Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Indoc.. Seems Like Just Yesterday.

There are a few advantages to living the life of a merchant mariner. The lure of the sea and its shores in far off exotic places. The ship that becomes your home for a few months at a time, and whose rhythmic hum lulls you to sleep under a sky of stars and a horizon of blue. Steel surrounds you and yet delivers you safely to new places, different people, varied cultures, colors, smells, foods and experiences. It is an experience that provides you a perspective few others will ever get. I am grateful and lucky to have lived that life for a little while. It provides me with a deep sense of gratitude to be born and raised where I was, in a country where I can be anything or anyone I chose.

As the years from that life have sped by there are still few occasions where I get to see my college classmates. The compulsory five year reunions are speckled with summer gatherings, trips, illnesses, deaths, and this past weekend the last single guy in our bunch tied the knot in New Orleans. 

The days between our get-togethers can pass in months, years, and even decades, but when we are together there seems to be this suspension of time and distance. We are the teenagers we used to be who all gathered in one place to become the men and women we are, and who forever share the humble beginnings of a hard place to go to but a solidaristic place to be from. We are the bound to each other because we understand each other. There is a mutual respect, adoration, and friendship without explanation. We grow older and more appreciative and grateful to have each other. They are my comrades and we have each other’s backs regardless of the decades that pass between visits.

New Orleans is a place we all visited as classmates, cadets, merchant mariners and friends. It is one of those places we may never have been together as a collective group but we all have stories of. It was where we returned to see our dear friend walk his fiancé down the aisle.

It was a magical time to be with those I love dearly and feel as if I have shared the most memorable moments of my life with. 

As I returned from this weekend of celebration I was reminded that today is the first day of Indoctrination for the incoming USMMA class of 2018. In that class there are two children of two friends who graduated around the same time I did..our little circle of life lives on..

And as the class of 2018 spends their first day and night in their long four years I wish them..

"This day 27 (gasp!) years ago I marched my teenage self into the gates of Kings Point to join the class of 1991. I remember my parents crying as we marched into Delano Hall, and I was so angry and overwhelmed to be there. Those were the longest, hardest, most miserable two weeks of my life..
I wish the class of 2018 luck, perseverance, courage, fair winds, following seas, all the generosity of the gods of partial credit, and successful rides on the ponies!"

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