The Drunken sailor, that should have drowned!!! the beginnings of downfall into PTSD 1
It's March 75 and My Submarine, with two others, are currently tide up to a support tender ship, in the middle of the Mediterranean .
We're to take on provisions and await our mission of shadowing a Russian Anti submarine naval ship.
It's coming from the Shipyards of the Black Sea, on her Madden voyage in open Ocean and we need to see just how good she really is!
Unfortunately I still can't mention her name till 2010... There's a debriefing requirement still in place even after 34 years and I could be imprissoned yet.
Now Since we have a few days off leave waiting ,Gilly my friend from Boston and I, want to do a little partying and blowing off some steam...
It's a short ride, via landing craft transport, to a beautiful Mediterranean Island village on Corsica.
Disembarking the launch, it seemed as we'd step into a sort of fairy tail story, it was so picturesque and old worldly !
There were continual Small sailboats tendered along the large stone seawalls, beautiful narrow cobble stone streets, awaited our excursion.
The buildings, all old stone of white and pinkish stucco , were clad with Iron worked Balconies and rising up but a few stories high.
It reminded me of all the pictures I've seen of European Villas, The only Unfortunately part of our trip was We arrived during late afternoon.
Being a bit hungry, we headed off to search for a local cafe', "a nice meal that would hit the spot eh Gilly?"I said.
We just lazily took our time, soaking up the Scenery, walking and basked in the enjoyment of just being away from the boat for the first time in weeks.
As we continued on, We stumbled on a very quaint Cafe, that was inset amongst the Store fronts.
We proceed on in, looked about and sat down.
The problem in a foreign land as a young Sailor , you have no clue what anyone's saying in their their natural tongue, Unless your familiar, so you end up doing allot of hand gesturing and the such.
The one only truly good word I knew was VINO, and boy is its quality good there...
Being unaroused, still in a kind of amazed stupor, while Drinking our Vino, Our dinner arrived.
Looking out the large front window, that's facing the street, eating, I remark; "funny thing there's not another soul around other than our waiter Gilly", all the while, he just keeps stuffing his face and gives a bit of a nod as acknowledgment, drinking some more of his wine..
I'm just really surprised , but I shook it off and continued Slowly enjoying our meal and free time.
Before you know it, I"m not felling any pain, due to the wine and start thinking we better get a move on it and Leave, for the suns has already started to set.
Turning to Gilly, I look a bit bewildered and exclaim: "Damn how long we been in there Gilly", with Kind of chuckle interjected in...
Strolling along , it seemed as the winding cobblestone narrow streets never ended , but continually went on before us.
we must have walked a good hour or more, for it had gotten dark and an eerie fog started rolling down from above engulfing our feet, as we pressed on.
I remembering turning this corner and walking into large opening courtyard, through which a dark foggy Plaza was located.
The Buildings were almost indistinguishable looking across this space, as the fogs seemingly rose, now at our knees and hung in the air.
we've enter into this large open Plaza, where all the roads of this village seem to intersect.
I was just a bit unsettled, as I noticed a form of someone coming towards us out of the shadows.
As they approached and got closer I heard words, it was a female voice , but I had no understanding of their meanings.
All of a sudden another figure started to approach in the distant, from the other direction.
Being very darkly clothed and seems like it might possibly be a old man, whom also called out to us.
The female getting even closer, looked upon us and Said; "you Americans?",( Now reflectively knowing She was A street walker), stated: "pay no attention to the Old man, for he's a drunk and only wants money to get a drink!"
Gilly and I looked at each other and almost unanimously spoke out agreeably saying: "alright, that's what we was looking for a Party, a bar anything!"
We needed something to break our boredom, and headed off into the fog with this fragile character, making hand gestures of shooting shots...
He lead us on down a back alley like Igor, which made me a bit uneasy and knocked on an old wooden door.
As the door creaked and opened we peered in.
Looking on, we noticed a small back room narrow bar, that most likely was in the rear of someones home and had a Bar running 10 feet wide against the farthest wall, that appeared well stocked!
With The old man leading on, we notice additionally a bartender, ( in his late 40's) and off Thur a side doorway, which I took for a small kitchen area, a women and her daughter were catching a peek of the strangers, as we proceeded in.
The bartender, looking upon us, talked and said something?
After about 4 minutes, we came to an understanding that we both knew, Seagram's VO!
He placed it on the top of the bar, I grabbed the bottle and sloppily filled the old mans glass, the bartenders, Gilly's and Mine.
Salute, as we shot the drink. Clink click, clink went the shots and Gilly's glass as the Bartender stares on in disbelief....
As a young fool you're not thinking clearly, so We fill em up again. Clink glasses and argh like old smilin'pirates, AYEeee...
I turn towards the Old dis-shuffled man, to give him more, he lightly smiles, but covers his glass.
I think that was the fastest I've ever killed off a fifth, in my young stupid life, as I start to stagger out the door.
It couldn't have been more than half and hour eh Gilly !
Wondering through the fog,becoming quickly Drunk and lost, we thought it best to attempt to find our way back to the launch and catch the ferry back to the boat.
Arriving at our needed area of departure, we noticed something unusual, There ain't no Damn ferry!!!
So I come up with A great Idea, Being a Sailor, I'm gonna sail back to my boat and ask Gilly if he like to join me?
I think Gilly was just worried, more about me than anything, so he followed closely.
I stumbled onto a small sailboat, that was tied onto the docks area and began telling Gilly: " were gonna get back and I don't care!"
I didn't mention to him, that a sunfish was the biggest sailboat I ever skippered or that I hadn't a clue where I was.
I didn't care!!!
I stepped next to the gunwale ,( That's A side), of the sailboat and it rolled left and I tumbled right into the ocean, between the boats that were tied together.
I remember being underwater, but it was like a dream, and started finally thinking crap I'm gonna drown..
I was wearing An Old leather coat with cotton collar, like the Marlboro's Mans of the 70's and it seemingly felt like it had an added 50 lbs of iron bars in it pockets,as before it was wet, as I thrashed around.
I fought hard to break the surface and luckily draped my drunken arms across some ropes, raising my head above the water, before I almost went under again. I was really tired and would have been drowned, if left to my own accord.
Gilly excited at my seemly unapproved plunge, un dressed fully naked and dove in, attempting at pushing me back over the gunwale, but I was just too heavy.
Excitedly, he climbing out of the water and took off running toward the village, screaming for help.
This part he told me the next day...
He was running through the streets, stark naked, yelling help, help my friends drowning, Help help!!!
That's when an Officers wife overheard him calling out , from her local Balcony, where she was staying, and called the shore Patrol.
Gilly unaware, continues running up and down this street yelling , as the shore patrol rolls up on him, naked as a blue jay...
I just can invision this, as they pulled up.
Oh by the way, if you ever stumble upon this, Thanks Gilly, you saved my life this day!!!
Unfortunately, this was just a begining of a small footnote event, to One of many falls along the way to finding myself again...