This week I'm posting whole stories or excerpts from the book with shots and bios of the authors. I hope you've enjoyed the previous posts. Here's another!
I hope you will love Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation as much as I do!
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Moving Out to Sea
By Sharon Leaf
As my husband Torre parked his van near the dock where the World War II ship MS Restoration was moored on the outskirts of Seattle, I asked, “Are we setting sail next week as scheduled?”
Torre and I had moved several times while living in Southern California. We’d even moved to Sweden to attend Bible College. However, moving onboard a ship for fourteen months was definitely a new adventure. We believed in the Restoration’s mission to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel, so we were ready to sail the seven seas.
Torre surveyed the vessel. “We’re going to have to spend some time in dry dock. The bottom of the ship has to be sandblasted and painted.”
As I removed my sunglasses, reality stared me in the face. There she was, high and lifted up, in all her glory. “Yes, I can see that she needs a complete make-over,” I sighed in disbelief.
“We have electricity, but there will be no water,” Torre explained apologetically.
“No water?” I gulped, swiping already sweaty hands on my freshly washed jeans.
“Usually, no one is allowed to live on board while in dry dock, but the company is in foreclosure, so the bank has granted us permission. This is a miracle because most of the crew is either from out-of-state or from
Sweden and they don’t have anywhere else to stay.”
My husband pointed to a pile of water hoses. “These are hooked up from the dock to the ship’s deck. The galley needs water, and there is one head—I mean restroom—to wash our hands.”
“In other words, we’re Waterless in Seattle,” I said, hoping my play on words would lighten the mood. Torre stared.
I raised my palms. “It’s a joke. You know, the movie, Sleepless in Seattle…Waterless in…oh, never mind.”
But later, I realized why he wasn’t laughing. After dinner, the female crew gathered on deck to make the dreaded trip to the dry dock facilities. Flashlights, towels, soap, and clean clothes in hand, we trekked across the parking lot. As we turned each corner we were oh-so-careful not to step in oil puddles. We formed a single line, walked up the stairs, and then directed our flashlights on a sign that read Dry Dock Restrooms/Shower Facilities. Ana-Karin, a tall, energetic Swedish nurse had arrived earlier that day and was more than ready for a hot shower before retiring to her cabin. She held the dirty wooden door open. “We must enter at our own risk.”
I flipped on a greasy light switch and began breathing through my mouth as I walked past the toilets and urinals. I pointed to a scratched door with a sign that read Shower Room. Ana-Karin led us through the doorway, turned on another light switch, and then wiped her hand on her white slacks. Our eyes fell upon grimy cement floors, cobwebbed corners, and shower stalls with torn curtains, brown stains, and green mildew that I could swear I saw moving. It was all I could do to keep from letting out a Yuk, but it was my first day on board and I wanted to make a good impression.
The group was about to turn and walk out, completely discouraged with the mess when Ana-Karin spoke out in what I call Swenglish—a mix of English and Swedish. “This might be acceptable for the men, but this is no place for rejectional ladies.”
“Don’t you mean respectable?” I asked.
Ana-Karin blushed. “Of course that is what I meant…respectable.”
“But what else can we do?” I asked, a silent prayer going up for a small miracle from heaven.
Deena, the buxom galley girl suggested, “Let’s all pitch in and rent a cheap motel room across the street. That way we can take turns using the clean bathroom.”
I checked my armpits, and then reached in my pocket and held out a package. “I brought a year’s supply of Handy-Wipes…Handy-Wipes anyone?”
“Aren’t those American nurses?” Ana-Karin asked.
Deena chuckled. “You’re thinking of Candy Stripes!”
Embarrassed, Ana-Karin stood tall as she announced, “Cleaning this place will be my job. I’ll begin first thing in the morning.”
Grateful for Ana-Karin’s enthusiasm, I dashed back to the ship and filled three large pails with cleaning equipment, bright yellow plastic gloves, and gallons of bleach.
The next morning the girls watched in admiration as Ana-Karin marched over to the dry dock facilities. Deena and I followed close behind, carrying her cleaning supplies—the least we could do for our new Swedish friend. Later, when we returned to see if Ana-Karin needed more cleaning products, we were amazed to see the difference that she had made in such a short time. Her massive labor of love was heaven-sent. I turned to Deena. “My friend, I think God has sent us our very own Martha Stewart.”
For the next fourteen months we labored on a ship with no air conditioning and no stabilizers, which resulted in a lot of seasickness. We dined in the troop mess with forty-five-plus crewmembers, dwelling
in a 7 x 7 cabin, surviving a heart attack, and then finally being able to serve our eight special passengers, the Russian Jews, on the five-day journey from Sochi, Russia to Haifa, Israel, I understood how privileged I was to be on the Restoration’s 1995 maiden voyage. The day I waved good-bye to the three families on Haifa’s dock, I thanked God for allowing me to be a small part of His end-time plan to bring His people back to Israel. After Rob and I flew home, the Restoration rescued over a thousand Russian Jews from the Black Sea area.
Rob and I recently moved from Southern California to South Carolina, but nothing can compare to our move out to sea.
I walked off the Restoration a changed woman. Not perfect, but with a lot more patience, understanding and love for others. Rob and I have moved several times since. The latest move took us 3,000 miles from Southern California to South Carolina.
But no move can compare to the move we made out to sea.
If you or somebody you know is packing up for a migration across town, across the country or around the world, Moving Tales, Adventures in Relocation, offers a welcome diversion to the broken dishes, lost furniture and everything else that always seems to go wrong during a move. The lighthearted, and sometimes unbelievably true stories of those who’ve moved in, moved out and moved on, will move your heart and lift your spirits.
Linda Kozar is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune Cookies, A Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” eBooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). Her latest novel Strands of Fate released October 2012 (Hardcover/Ebook, Creative Woman Mysteries). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 24 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.
Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency
Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands Church, The Woodlands, TX.