Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Corned Beef and Cabbage-Galley Duty #AtoZChallenge



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The 26 eclectic-genre short stories for my #AtoZChallenge are excerpts from travelogue notes by
fictional character Gahlen, who first appears in SHARDS OF MEMORY – Oral History in a Heartbeat.

Each A-to-Z daily post is a stand-alone tale - partly true, partly fiction.


By Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums - https://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16104487498/,
No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53196609



Corned Beef and Cabbage - Galley Duty
Genre: Novice Sea Experience
(374 words)



We spotted the cargo ship’s bright blue lettering: AMOR*DE*FAMILIA. Chesko waved from the deck, acknowledging his offer of a free ride from France to Ireland in exchange for galley duty. He introduced us to his father, Captain Dominique.
“Welcome aboard,” the captain said. “My son vouches for you and that's good enough for me.”
Chesko led us below to our cabin, small with submarine-style bunks along one wall. Once we stored our duffels, he clapped and said, “Okay, to work.”
He assigned me to scrubbing pots left soaking in greasy water. Pointing to a mound of red potatoes, he told my sisters, “You peel the spuds, a step my Spanish mother insists is un requisito absoluto. There's four deck hands, two boiler mechanics, seven cargo stackers, Dad, you three plus me. Average two per.”
“Thirty-six spuds, by my count,” I said. Chesko’s scowl had me scrubbing harder.
From the refrigerator, he removed a thick corned beef brisket marinating in a pot of water and spices. He let that simmer on the stove while we went about our duties. Then he transferred the meat to a roasting pan. “We have fair seas,” he said, sliding the pan into the oven. “Go enjoy the fresh air. You might spot a pod of bottlenose dolphins, if not a fin whale.”
After only a distant sighting of one whale, we returned to the galley. Chesko was tucking peeled spuds and sliced carrots around the meat. For the final fifteen minutes of baking, he added layers of green cabbage.
Five hours out, he rang the dinner bell. We were invited to dine at the captain’s table. After Captain Dominique said grace, he asked, “What is your purpose in traveling?”
“To visit our ancestral homelands.”
“Keeping alive memories of your past is important,” he said. “Nationality does not dictate who you become, but heritage does guide your decisions.”
We cleaned dishes and mopped the galley floor one last time. Chesko again sent us topside, this time to announce land sighting.
“Do we yell, ‘land ho’ or something?” I joked.
“As your final order, that is exactly what you do.”
A pod of a dozen dolphins escorted the ship and at the first sign of cliffs, we fulfilled our duty, boisterously.


*****

17 comments:

  1. '“Keeping alive memories of your past is important,” he said. “Nationality does not dictate who you become, but heritage does guide your decisions.”' I loved this quote ad the ending made me smile. Clear the Clutter to Avoid Burnout

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    1. Heather, after years of genealogy research, I tend to believe we are guided in our decisions.

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  2. I also liked the lines Heather mentioned, and the image of boisterously yelling "Land ho!"

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    1. I had fun coming up with that last line, Donna. Yelling sure relieves the tension.

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  3. They got their free ride and the crew got their meal! That worked out well. A delightful tale.

    My A-Z of Children's Stories

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    1. Thanks, Keith. Sometimes it feels good to have everything work out nice and tidy that way.

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  4. Thank you very much for you visit to my humble blog it was very kind of you. I worked offshore in the oil industry at one time and it was always amazing how the food varied from ship to ship. I remember on one where I was working the night shift the food every night consisted of a huge pot of simmering hot dogs and a big pile of rolls. Thats OK but after a week you kind of want something different.

    Good luck on the journey to Z

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    1. Yes, I would think that meal could get old fast!

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    2. Rob, I remember summers as a kid practically living on hot dogs. But working on a ship certainly requires a bit more sustenance. I am definitely enjoying your blog posts.

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    3. The Posts will get a bit more eccentric as the letters pass . . . . And I still enjoy a good Hot Dog.

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  5. thank you for stopping by love your blog so very nice love how they got the ride and meal :) I will look for your published books I love reading

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    1. Short stories are a great way to fill the spaces between reading novels and non-fiction. I tried reading the 800-page bio of Alexander Hamilton but finally went with the Hourly History version for e-reader.

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  6. Reading keeps me sane to do the writing. Not all my short stories work themselves out so neatly. Glad you enjoyed this one.

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  7. Traveling to the 'old country' is definitely on the bucket list. Hopefully I'll have the cash for the ticket :)
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations

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    1. These days, the cost of such a trip strains the budget. I had an opportunity to visit some countries but now do mostly virtual sightseeing and research.

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  8. I swear I could smell the food cooking and then heard them shout! Well done...

    DB McNicol, author
    Microfiction: Chick

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  9. Cabbage does lend an eye-opening fragrance, Donna. We always knew when it was cabbage-night at our house when Mom baked layers of it - with caraway seeds - in the oven.

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