She's tall, wide, accommodating and 50' long. She carried us safely from Anacortes to Roche Harbor in just a few hours.
Pushing off from the dock, it was cloudy, but by the time we pulled into Roche Harbor the sun was out and stayed with us until it set the trees in silhouette that evening.
Motoring between islands large and small, with tip-of-the-iceberg like rock outcroppings here and there, we gawked our way, binoculars ever in hand, past homes, other boats and ferries. A small, woodsy cabin here, a captain's cottage there, some nestled in trees by the water, some open to the sun; some with companion yachts moored at their long and languorous private docks, extending their domain into the sea; one home with pink flamingos - yes, even out here there has to be one - and this one had two pairs sitting on the waterside, a classic stick figure version, only very tall, stretched high to be seen; and the other pair a blow up version resembling huge beached floaty's waiting with silly-smiley grins for their children to come play.
Come late afternoon, securely anchored, embraced by the island arms of Roche Harbor, we relaxed in the cockpit of the Tani Kaye, the little coffee table laden with snacks of salmon spread, pita chips, veggies and wine - with nothing at all to whine about. Later, an easy dinner of BBQ burgers, potato salad and chips.
At sundown, the dusky evening brought blasts and a boom, and air horns blowing all around, as the tradition of ceremony saluted the retiring of the colors honoring "Our America" and our neighborly Canadian friends.
Right now, looking out over the water I see a sea of anchor lights marking the location of each boat at anchor in the harbor. The fringe of trees at the top of the islands are all that remains of the silhouette against the darkening western sky. Lights of houses on the hillsides illuminate the spaces and occupants within.
Bobbing, bobbing, flowing with the winds of the currents. The moon, a little more that half full, casts it's arrow of light, only slightly rippled by a gentle breeze, across the water pointing directly in my direction, pointing to me.
My boating companions down below laughing, joking, dice in a cup - shakelshakelshakel crussshc! - as they spill onto the table. Apparently Paul's the winner of this round.
Sounds of laughing, joyous merrymaking float my way from boats across the water. We are almost still now. The water is calm. The sky almost dark. I am getting drowsy. Rock me to sleep, sweet Tani Kaye. Let me wake to the sunrise in the early morn.
This Memorial Day I attended one of the most moving ceremony's I've ever been to. At our Sequim View Cemetery, veterans and civilians honored our fallen soldiers with prayers and poems, flags and flowers. The day was beautiful, a slight breeze, cool, with Sequim's classic "blue-hole", of blue sky and sun and big clouds moving by.
In attendance were my loving husband, Ron; two sister-in-laws; one with husband who served in the Air Force in the 70's; one with husband in a grave near the base of the flag just in front of where we stood, who was committed to serve in the Reserves; one of her sons just home from his second tour in the Army, the first being in the Navy like his Grampa; and one nephew with wife and two children.
Also in attendance were memories of my father, Ellis, who patrolled our western and southern borders in the Cavalry on his horse named Rony, during World War II; my cousin who cooked on the front lines in Viet Nam; my father-in-law who served in the Navy; two more nephews recently returned from the Middle East; a niece serving as an Army medical professional; a nephew-in-law who gave his all in the Army; another brother-in-law who also served in the Army; another nephew who served in the Marines; and the many Veterans who come through our doors at work where it's an honor to serve them.
My goodness, have I forgotten anyone? I hope not.
As the ceremony began, people gathered around the tall American flag in the military section. I was compelled to stand with my nephew recently home. I couldn't bear that he stand alone, by himself. I tucked my arm inside of his and held on. I needed him. Together we watched the ceremony.
At one point, an elderly gentleman veteran directly in front of us, standing at attention, holding the flag, tottered a bit when a strong breeze caught it. I wanted to reach out and steady him but knew it was his to do. It was his honor. His determination to stand at attention and support his flag demonstrated it was his honor. I felt his strength, the same strength I imagine him exerting as he fought the enemy, and won, when he was young.
Protocol and order. Somber faces atop bodies at attention. Hats removed and replaced at proper times. Taps played... and tears.
I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses whose eyes have seen the atrocities of war, whose ears have been blown out by the unbelievable blasts of bombs, whose minds and hearts come home changed in ways I cannot fathom. I've never heard any veteran willingly chatter on and on about their experience. I imagine their feelings are too deep to even express.
A few of my above people escaped the battlefields, but each one in their faithful duty stood between me and the enemy. Each one contributed to my safety and protection. Each one made their sacrifice. That word seems so small compared to their act. And that doesn't even take into account the spouse, child, brother, sister who released their loved one into service with a heart full of emotion and prayers. The only reference point I have is when my father passed away. I was speechless, my heart in my throat, so full of unutterable sorrow.
Whether it be a family member or a friend, most everyone has been touched by war at sometime in their lives. A "thank you" seems inadequate. They gave their whole selves, how can I thank them enough?
The only thing I can do, I think, is to receive their gift and incorporate into my life the freedom they preserved. Enjoy fully the life I have been given. I can move forward in love and appreciation and value what's truly important, which is family, friends, people. I can pray for this country and it's people, for a country is nothing without it's people, for as long as I am a citizen here.
And I must remember... to never forget.