The boat ride that turned into a prayer meeting

It was a fine early autumn afternoon when we, along with nearly a hundred other people attending the group’s annual reunion, boarded small ferries to take us from Portland, Maine to a small island a few miles from the shore. The group of retired Navy chiefs and their spouses was in a good mood, all of us anticipating the lobster bake that awaited on the island. Most people knew one another from being stationed together at one time or another during their Navy careers so sea stories—the more outrageous the better—were the order of the afternoon. Little did we realize that we would all have a new story to tell by the end of the evening…

There was some good natured grumbling shortly after we arrived as word spread that the only drinks available were iced tea and coffee—not a can of beer to be had! Things settled down quickly as everyone made their way through the serving lines collecting lobster, corn on the cob, and other sides, and then found places to sit at the indoor and outdoor picnic tables.

It wasn’t long, however, before everyone noticed that the sky had blackened and the wind had picked up. Some people had barely sat down to their dinners before the ferry crews came to fetch us saying “if you don’t leave now, you’ll be here ’til mornin'”.

Everyone rushed to the ferries where the crews did their best to steady us as we boarded the wind- and wave-tossed boats. A few people had declined the offer of lifejackets on the way to the island, but everyone was quick to put them on for the return trip. It was a frightening journey—we were tossed about and soaked with spray within minutes after leaving the pier. Some of the men tried to ease the tension by making jokes and telling more sea stories, but there were also a number of people who had their heads bowed in prayer.

After a return trip that seemed much longer than the outbound ride, we were all glad to put feet on solid ground, and I’m sure that more than a few of the group made their way to the first can of beer they could find! Finally, as you might imagine, this tale has become its own sea story, told time and again at every reunion since, each version a bit different, perhaps more outrageous, than the one before.

Posted for Sian’s Storytelling Sunday, a first-Sunday-of-the-month event that attracts bloggers from near and far. The link is open through November 11th at midnight GMT, so there’s plenty of time for you to add your own story.

4 thoughts on “The boat ride that turned into a prayer meeting

  1. I’m sure glad that sea story had a happy ending, Wanda. If I’d been there, I’d have had my head bowed, too, though it would probably have been over the railing. I’m afraid I’m not a good sailor when the boat gets to rocking. 😦

  2. Wanda. What a wonderful story. Having had some time in the navy, I am well aware of the importance of sea stories as part of a normal conversation. But we know there is always a grain of salt with any story. You’re fortunate that your story didn’t have a tragic end, but instead is a conversation starter for other gathering. –Bill

  3. It’s wonderful to see you back again Wanda. What a perfect stormy story – you had me shivering by the end of it and imagining the Maine coastline I’ve seen in films. It wasn’t hard to get just how scary this could have been! And I love the thought that the storm gets bigger every time the story is told 🙂

    Thanks for joining Storytelling Sunday this month Wanda

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