Thursday, July 4, 2013

A 4th of July Story

    If you came here looking for a tale of the founding fathers and
Even this guy.
their battle against the tyranny of Great Britain (hey, their words, not mine.  I think you guys from England are the coolest), you've come to the wrong place.  While I could write a history piece, I choose not to.  I did enough of that history jazz for the A-Z Challenge.


    No, this is a true story of what happened to me one 4th of July.

   Okay, a joke for my non-American followers:
    Q:  Which country has the 4th of July?
    A:  All of them.

    Anyway, it was July 4, 1998 and my ship, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington was visiting Cannes, France, on our way back to the United States, after a six month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and that colon of the Earth, the Persian Gulf.

Wrong Khan.
  Before we go any further, I must tell you that "Cannes" is not pronounced "KAHNZ," despite our tendency to do so.  It's actually pronounced "KAHN" or...something French sounding.  I didn't pay attention to our liberty brief once they told us there were topless beaches there.


    The 4th dawned steamy and bright, the sun a searing beacon (yeah, those Creative Writing courses were a steal).

    A couple of friends and I decided to go ashore to "troll for rich people."  

    When I asked what that meant, one of my partners explained,
"You sure you want to go look at boats, monsieur?"
"We'll visit that marina on the end of the beach.  You see, the one with all those luxury yachts?  Well, we'll stroll up and up down the berths and wait for a rich person to ask us aboard.  We're sure to get a free meal and...who knows?"


    Since it sounded good to me and the other guy, off we went.


NOTE:  Writer's depiction only.
Ours didn't have a red, poofy ball on his hat.
    No sooner had we stepped into the marina when a man, who was coiling a rope at the stern end of one huge boat, gave us a friendly hello.

    Seeing our chance, we engaged him in conversation.  Once we started talking, it was clear to us he was British.  So, it was surprising when he said, "Happy 4th of July!"

    Not wanting to be rude, I returned with, "Same to you!  Uh...no offense."

    "None taken, mate."

    And then he ran me through with a cutlass.

    NOTE:  I've inserted the British colloquialism, "mate," to make my English followers feel more at home.  What's more, if I can work in a "bloody 'ell,"  I'll do so.  Oh, yeah, he didn't run me through, either.

    Our newfound friend explained to us all that there was on the boat.  It had its own navigation radar, inboard motors which could make the thing almost fly, and berthing for a dozen people.  It also appeared to have its own sweet bar.

    After about 15 minutes, we thought it was strange that he hadn't invited us aboard.

    Why became apparent when he finally said,  "Well, I could talk to you blokes all afternoon, but I have to get the boat ready before the owner returns."

    NOTE:  Bonus use of the term "blokes."  You're welcome.  Mate.

    And then he returned to his duties.

    So, we had wasted a quarter of an hour chatting up Percival the Boat Boy.  

    Oh, bloody 'ell.    

    NOTE:  Told you I'd try.

    EPILOGUE:  Our efforts weren't ultimately wasted, though.  Nearly despairing of our efforts, we
Yeah, no shit, his name is Andre Assous.
Go ahead.  Google it.
"Penwasser, Penwasser?
No, I do not know zis Penwasser of whom you speaks.
Like a pump?"
were invited onto the last boat in the slip.  The owner's name was Claude.  His wife was named Annie.  And they were joined by their friends, Andre (who owns a grunch of shoe stores in France and the United States) and his wife, Claudia.  Also on board was Junie, their Filipino Boat Boy, who could not step onto land, because he didn't have a passport.  After trying to explain why we didn't think Jerry Lewis was funny, they offered us dinner and drinks.  The next day they gave us a ride on their boat (we circled our ship, resisting the urge to moon the Officer of the Deck).  Afterwards, we anchored to go snorkeling.  They were great people, but irony of ironies:  these very nice people were French.
But, that's another story altogether.

Okay, okay, since it is Independence Day....

"Okay, let's see...I've got a turkey croissant for Jefferson,  BLT for Adams, and roast beef with a slice of cherry pie for Washington-that figures.  And, a...what the f...really, Ben, really??  Fish and chips???  You do know what we're doing here, don't you, you senile old fart!!??"


37 comments:

  1. At least it wasn't Lox'n'bagels and kidney pie...

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    1. Depending on whose kidney you were using.

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  2. On first read, I thought that you wrote that the sun was searing bacon - cool creative writing attempt! Oh, no wait! that says beacon...... same old , same old.
    Thanks for the laugh!

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    1. Better yet....a searing bacon beacon.
      Hmm....bacon.

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  3. I'm surprised you didn't moon the officer on deck, must have took some will power.

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    1. He actually was a friend of ours. Poor sap couldn't go trolling.

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  4. I thought Jerry Lewis was pretty funny in King of Comedy, but you definitely hit it off with that English guy. He called you "blokes" instead of "ponces" and didn't laugh at your sailor suits.

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    1. We actually were wearing "civilian clothes."
      And he called us "poofs."
      Is that bad?

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  5. That must have been the bees knees, the mutts nuts, at least it wasn't all wellied up as you ripped the piss and weren't called a nancy or told to bugger off. Bloody hell, now you have me doing it too.

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  6. Al,
    That was an original story. Too many re-runs on the Independence one. Sailors always get all the neat boat rides. LOL

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    Replies
    1. I really do like telling this story. Especially because it makes me think of my very good friend. He 's the one who suggested we go "trolling." He was killed on 9/11 and stories like this keep him alive in my memory.

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  7. I loved this - and I'm an Englishman. I think it was jolly decent of us to let you lease our largest colony!

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    Replies
    1. See? I said you guys were the coolest.

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  8. Somehow, I don't think being called a "poof" is a good thing. I do love your excursions into questionable history. I wish you'd been my history teacher.

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    1. So a "wanker" is probably out of the question.

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  9. I appreciated all of your English lingo. And I'n clearly not English. A+ :)

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  10. I always thought that Cannes was pronounced Kannes, because of the film festival but I guess that's not an important point, what is important is that you and your family have an amazing Fourth of July holiday, great story buddy.

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    Replies
    1. We really did have a very good day. Thanks!

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  11. I think I wouldn't take offense if a yank wished me a happy Independence Day. Of course I would tell them to enjoy it while it lasted and then run them through with a cutlass. But in all seriousness do have a good one and blow something up for me.

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    Replies
    1. And I hope you wish me a Happy Guy Fawkes Day. I can blow something up then too.

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  12. Well, Ben always did have a sense of humor and liked to stir the pot.

    Is Assous the spawn of Uranus and Sh*thead (I just can't spell it out, even though it's an actual name)?

    xoRobyn

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    Replies
    1. Honest, he was (is) a real person. He sent the three of us pairs of shoes for our wives. They didn't fit. Still, the thought was nice...

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  13. I love that Star Trek movie!

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    1. It is still my favorite. Although I (mostly) like what they've done with Khan in the new movie. Although Spock yelling, "KHAN!!!!!!" was way over the top.

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  14. Am wondering how many of those 'English' colloquialisms were actually from downunder... but who cares - love your work!

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    1. Mate, for sure. I think...?
      G'day, mate.
      Oh.
      I guess I'm right!

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    2. lt's like waiting for Joey on Friends to get the joke . . . . and there it is! hehehe

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  15. Love the photos of my twin Camilla, and the handsome sailor boy! Great story, and did you end up wearing any of the shoes?!

    Julie

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    1. Actually, no. They were too small. But we kept them for awhile because they were a present from a "rich French guy."

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    2. By the way, Camilla's blonde. You're blonde. That's where it ends for me. You don't look "mannish" in the least.

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