03 January 2012 | My Liberty Bay
The rain and wind...very nice.
His short stature was something of an advantage. A muscled upper body on short legs, he could deliver a wallop with his fist that would end most fights, and it didn't matter what height, strength or size of the man taking the blunt force of the power-strike. The energy came from the feet and into the complete body he told me. Like a fine tuned explosive movement, a force that could knock a bull down. This was my Granddad and he taught his three sons how to fight and how to rhythm a black leather, fore-head height, punching bag hanging from a horizontal base mounted on a ceiling beam.
I was just a small boy then, and loved his sailing adventure story from when he sailed on a decoy 'fishing' boat, hiding a cannon row behind dropdown sideboard gunnels. A surprise for the enemy shipping patrols of world war one.
I remember his story of the vessel being dockside in Cuba and the crew harassing an elderly Cuban Lady leading a donkey and a cart slowly along the cobblestone below the ship rail. The men being lewd and crude took a retort from the lady that put them in their place.
So it was that my father's youngest brother, my uncle, was quite a rebel and instant fighter, being completely spoiled by a mother that would join him in any bar fight they started.
The middle Uncle had a talent for operating the pompom guns on a jungle river ship during world war Two. A very kind person to all and a happy sense of humor, He told me his method of shooting down enemy planes with the rising sun decals. Once, he said, he was sitting relaxed at the big guns while the ship was resting along a jungle river. He glanced up at the right time, to see two planes coming straight down the river at them. He reached over, flipped off the safeties, and poured a line of shells into the works, and that was that. He told me it was spurring of the moment and there was no time to wait for decision making. It... just was... and the crew was ecstatic. They had no clue when he opened up with those pompom guns, and the shock of those pounding barrels raising hell.
My father was a fighter in another sense. Being the oldest brother he had a very strong personal code of the right thing to do and was quick to do the right thing. He saved a few from drowning. He had very fast reflexes and could out snooker, and out fish me any day. Period. Getting seasick was unknown to him out on the ocean.
So it was that I was born with an independent nature, and under his guidance became a very good listener, with a lot of steadfast patience. All fine tuned over a course of having to manage many types of people in the trades and the paper pushers. It took some time but the path to a sailboat did not waver after a master degree in life.
Granddad would and probably is cheering this on.