New Year’s Day, we spent time on the Bolivar Peninsula. Looking toward the open sea, I saw a monster vessel coming in through the haze. Heading up the ship channel to one of the ports.
How many times did my father make that passage to Texas City? He worked in the engine room of an oil tanker. Sabine Towing and Transportation. S.S. Guadalupe. Diamond S. He sailed on the S.S. Brazos a time or two. The company was locally operated, though owned by Chromaloy. They took very good care of Daddy when he was sick. They flew him home one time when his bipolar depression got too bad while aboard ship. I remember he had lost his false teeth; and I remember going with Mother to the airport to pick him up.
I also remember the smell of his Old Spice cologne and King Edward cigars. The whiteness of his tee shirt. The tan of his khakis. How his head felt when Mother had freshly cut his hair. Just bare clippers run over his entire scalp. He liked pipes and Louis L’Amour. He preferred a flat bottom aluminum boat and running trot lines. He liked to squirrel hunt rather than deer hunt.
When he was younger and well, he always had a project going. Some scheme with fishing or planting or brewing usually. When he was older and sick, he would again try to work on projects.
He taught me how to fix bicycle tires and to tinker with lawn mowers. He let me paint the clothesline poles. He let me argue with him about current events. I would get so worked up and he would let me go on with my temper flaring. He never told me to be quiet or anything. Mother would finally intervene and hush us up. He didn’t get mad. He just seemed to want me to debate about things and to learn to see both sides of things. To look beyond my own scope of understanding and see something more. And to respect what generations before me had endured.
That ship in the haze certainly was real. And it definitely stirred up a ghost in my memories.
There is something odd feeling about the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to me. Like a twilight zone. I am reluctant to let go of Christmas and anxious to welcome a new year.
I try to reflect on the past year. I try to determine where I am with my life. I try to plan some goals for the coming year or at least a few months. I recently came across a phrase I liked. Trace goals. It was something on Instagram. I like that thought. To me, tracing means to make a light sketch that will be altered and refined with work over time.
I haven’t gotten to the point of tracing goals for 2022. I will turn 57 in 2022. So many things I had imagined for my life did not happen. I am learning to live my life as it is rather than what I think it should be.
Yet, life as it is has turned out to be pretty wonderful. Rock and I are still loving each other happily. The children and the duchesses are doing great. I have some very dear friends and family to share life with.
There are some difficult things to manage. There are some heartaches to let hurt. There are some joyous moments to celebrate and some precious times to savor.
This in-between time even has its good things going on. Visits with friends, time with Rock, a quickly filling January calendar, hope in Christ.
May each of us have a renewed hope in Christ for the coming year. And blessings falling like orchids raining. Happy New Year!