Sail Away With Me

“Sail the Pacific with me, boys,” he said. “We’ll see exotic places. Places you only dreamed of.”

The old man always talked of such things, but in 1982 we took him up on it. My cousin Randy and I set off on Gramps’s fifty-foot schooner.

I thought it meant snorkeling the legendary Jellyfish Lake in Palau. I thought it meant climbing to the lip of Bromo in Java. I thought it meant long, lazy afternoons sipping umbrella-shaded drinks on black sand beaches on Maui.

Instead it meant days spent staring mindlessly at featureless expanses of marlin-blue ocean, the sea air rustling past my sunburned ears—interrupted only by Grandpa’s tours.

“That, boys, is a genuine M3 Sherman tank,” he said. He spryly climbed aboard the rusting piece of machinery and proceeded to explain how it worked.

Randy nodded, red-eyed and completely stoned. I was going to start getting stoned too.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories or to submit your own, .

15 Comments

  1. Ah, pearls before swine. These are the same guys who will sit around watching Band of Brothers wondering why they didn’t write down the old man’s stories. Well done.

    1. Those are exactly the boys. Remember when we sailed the Pacific with Grandpa? I sure wish I did.

  2. the sea air rustling past my sunburned ears I love this line for the memory it brought back about my years of blistered ears as a child. I somehow imagined crusty, dried skin rustling. In the end, not an altogether pleasant thought. Right?
    But your story is. So many memories those boys are going to miss.

    1. Oh the blistered ears 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. These young ingrates got off lightly! If you’re not already aware of what happened to the Robertson family on the Lucette, you might be interested in their story – BBC.co.uk/news/uk-england-staffordshire-18877090 (or see Dougal Robertson on Wikipedia).
    The 45th anniversary of their ordeal is coming up, so there’s been some media coverage in the UK recently, but I suspect it hasn’t been picked up elsewhere.
    (If your story was partly influenced by the Robertsons’ and I missed that, sorry)

    1. I had not heard of that. That is fascinating! What an ordeal.

  4. […] thanks to Karen Rawson and her highly significant other J Hardy […]

  5. Dear Karen,

    That doesn’t sound at all boring to me. 😉 I loved your descriptions. I think those boys will one day regret not listening more closely to Gramps. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    1. I’ll bet you’re right. Thanks for reading Rochelle!

  6. peterkirsch

    Wow. Hauntingly tragic.

  7. peterkirsch

    PS – I should mention that my paternal grandfather, USMC, participated in the invasion of Peleliu. Nearing 96, he’s still with us; and the war is still with him. He doesn’t talk about it.

  8. Old is gold. Pity today’s kids don’t seem to get it. Good nostalgic tale, Rawson.

  9. Good demonstration of different viewpoints from different generations. My brothers and I are at the point where we wish we’d questioned Daddy more about his war experiences before he passed away. Those boys will get there too, I’m sure.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! Yes it seems we never realize the opportunities we have until they are lost.

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