Thursday, July 3, 2008

A miracle at sea...

A random memory came to me just a moment ago. We were sailing on HMCS Fraser and I had just gotten off watch from the Ops Room. I believe I had the mids, so it was about 0400hrs. As was the custom, I headed down to the cafeteria for a 'yummy sangie' (toast and peanut butter) and a cup of tea, before hitting my rack. As I came past the steam line and into the cafeteria, there sitting with his back against the port bulkhead, was Joe Clorey.

Now, Joe Clorey was a Bosun aboard Fraser and a very good friend of mine. He was quietly strumming his old Yamaha guitar and chewing away on a cheese sangie. He reached forward, mouth full of sangie, and took a big glug from a large glass of milk he had sitting there in front of him. I could tell he had just gotten off watch as well, as he had the same dog-tired expression I must have had on my mug. He looked up at me and I remember making some sort of mentally-challenged face and noise...

That's when the miracle happened. I watched Joe Clorey pass half a cheese sandwich through his left nostril, along with most of the milk he had just ingested. Of course, it all landed on his old guitar and then in his lap, as he erupted in a fit of coughing, interspersed with almost hysterical laughter... I laughed until I cried, if I remember right. I guess when you're that tired, it really don't take all that much to set you off. When he could halfway breathe again, I got called everything but a white man. Joe later gave me that guitar and I still have it sitting at home. It has travelled many, many miles at sea and has entertained people around the globe, as it became a travelling ambassador for Maritime music, in every port we visited.

That was just one of those spontaneous moments, that are kinda stuck in the back of my brain. I like hauling 'em out every now and then to revisit them. It's impossible for me to look at that guitar, without remembering this one stellar incident. Good times... :)

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