Saturday, July 26, 2008

Family History, Part 3

Chapter 1 continued...

The Royal yards was sent aloft and the sails bent on and set. I was then told I was the Captain of the main Royal, and to role up the rigger as soon as I heard the order given to take it in or to loosen it when it was to be set again. The Royal sail is the highest of them all.

The other desk boy had the fore Royal. When the order was given to take the Royals in, we rused up as fast as we could. I had the best of it because I could keep my eye on him and see how he was doing. He, on the other hand, had to turn his head around to watch me. When we were finished we slid down the backstays to the deck. The one who hit the deck first was the winner, providing he had done a snug job of it. Everything went fine. We were now sailing smoothly in the North East Trades until we entered the Doldrum Belt. With calm, light winds once in a while and plenty of heavy rains we were kept busy filling our water tanks and pulling sheets and braces when little puffs we could so as to work the ship out of the Doldrums and catch the South East Trade wind. In time we caught a few South East puffs, and finally it came steady and bowled us over the Equator and south along the South American coast.

When on the Equator (we call it the line) all of us that had not crossed before were baptized. Father Neptune came over the bow driping wet, the water running over his whiskers. "Ship ahoy!" he calls, "what's the name of the ship and from what Port, and where bound?" When he was given the information and a drink from the Captain he wanted to know how many of the men had not been baptized. When told only two boys needed it, the tub of grease, water and a mop, and a wooden razor were brought out to shave us with. I tried to evade it by jumping up in the rigger but I was caught and thrown in the tub, shaved with the wooden razor, and presented with the diploma that goes to anyone who has been properly baptized on crossing the line. Father Neptune got another drink, shook hands with the Captain, wished use the best of luck, ad wen the way he had come.

to be continued...


Mama Lou said...

Absolutely wonderful.
Can`t wait for the next episode.

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful legacy he left for your family. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading it. Looking forward to the next installment.

Sorry to hear about your kitty, too. They are such a part of our lives.