“Ships in harbors are safe, that is not what ships were built for.” John A. Shedd
That sprang to mind this afternoon as I recalled riding out a sudden gale storm with my family on my father's boat, “The Survivor.” After my father radioed our Mayday and coordinates, my parents huddled with my older brother. Our boat was taking on water, the radio had died and the pump was overwhelmed by the waves and 35 knot winds. Most of our life vests had washed overboard and we were now in immanent danger of drowning, even with life preservers.
My father explained to my older brother he was to take hold of me, my father would take my baby brother and my older sister, my mother, who could not swim, would go without a vest, there were only three vests and they were put on her three younger children. There was a grim strength emanating from my parents.
We were rapidly drifting out to the Atlantic Ocean and precious time was ebbing away. A Yacht appeared on the horizon, they reached us as the water reached almost knee depth in the boat. “The Survivor” did not survive, but we did.
We humans are not meant to hide safely at shore when the earth ship is sinking. Wearing a mask is our life preserver, the virus our Mayday, the yacht, our vaccine. The owners of the yacht heard our Mayday before the radio died and bothered to find us. There is a culture on the water, a code. You wave and smile at everyone, you look out for one another and you offer aid.
Thank goodness the yachters felt a moral obligation to find and aid my family. If only our divided country could reclaim that code on land with everyone.