic consistency now in its expiration life, but I had a spoonful of it just now and the flavor still seems about right.

Early, I love being up this early, having had enough sleep that I can be up and thinking, this time of life, night, and creation. Tue 1:58 AM reads the time in the upper corner, that would have been 0158 Hours in Destroyer time, someone would be standing the midwatch, but not me. It could be Don. The earlier watch would have sent for him, at 2330 a sailor knock and enter to awaken Don so he’d be on the bridge at 2345 to assume the watch and the con. As he stood there pulling on his clothes he’d glance at me staring sleepily at him from the upper bunk with a smirk on my face, and curse me bitterly, as only one who has the midwatch can curse one who does not. If he wasn’t awake enough to fling his string of filth at me, I’d goad him until he was, then roll over and snuggle back against the skin of the ship as Don storms out and slams the stateroom door furiously. First deck, starboard side forward, aft of the “8” on the starboard bow.

Remembering that +Time and all posts are alone for my own mental discharge, there’s that dream. I know what brought it on, I’ve been watching too many Russian and German WW2 films. Not during, but later about. That tiny structure way out in the field, the ground still covered flat with dry leaves and stalks from after the corn harvest, that tiny building, concrete block but only about the size of a phone booth, slightly larger than a phone booth. Like a tool shed we once had out the playground on the west side of the building behind Cove School now HNES. Artillery shells kept hitting it and destroying it, and when the smoke cleared it was still there. A tin roof. One of our soldiers was inside, he deserted to the booth, and was running an elevator there inside it. From the outside, one would think it was just an old utility shed in what during peacetime had been a cornfield, now a battlefield on the steppes of the Eastern Front. Both our artillery and theirs were destroying the shed. Theirs because it was behind our lines. Ours because of the deserter inside running the elevator. Artillery shells kept hitting it and blowing it up, and when the smoke cleared there it was anyway. A small, one story concrete block structure with tin roof, but the elevator went to the second floor. What was up there? If you made it over to the shed, through the gunfire, you could decide for yourself. You got off on the second floor wherever you wanted to be: some soldiers went home, some went into town to the pub and we never saw them again, some came back to the battlefield. I was wondering if the elevator would take me to heaven, and if so, could I come back if I didn’t like it; but in the dream it seemed unlikely that an elevator that only went to the second floor would go to heaven. The real question though was about our deserter inside running the elevator, every time the shed took a direct hit and exploded to smithereens but when the smoke and dust cleared was there still, or again. 

In that WW2 destroyer, Gearing class, sleeping comfort depended significantly on where your bunk was in the ship. First I was in junior officers quarters, main deck aft of amidship. The ride was fairly decent, though what did I know, this was my first time at sea in a warship. It’s been sixty years nearly so I’m not sure, but must have been when George was transferred that I got the stateroom just off the wardroom across the passageway from the noisy XO. Main deck, enough forward to feel the roll at sea. It makes a difference. After some months, the new lieutenant Ops officer came and wanted that stateroom, and I moved to forward officers quarters, first deck. There must have been maybe four staterooms down there, far enough forward to participate in the up and down pitch in rough seas, that sometimes my sole activity was to leap out of my bunk, grab a cup of water from the washbasin, swallow a handful of seasick pills, and back into the bunk before the stomach realized where it was and what was going on and up and down.

It’s been sufficient long, enough years, fifty and sixty years, that my anxiety dreams no longer seem to center on just reporting aboard a huge ship in the wrong uniform, not knowing what rank I am, and the 1mc still screaming for me to report to the admiral’s cabin on the double. Anxiety dreams anymore seem to have moved to my new life of retired parish priest filling in as guest priest at a church where I can’t find my vestments, or my sermon notes, or the front door of the church as I hear the organ playing and the choir start down the aisle in the opening hymn, and there I am in my underwear still looking for a robe that fits as I hear the congregation stand to sing the sermon hymn.

Be who you Like, Like who you Are, Do what you Like, Like what you Do, or Head for the Elevator. I loved who I was as a junior officer in the U S Navy, doing what I loved and loving what I was doing; though not so much as the years went by. Then not again until my first day and week of theological seminary. I've taken the Elevator several times in life, when I had grown to not like, both in the military and in the church.

This dark wee hours blog was originally meant to go somewhere far else, damned if I remember where or what, probably something philosophical but sure as hell nothing theological.

DThos+ in +Time+ and not counting

Pic that Corry's had a FRAM-I, when I was there we had two five inch thirty-eight gun mounts forward. 

Following pic and data from online sources,
Pic: Gearing class destroyers before (top) and after (bottom) FRAM conversion:
The FRAM I program was an extensive conversion for the Gearing-class destroyers. This upgrade included rebuilding the ship's superstructure, electronic systems, radar, sonar, and weapons. The second twin 5" gun mount and all previous AA guns and ASW equipment were removed. Upgraded systems included SQS-23 sonar, SPS-10 surface search radar, two triple Mark 32 torpedo tubes, an 8-cell Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) box launcher, and one QH-50C DASH ASW drone helicopter, with its own landing pad and hangar. Both the Mk 32 torpedo tubes and ASROC launched Mk 44 homing ASW torpedoes. ASROC could also launch a nuclear depth charge. On 11 May 1962, Agerholm tested a live nuclear ASROC in the "Swordfish" test.

Pic nightmare and no way out

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