Good Stuff

Sunrise at Priest Tom Heffernan

Where'er thou sail'st with me,
Though now thou climbest loftier mounts,
And fairer rivers dost ascend,
Be thou my Muse, my Brother ......

I am bound, I am bound, for a distant shore,
By a lonely isle, by a far Azore,
There it is, there it is, the treasure I seek,
On the barren sands of a desolate creek.

I sailed up a river with a pleasant wind,
New lands, new people, and new thoughts to find;
Many fair reaches and headlands appeared,
And many dangers were there to be feared;
But when I remember where I have been,
And the fair landscapes that I have seen,
THOU seemest the only permanent shore,
The cape never rounded, nor wandered o'er.


Here is an email received from my retired Navy son........

     Patapsco River, Baltimore, Maryland.

I was in the DC area last weekend. Did some things I always wanted to do.
One was going to Ft McHenry. Francis Scott Key had sailed from Baltimore east to meet the British Fleet to secure the release of a political prisoner. But, because the British planned on taking Baltimore (they had already burned down Washington) they held Key on one of their Man-o-wars because they thought he discovered their plans to burn and take down Baltimore - the last hold out for the US to remain American. The only thing between the British and Baltimore was Ft. McHenry. The British engaged while the US waited until they were in range of the Ft McHenry guns. The people of Baltimore watch in fear from across the bay. The battle lasted all night and the next morning no one knew who had won. When the smoke and clouds cleared they saw our flag. That was when Key wrote the poem "Star Spangled Banner" which later became our national anthem. I sailed by it on CG 64 USS GETTYSBURG and tied up to a pier in Baltimore for a visit to our host city. Out of my entire Navy carear including being shot at, being at war, being in conflict several times, that day is remembered and rated by me as one of the best ever. On the way up the Patapsco, just east of the Francis Scott Key bridge, I was standing watch in my whites. The JOOD. The OOD that day was a senior LT. The CAPT was on the bridge in his traditional chair to starboard, and, we had the compulsury "river pilot" onboard. Through my binoculars I saw a bouy that I knew was not in and with Coast Guard Reglations for inland waterways or international rules of the road. It was white with red stripes running vertically. The top of the bouy was blue with stars. I asked the pilot "I do not recognize that bouy nor the intent of it being there (remember, I could barely see it much less identify it from afar, but, knew it didn't look correct). The river pilot calmy smiled and said "that marks the spot where Sir Francis Scott Key was held on a British Man-o-War to wake up the next day and write our Star Spangled Banner". Wow! I had no words at that point. We continued up the Patapsco and passing Ft McHenry we gave our saluting gun salutes (its an old tradition that when entering port you fired you guns to show that they were empty and that you come in peace) and we continued to Baltimore where we ported. The Ft McHenry National park knew we were to sail by, and, they broke the biggest ensign/flag on the front lawn of the Ft that I had ever seen. Hundreds of people. If you had been there you would know "That was a day of days". The people of Gettysburg were amazing to say the least. They offered their homes, their meals, their time, their everything in hosting us. The National park made sure us sailors had personal tours taking us to places no others are allowed to go and see.

Well anyway, I've rambled a bit here but that was one of my best days in the U.S Navy. With all the excitement I've been involved with and/or seen and done over the years, it took coming back home to give me the goose bumps and the best memories of my life.


Here is a little poem I wrote nearly 20 years ago while chained to my desk working for the Corporate Masters.......

There once was a hermit named Dave
Who built him a floating cave
To the river he went
By himself was he sent
Goodbye to this world he did wave

For peace and tranquility did he search
The waters became his church
For subsistence he fished
And never once wished
To return to a civilized perch

Here is an award winner poem my daughter Cathy wrote, after spending the day on my boat brailing for mussells with me.........

A Mussell shell clamped down tight,
afraid to open and see the sights.

Water flowing over, sweet and light.

The water whispers, "There's no need
for fright. Let go of thyself and
explore life's delights."

Mussell, feeling the calm waves of the water,
begins to open and knows it will obey.

Mussell slightly opens its shell
seeing the water and knows it means well.

Prompting, the water says, "Come a little
farther from out of thy shell.
I have lots to show you
and plenty to tell."

Mussell opening more and more
while water tells of many other shores.

Water says to Mussell, "Open slightly more
and I will take you to those other shores,
where you and I will explore."

Mussell says to water, "That would be grand, but
I am still a bit afraid. Tell me of what
will happen to us at the end of the day."

Water assuringly replies, "There is no need to
be afraid. Here am I and here I will stay,
encircled about you to guide you just one
more day."

Here is a really great poem from my website partner Tim Powell:
I wrote this for my Mother-in-law's first boat ride on Izona!! She was scared to death of the river.
One ride in Izona and she's hooked forever! Another "River-Rat" was born! .....

The Catfish's Story!

"I'm going on a river trip," said the Catfish to his Friend.
"I'll swim this Mighty River, from it's beginning until the end."
"From the top of Lake Itaska, to the Gulf way down below,
the Mississippi will provide for me, a gentle way to go."
"There will be no time for postcards, or letters to write and send."
"Only the trill of a new adventure, waiting around the bend!"

"When you have finished, with your great trip,
and your journey is at it's end." "Whatever will you do after that,"
asked the Catfish's curious Friend?

"Well, let me see," said the wise old fish, as he
answered with a grin.
"I guess I'll start all over, and I'll do it all again!"

(Tim, 2005)

Here are two poetic efforts by a fellow CG Auxiliary member, R.H.:

On America

You ask me why I love her, Give me time and I'll explain.
America is my country, I share her joy and pain.
I cross her streets and rivers, I walk her woods of green,
Much more than artists beauty, And Norman Rockwell scenes.
This land is our America, A place of untamed dreams.
A land where freedom shines, her torch held high with pride.
A land where all may prosper, as chance is not denied.
A land where freedom rings, with voice both loud and clear,
A land we've fought to liberate, when evil threatens near.
You asked me why I love her, some reasons I've explained,
To touch freedoms soul, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Can Freedom Ring If No Voice Sings?

God bless our nations Veterans,
Have mercy on their souls.
God bless our nations Veterans,
Ever mindful as drum notes roll.

God bless our Veterans families,
Please ease their pain and woe.
God bless our Veterans families,
Hold high that flag that flows.

God heal our Veterans wounds within,
The unseen scars beyond bone deep.
God heal our veterans wounds within,
Slay the horrors that prowl their sleep.

Never forget those stars and stripes,
Our founding fathers keys to peace.
Never forget those stars and stripes,
For freedom dies when trust we cease!

Let freedom ring on Midwest plains,
where amber waves still grow.
Let freedom ring on Midwest plains,
Where heartland stars and stripes still flow.

Peace is priceless, as Veterans know,
No freedom is ever free!
Remain alert and watch for foes,
Lest liberty we have may flee!

(R.H., 2008)

Words of wisdom from Winnie the Pooh........

1) "Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there."

2) "Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you suddenly know everything there is to be known."

3) "Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along and not bothering".

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me,
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
or grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-- Wendell Berry

River Spirits

We have from early days felt the presence of kindred spirits on the rivers. We have seen whole tribes of Indians on the move in their canoes, and individual hunters stalking their prey on the banks.

We witnessed the log rafts and heard the rafters shouts. The days of steam brought people of purpose, promise and commerce. The pearl seekers ravaged the mussel beds seeking a hoped for fortune. We watched as fishermen fed small towns and whole cities with the rivers bounty. River rascals were there too, but not for long, as good rivermen rose to the challenge.

Yes, there is a bond amongst people that love the rivers, a respect for those that have passed this way before, and those that still dwell within the depths. It is hard for men to express what their hearts can hardly hold.

A river is a place most men want to be. It reflects to some the nearest resemblance to heaven that can be found on earth. It is a place to feel truly free and closer to the Almighty that made it all. Innermost thoughts can be shared with your maker there.

Kinfolk that loved the waters reside there. It magnifys the presence of spirits, makes them almost touchable. I understand the reverence a river holds. The Ganges is Sacred, as are they all, carrying the life blood of humankind, water.

-- David Wilson

When On the Waters, choices matter. Between the markers, safety resides.
A waterey path can lead to great beauty, or sudden destruction. .....

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-- Robert Frost