Thanksgiving ahhh.... that nice time of year... with the crispy turkeys and pies upon pies lemon, lime, chocolate you name it. The food comes out in full display. I feel some warmth maybe on the inside...or wait maybe just from the food. Either way the warm fuzzy feeling dyed down soon enough when I remembered.....
we have to wait to eat. So I sit in the middle of my talking talkative relatives without talking to any of them.
Instead I start thinking, much more preferable. Hmm let's see yeah...well Columbus how much credit should he get for anything? I mean he supposedly "discovered" America as if, like, it wasn't already there. Populated with Native Americans and their deep rich culture.
I can imagine Columbus with his semi long and curling grey hair and standing next to him is one of his shipmen both of them looking at the land in front of them at the same time.....the sparkling mass of America.
And this shipman Elmer, the tallest man on board, glanced over at his sponsor Columbus. Wondering what he is going to command or say. His sponsor had been silent the whole trip.
"Look at this India...We made it to the correct place." His sponsor proclaimed singularly. He looked glorified as if he wrote a map and won an award for explaining how to read his map ( he did). I, Elmer, nodded absently, my experiences with sponsors were sub-normal.
For example, today I was responsible for hoisting the sails whenever they started slumping a little and for bringing some wine to Columbus in the evening. The latter task was more of a woman's duty but no woman were on this ship.
When evening rolled around I was a bit late over to his cabin due to one last sail hoist. Leaving them up high and tight for the next sailor whoever they may be. Then I grabbed the dark wine from the basement....thinking about how I should take a swig before Columbus did...but I let the thought pass.
I was outside his door a knocking and a waiting and I got no response for a bit....and then suddenly he swung it open with flourish as well as having his arms wide open with his long billowy sleeves in greeting. I gave him a hearty hug even though he had those long billowing sleeves. I had no sleeves.
" Hi, my man how's the ship, weather, and whatnot? " he asked as he grabbed the wine from me and went casually over to prop himself up on his couch.
" Uh the same today as yesterday" I said. I felt like he didn't really care.
" Oh nice for us" he said.
" Yep" I said. Then I waited for a bit while he drank.
Then silence. And then he asked "Aren't you going to ask me if I want another bottle or a chip of some ice?"
Wow such rudeness only directed to a man of my stature by sponsors. "Yeah sure just ask of me sir and I'll go"
" Is that a talk back?" Columbus said with a tinge of forcefulness " You are supposed to ask me not the other way around of me doing the asking, Elmer"
I flustered up a bit. Probably visually too, hating my Irish side for that. Him using my name made this whole thing personal...I thought he never even paid attention to who brought him his drink be it sailor, seaman, or shipman.
"Okay if I'm doing the asking then I can ask for a drink as well" I asked tensely and waited tensely for the sure to be angry response back.
I just heard laughter instead. He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and said " You don't know how long I've been waiting for one of yous to ask to have a drink with me...I mean after all I am the honored Christopher Columbus who wouldn't want to drink with me!?"
"Yes boy get us two or three more bottles go!"
I lumbered back down the little stairs surprised but knowing full well that he totally misinterpreted why I said what I did. I grabbed the three bottles and ran into my friend on the way up...he looked at me and said be careful with that job and we laughed. It was a shameful job to me, but at least I had a friend to joke around with about it.
When I came back in it looked like he was passed out on the old fabric covered couch so I sat down and popped one open maybe not as silently as I could've.... but he stirred a bit. And I took a look around at his mess, normal mess until I saw a monkey in the corner and shook my head, poor thing, sponsors treat everyone as if they were their entertaining show monkeys whist actually having a show monkey. I dangled the bottle in front of me and then I took some gulps and waited for the stuff to hit me right...right when the lovely aromatic liquid was hitting me he got up and looked at me, kind of scared. Then realization poured back into his face. Then some anger. Wait...anger?
He stood up and said " You drinking without me?"
" Well you said I could have some..."
"Not without me!"
The air grew hostile he came over to me...and cuffed me in the ear. Whoa!?! I was a head taller at least so I stood up and made as if to grab him but he scuttled away to a corner of the room.
Then he calls some of my fellow seamen over calling them guards....which they weren't. And he pointed at me, all of his earlier charisma gone, and said throw him overboard right now! I'm sick of him, done with his attitude. He stole my drinks."
The men were already grabbing my arms and leading me up. I continued up into the blinding sunlight on the deck. The captain saw me yet turned away deciding to ignore me, and the ruckus I caused, just like the upper, to look down.
But how far were we from land again? My drunk brain reeled and came up with nothing. Thanks brain.
I was led to the edge. I didn't even want to fight. This was going to happen. I didn't honor any sponsor all I honored is the sea I was about to be thrust into.
I was pushed, bam! Into the freaking cold. The sea...well I could swim as well as a fish.
After a few days of fast to gradually slower swimming (and some rough floating) I washed to the shore. And promptly fell asleep of course. When I awoke I casually looked out to sea and then saw a spot in the distance that caused me to laugh gleefully...."No figgin way I made it to shore even before the ship even before that figgin Christopher Dumbus...haha...me....I should get all the credit.
Elmer then went off to explore his discovery. Yet sadly did Elmer not know that all the credit did go to his sponsor for years later.
Slowly, I heard the shuffling of paper plates and came out of my imaginings to enjoy all the deliciousness around me. Stuffing and pie please!