Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tall Ships Field Trip

The tall ships came to Boston Harbor over the 4th of July, so yesterday we went down to see them, taking our 13 year old James, too.  Let me say right now that there is nothing that a 13 year old boy would rather do than go see the tall ships with his parents. It's like a field trip - but with your parents.  Standing for hugging photos, learning interesting facts about merchant marines from Ecuador, staring up at the masts until your eyes hurt; it's all part of the rich pageantry of a family outing.

The tall ships were amazing.  I saw them in Baltimore in 1976, which prompted me to say to my dad, "What's the job that gets you on one of those ships?"  He answered, "Merchant Marine."  I said, "Then that is what I'm doing for a career."  And for two or three years, I meant it.  In fact, whenever I got in trouble, I'd think, "You'll miss me when I'm a merchant marine, folks.  You'll wish you hadn't been so tough about my sneaking a peek at "Love American Style" while you were at your bridge party, when I'm in Asia or Europe on one of the tall ships."

My dream career as a merchant marine had displaced my former dream of dolphin trainer, where the thought was, "OK folks, you'll miss me when I'm in a lagoon in Florida, putting sonar tracking devices on dolphins (I read a lot about dolphins back then).  Was flushing my sea monkeys down the toilet so bad, worthy of grounding, people?  They were practically invisible, and definitely did not wear crowns."

So, no one was surprised when I ended up in New Mexico for college, and Boston for my life.  The best part?  A great family - both the family I grew up with, and the family I made - to keep me safe and happy while I live it.

Next week, Niagra Falls with my sweetie...I'll be reporting from the edge.

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