I Saw Three Ships – 12.8.2014

Boat yard
Boat yard

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

My day of service continued…

I got a call from my Dad asking if I could help him with “the boat”.

“The Boat” has been a source of joy, angst, contention, even legal action…

Today, “Gone with the Wind” (a.k.a. “the boat”) was in a marina near Annapolis.  She (boats are referred to as “she”) was parked under a tree.  This is not good when tiny scuppers designed just for salt water get filled with leaves and seed pods.  This leads to the cockpit filling with water.  When the snows fall, things can really go badly.

My Dad asked me to help rig a tarp over the boat on this uncharacteristically balmy day in December.

I’d just spent the day helping my Mom, it seemed fitting I should help my Dad.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

We arrived at the Marina in the late afternoon.  The marina was a sea of boats.  It is a surreal experience walking amidst a marina of boats.  Kind of like walking through a forest of trees with glinting sunlight through the spaces of all of the hulls and keels nestled together like puzzle pieces.

Yacht yard
Yacht yard

Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Pray, wither sailed those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

It took us a while to find “Gone with the Wind”.  The boat was renamed when my Dad purchased the boat after he and my Mom separated.  It was previously named “Freedom”, which seemed a bit too “in your face”. The lettering matches the movie.  Over the years, Gone with the Wind has seen more than her fair share of adventures (but that’s for another story).

Even though my parents are divorced, they have found a way to work together over the years.  They never made us choose over the holidays, for example.  We could celebrate with both of them.

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Today our task was to make a tent over the boat with a tarp.  All around us were beautifully-wrapped boats in white plastic perfectly hermetically sealed.  My Dad and I unfurled our tarp and lines.  We balanced a ladder against the boat and  – precariously – we got up onto the deck.  A sea of boats facing all different directions surrounded us.  The sun was setting and the temperature was starting to drop.

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

The tarp was 9 ml plastic.  Suffice it to say, it was not the flexible kind.  We managed to get the tarp over the boom and laced together the front around the mast.  A pattern began to emerge whereby we crossed the front and fastened it to the rails.  We pulled the tarp over the sides of the rails.  My father lashed the tarp around the keel with the grommets placed every few feet.  Inside our (now very dark tent), I worked on sweeping up all of the leaves and seed pods.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

As my father worked below the “waterline”, I worked above.  Once we finished, only a tiny bit of daylight peeked through.  “Gone with the Wind” was “ship shape” as they say.  My final task was to literally stitch the stern closed which reminded me of my wedding dress which my father tied on my wedding day.

Wedding dress
Wedding dress

Mission accomplished!  We took some final photos of our work to shoot to my Mom and made our way home.

Warm for the winter.
Warm for the winter.

Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

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