Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The ring.

This goes back about fifteen years or maybe even more. It's one of the few 'at work' stories I will post because I wasn't working for my present employer. I don't believe in dragging work into the internet. Still, this one's pretty good.

I was working on a now razor blazes old barge at the tme and we were tying up at a dock. It was the mate's watch on the tug and he was competent enough so the captain felt comfortable coming over onto the barge to help us tie up. He said he wanted some exercise.

My partner and I were standing next to him when he tried to throw a deck line over a bitt atop a piling. While he did this the line snagged a loose ring on his finger, pulled ot off. It hit the piling and bounced back, practiaclly into my partner's hand. He caught it, instantly pocketed it and looked at me with a smirk.

The ring also hit a shell or something that fell into the water. When the skipper saw the splash he was bummed. He thought his ring had gone into the drink and was lost forever.

It was a pretty upset skipper that returned to his tugboat. He had told us the ring was a family heirloom.

After we were tied up my partner and I went below and plotted a way to give him his ring back. Of course, it had to be spectacular.

I peeled down to my undershorts and jumped into the shower, soaked myself and grabbed a flashlight and the ring. I stopped outside and scraped up some dirt and put it in my hand.

Carrying the ring, a flashlight, dripping wet I boarded the tug. It was a pretty cold day so I arrived shivering and blue-lipped. I went straight into the galley where the skipper was sitting. I handed him the ring.

"I know it meant a lot to you so I went after it," I said simply and handed it to him.

His face lit up and he was astonished. Before he could say anything I said I was freezing and returned to the barge leaving him stunned.

I dried off, warmed up, got dressed and went on watch and for the rest of my watch I was treated to one sputtering thank you after another. He came by later with a plate of chicken and for the next several months I was treated like a king. My partner and I laughed ourselves silly.

Periodically I would hear about what I had done from someone else asking me if I really had dove over the side and rescued the skipper's ring. I generally answered with, "How else could I have retrieved the damned thing?" This was technically not a lie.

After a while things died off.

About five or six years someone asked my partner about it over beers and he let the cat out of the bag. Of course, the whole story got back to the skipper.

He was pretty decent about it, probably just because we were honest enough to return the ring to him and he didn't mind getting teased about if for a while.

The reason I remembered this and wrote it is because another old salt kidded me about it the other day. He was a deckhand on the tug that day and now he's a tug skipper.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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