Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Of X-Rays, a Humble Celebrity, Chickens, Pigs, Shells, Swallows and Sea Shanties

As I do every afternoon during the school year, I called Ellie just as I was about to leave work to see what her plans were for the evening and if she needed me to pick her up. Her voice was chipper and happy, belying the fact that she had just been injured. It took me a little while to figure it out and asses how injured she really was. She is one to cover it up. I had planned to bake a clementine cake to take to a meeting that I had on Tuesday evening, but that was set aside once I heard her story.

She had been in the back of the gym when one of the boys carelessly chucked a 10 pound medicine ball towards the back of the room. My guess is that he just wanted to see how far he could make it go. I don't think he was aiming at her. However, it hit her foot or leg which pushed her left up and into the bottom side of the table she was sitting on. It hurt so bad that she could not put any pressure or weight on her leg. That was enough for me to know that she needed to see the doctor and find out if it was broken. It was late in the afternoon, so I rushed over to pick her up and take her in. Kohlton carried her to the car and tried to call the office as I drove. We arrived at the office before he could even get past all of the "please listen as our menu options have recently changed," and the "it is flu season..." messages had even run its course. I dropped them off at the door and he carried her in while I found a parking spot in the snowy, ice slicked lot. The people at the office were great and did not have any problem with our lack of an appointment. In no time we were all set with what we needed. The first stop was to have x-rays done.

It turns out that Ellie has some serious bruising, but no broken or fractured bone - thank heavens! She is in a lot of pain and is on crutches. Since we have a steep flight of stairs in our house, she is getting in a good workout each time she wants to go to her room. She says that it will develop her abs.

When we arrived at that part of the office there was a tall man standing at the counter, waiting. I put our paperwork in the tray and pushed the call button. I noticed that ours was the only paper in the tray. Another family arrived and did the same. By then the man had taken a seat. I was concerned that he might get passed over, so I explained to him how the system worked. When the nurse came out to see who needed help, I made sure she knew that he was first. He thanked me graciously.

Ellie's turn was next. She was ushered into the hallway and handed one of those oh so flattering hospital gowns. Just as she was going in, he was coming out and they found themselves with matching hospital gowns in the hallway. Seeing him dressed that was, too, made her feel just a bit better.

Later, while we were waiting for the next appointment, he came over to talk with us. He noticed that Ellie was wearing a Broncos t-shirt and he struck up a conversation. "Do you like the Broncos? Manning?" he inquired. Ellie nodded. He moved his sweater from where it rested on his arm and said, "When you go back to school tomorrow, you can tell your friends that you saw a Superbowl ring." His name is Goldie Sellers. He played for the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs. We chatted a bit more and went to our appointments. He was gracious and humble. I think he is a model for how celebrities should be.

On Monday Ethan and the Hawaiian Chieftan crew readied the boat for a trip up north. They put on new sails (a big task made easier with the use of many ropes) and used money from tips to go out to dinner. I imagine that was a nice break for Rosie, the ship's cook. Everything is tied down, even the bottles of shampoo, the blankets, anything that is not solidly attached. Each sailor has a net hammock to secure his/her personal belongings. Each bunk can become a secure area for the sailor. The ship, while it is beautiful, takes the seas hard and rocky.

They are headed north and expect to have rough waters near Point Conception. One of the other men said that they sometimes go as far north as Canada. But that is not in the works at this time.

Point Conception

Ethan also told us about the tattoos that sailor get:

Pig and Chicken tattoes = In hard waters you will float and survive, like the pigs and chickens who live in pens on the boat.

Shell on your back = crossed the equator on the ship. A golden shell means you crossed the meridian.

Swallows = each one equals 5,000 miles sailed.

"Hold Fast" on the knuckles = never let go to the life line.

He is also learning a few new songs, or rather, new lyrics to tunes he already knows. It turns out that it was common for crews to adapt the songs to include the important landmarks in the songs so that they can remember the way to their destination and back home again. So "Spanish Ladies" and "New Bedford Whalers" have new words when sung on the Hawaiian Chieftan.

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