Christian, Witnessing

“Your Sign Offends Me”

Lord 001

 

A lady came into the store one day and said, “Your sign offends me.”

I was not about to apologize for the sign. Since we started doing business here on the Birch Bay Lynden Road, we have held up the name of Jesus on the sign at the end of our driveway. I have changed the words on the sign as directed by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it changes every week, once I left the same words there for a whole year. We have had very few complaints about it. But this lady complained.

“Oh,” I answered.

“I’m a Jew,” she said, “your sign offends me.”

Again, I answered, “Oh.”

When I did not respond to her complaint, she shrugged her shoulders, then said, “Anyway, I am here because a friend of mine has a sick baby. We have heard that goat milk might help her.”

“It might,” I answered. “We know of several babies that have been helped by drinking goat milk.”

“Well this baby is so sick her mom can’t put her in a car seat and take her anywhere. She vomits up everything her mom tries to feed her. That’s why I said I would come and get some goat milk for her. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that this works.”

I started getting the goat milk out of the refrigerator. The lady again said, “Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that this works.”

Talking to the Lord in my head, I said, “If she says that once more, I am going to say something.”

Sure enough, as I rang up the sale, she said it again. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

“We are not going to keep our fingers crossed,” I said. “We are going to pray.”

“Oh, I have been praying,” she said.

“No. I mean right now. You and I are going to pray for this baby.”

“Oh, I don’t know how to do that!” she said.

“That’s okay,” I said, “I do.”

I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed. When I got ready to close the prayer, I knew that the name of Jesus would offend her, so I turned my face toward hers and said, “In the name of the Lord, Amen.”

She shrugged her shoulders again and said, “Okay, I can handle that.”

A few days later the mother and child we had prayed for came into the store. The child still looked weak, the mom looked exhausted, but she was full of praise! From the first sip of the goat milk the baby had stopped vomiting. Praise God!

Later that day I told my seven-year-old granddaughter, Ryleigh, the story. At the end of the story I said, “I don’t know if it was the goat milk or the prayer that healed the baby.”

Ryleigh, stood up straight, put her hands on her hips, then pointed right up at me, “Grandma!” she scolded, “it was NOT the prayer OR the goat milk!  It was Jesus!”

 

Christian, Creation or Evolution, Uncategorized

Created or Evolved?

 

beach clouds dawn dusk

Early in my walk with the Lord I realized that we, and everything else, was created by God. The question of the old earth/new earth puzzled me, though. I knew that God created us fully made, all at once, but what about all this “evidence” of the universe being billions of years old.

I found the answer in the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. He created fish and bread, ex nihilo—out of nothing. And what’s more he created these things with the appearance of age! The fish looked as if it had spent time growing up, being caught, and prepared as food. The bread had the same characteristics—Jesus created the grain and other ingredients in the bread, in and instant. The bread looked as if it were the result of the whole process of growing wheat, harvesting, grinding, adding yeast, perhaps other things, and water. And it looked, felt and tasted as if it had been baked!  If Jesus, who is God, can do that—he can create a whole universe, or millions and millions of universes, ex nihilo—with the appearance of age.

focus photography of sprinkled bread

But if a person doesn’t understand, yet, that Jesus is God, how can that person be persuaded that God created everything?

I spent months studying the arguments on both sides of the evolution/creation debate. At last it came down to one question for me to ask a person who believes we got here by a long process of evolution, “How could sexual reproduction evolve?”

Impossible, I knew. I knew that sexual reproduction could not have evolved.  How could male and female evolve for millions of years, somehow reproducing when the evolution of their body parts was not complete.

I was satisfied. I had my question to ask. I waited eagerly for an evolutionist to reveal himself to me. At last, one day there was a car parked in front of our farm store with a Christian fish on one side of the rear bumper, and a Darwin fish with legs on the other side of the bumper.

A couple was in the store.

“Which one of you is the Christian and which one is the evolutionist?” I asked.

They laughed.

“Okay,” I said. “I have a question for you. How could sexual reproduction evolve?”

Without a second’s hesitation they both said, “We don’t know. It just did.”

Wow. I was disappointed, to say the least. I had expected more intellectual honesty.

If you haven’t thought the issue through yet, think on these things:

  • How could the eye evolve?
  • Hearing?
  • Learn what irreducible complexity means
  • There is no such thing as a “simple cell”—a single cell magnified to the size of the city of Los Angeles, would look just as complex as that city.

If you are a Christian and you don’t believe in a young earth and a six-day creation you don’t believe that death is a punishment for sin. (Because you believe that death existed before the Fall). If that is so, why did Jesus have to die to save us?

Truth eats darwin

Christian, Dogs and DNA, Sexual Purity

Dogs, DNA and Sex

maggie

 

My daughter, Jasona, lives in Colorado with her husband, three children and two dogs. A few days ago, their Australian Shepherd, Maggie, unexpectedly, died. She was ten years old but had been in good health. Jasona came home in the afternoon and found her in distress. As her breathing grew labored, Jasona laid her hands on her, blessed her, thanked her for being such a good friend to all of them. Jasona told her if it was time for her to go, she could go. Maggie took her last breath, then left her body behind.

The grief of losing a family dog some of us know only too well. All our precious animals will die. Anyone who has lost a pet should read Randy Alcorn’s answer to the question “Do dogs go to heaven?” You can find it in his book “Heaven”.

Maggie joined Jasona’s family when she as a puppy. When my ex-husband, Bob, arrived at my daughter’s house shortly after they got Maggie, all three of the children ran out into the driveway to greet him. One of them fell and got hurt. There was a lot of screaming and crying as the children came back into the house with their grandfather. Maggie assumed that whatever had happened was Bob’s fault. She hated him for it!  She growled and barked at him. She didn’t trust anything he did. She never got over that. Every time Bob came to visit through the years, she had the same reaction to him.

Maggie was a friendly dog. She loved everyone who came to visit, except Bob, and me.

A few months after the incident in the driveway, I came to visit. I had not met Maggie yet. Maggie had the same reaction to me that she had to Bob! She barked and barked at me when I arrived. When she finally stopped barking, she stood back and growled at me.

“Wow,” said my six-year-old granddaughter, “Maggie doesn’t even like someone who used to be married to Papa!”

Maggie watched my every move, every time, I came to visit. She did not trust me. Even the last time I saw Maggie a few months ago, and after 10 years, she still didn’t trust me. She would jump up and put her front feet on my chest when I sneezed! Somehow, she knew that I was connected to Bob. Even though Bob and I had never been there together.  I didn’t know how, but she could sense there had been a “one flesh” relationship. Then I learned something that explained it.

I read an article about scientists who were studying brain tissue from deceased women. I don’t know what they were looking for, but they discovered DNA in the women’s brains that did not belong to the women. They subsequently learned that when a woman has sexual intercourse with a man, his DNA can be found in her brain tissue forever. After reading the first article, I did more searching to verify this study. I found numerous articles on the internet confirming the study’s findings.

Of course, I thought about Maggie. Can dogs can sense a person’s DNA? We know that dogs can sense things we can’t. Service dogs can be trained to sense a seizure before it happens. They can “smell” cancer. They “know” when someone is ill or in trouble. I once saw a demonstration of search and rescue dogs. How does the dog know which way the person he is looking for went? I have wondered this watching our own dogs perfectly following the “scent” of one our children—going from room to room in the same pattern that the child did. How did he know? The search and rescue dog trainer said that they had taken a dog to a large sports stadium after all the fans had left. They gave the dog the “scent” of the person they will looking for. The dog went directly to the seat where the man had been! How could the dog sort that out with 10’s of thousands of other “scents”?

Maggie knew of my connection to Bob. I don’t know if she could smell his DNA, but she knew something of him was in me.

God meant it literally when he said, “The two shall be one flesh.”

Every woman should know this: if you have sex with someone, that man’s DNA will be with you the rest of your life.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

 

 

 

 

Christian, Grace, Testing Your Faith, Walking by Faith

Everything’s A Test

Everything’s a Test

My mother used to say that when you squeeze a toothpaste tube, toothpaste comes out. What she meant was, what is in your heart will come out when pressure is applied.

It’s a simple concept, but how often do you really understand it. Are we surprised when a burst of anger, hurtful talk, lies, or cruelty comes out of our mouths? Under pressure, what is in our hearts comes out of our mouths and sometimes it comes out in something other than words.

Pressure tests what is in our hearts.

After people have been married for a number of years, they often develop little codes to tell each other something. Tim and I have several of those little intimacies. We sometimes ask each other, “Do you think this is a test?” We always answer, “Everything’s a test.” The exchange comes from a play Tim was a few years ago called “The Journey”. At one point in the story one of the characters says to the other, “Do you think this is a test?” The answer was, “Everything’s a test, Snedge.”

The Lord will test our hearts to see what is in there. The Bible is full of stories of people’s hearts being tested. Just this morning I read the story about Joseph testing his brothers when they came to buy food from him in Egypt.

Abraham was tested.

Jacob was tested.

David was tested.

Solomon was tested.

Mary was tested.

Peter was tested.

Paul was tested.

Some of these people passed their tests, some of them didn’t.

Everyone is tested.

The ultimate question is not whether you passed the test or not, but what did you do after you failed a test?

Paul says there is a godly sorry that leads to repentance.

2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

James 1:2-3

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When the pressure is applied, may what comes out be full of grace and mercy. Here is a remedy for you. When your tube gets squeezed, may this be what shows up.

tube

 

Alaska, Christian, Fishing, Walking by Faith

Two Crows Came

TTC Cover

I wrote Two Crows Came more than 40 years ago. Jonni Dolan was my name then. To read the story of my name change click here: https://gracegloria.com/2016/11/14/the-lord-knows-my-name/

 

Recently I put up a display in our store here at Grace Harbor Farms.

The display shows four generations in my family of books published:

Four Generations Books

 

 

My mom’s book “Help Me Be a Good Girl, Amen”

Mine, “Two Crows Came”

My Daughter Jasona Brown’s “Stone by Stone”

And My Granddaughter, Ryleigh, age 14, illustrated a children’s book called “Tristan, Dylan and the Dream Machine.

 

I have started writing again. Eventually, I hope, there will be four “books” of my life Faith Walking.

  • 1949-1971
  • 1971-1974—The Two Crows Came story of my first four years fishing in Alaska
  • 1976-1996—My first 20 Years as a Christian
  • 1997-present—My marriage to Tim and the Grace Harbor Farms story

 

As I work on the re-write of Two Crows Came, I would like to share it on this blog.

Two Crows Came

Chapter One

 

“Harley’s here, Bob,” I called to my husband as I watched the lank figure scurry across the yard. Harley Dolan stomped up the porch.  I watched him shake like a dog coming out of the water.  He darted in and slammed the door as if to blockade the cold driving rain behind him.  He peeled his black frame glasses from his face by the wire replacing the bow on one side, then he set the glasses on the kitchen table with the care it required to handle them in their fragile state. As he crossed his arms to pull his wet sweater over his head, I noticed both of his elbows sticking through the sleeves.  The neckband raveled away from his throat.  He sent water all over the room as he shook the sweater right side out, then hung it over a chair and poked his plaid shirt into his pants.

“Got any coffee, Mama san?” he asked, reaching for the pot.  Harley’s thick black hair stood out from his head at cross angles.  With one swipe he knocked it down while taking his mug from the rack.  He brought the cup half-full to the table.  I asked him once why he drank only half cups of coffee. He explained that a full cup would spill on a tossing boat.

Harley un-wadded a gray handkerchief and began to wipe his glasses, easing his skeletal frame into a wooden chair.  He wiped and wiped as if he could change the wet scene outside by drying his lenses.  Finally satisfied, he propped the good side of his glasses on his left ear, wrapped the frame over the bridge of his narrow nose, and coiled the wire side around his right ear.

“It sure is wet around her in February,” he said.  “You know, a fellow ought to be in Arizona or Hawaii in winter.” Bob came around the corner to join us. “Grab me a can of milk there, will you, Bobby?”

Bob’s trim, muscular build and easy charm had made him “Most Desirable” in high school. He had been the upperclassman athlete all the younger girls had had a crush on. As he took a can of milk from the cupboard and handed it to his uncle, a white smile slashed over his mouth and through his blue eyes.

“How’s it going, Harley?” he asked.

“Not too bad, considering this lousy weather. Seems I never get out of the rain. I get rain all summer and all winter, too.” A pocketknife appeared in Harley’s hand. He poked one hole in the can and pumped quirts of milk into his coffee. He shivered.

“I’m a Cancer, you know. Cancers like to be warm and dry.” His chest receded as he huddled around the cracked mug.

Harley had high cheekbones, a pointed chin, and a bushy black mustache that hid his bad teeth. By looking at his elfish face I would not have been able to guess his age, though I knew him to be thirty-nine. The black stubble of his beard contrasted sharply with his winter-white skin. Deep set and dark, eyes were quick and penetrating. I sometimes felt that they could read my thoughts before I thought them. But the sharpness of his glare carried a light, a sparkle projecting from the inner knowledge that irony would ultimately prevail.

“When do you leave, Harley?” I asked, watching rivulets race each other down the pane.

“Oh, not till June first or so.” He fumbled through his pockets for his cigarettes. Finding them, he plucked one from the side of mutilated pack, dangled it from his mouth, and snapped a match head with his thumbnail.  He didn’t like paper matches. He said his finders were too clumsy to use them, so he carried wooded matches loose in his shirt pocket.

He drew deeply on the cigarette, then exhaled the smacked and words, “Yeah, and Bobby, you should go, too.”

“Shoot, Harley. I’d like to, but I can’t run all that way. My boat is just too small. I can’t even carry enough fuel for more than a day.”

Harley pursed his mouth and picked a speck of tobacco from his lip. Studying it, he said, “I could tow you up there.”

Bob flopped back in his chair. He pushed the white fisherman’s cap back. He ran his hand over his forehead. For one of the few times in his life, Bob was speechless.

I was speechless.  I could hardly believe what I had just heard. Each spring Harley headed north to fish in Southeast Alaska. Bob had fished up there with him as a teenager before he had been drafted. Bob and I got married while he was in the Army and had just returned to our home town of Blaine, Washington—with our baby daughter and Bob’s dreams of fishing again.

A tiny border town, Blaine is huddled in the corner to the continental United States blocked in place by the waters of Puget Sound and the Canadian border. Many of the Alaskan fisherman spend the winters in Blaine.

“Wow, Harley, I hardly know what to say.”

“I’ve thought about Mama san and baby, too,” Harley said, stroking his mustache. “I know of an abandoned cabin at Point Baker. I’m sure they could stay there while we’re fishing.  We could check it out when we get there and then they could fly up and join us. You interested?”

“You bet I’m interested!” Bob said.

Since I had known Bob, clothing could excite him more than to talk, think and plan about fishing “up north”. His life’s dream was to become an Alaskan fisherman on his own boat.

We talked far into the night. I heard again the stories I knew so well of the places with the fascinating names—Hole-in-the-Wall, The Eye Opener, Cape Decision, God’s Pocket—and the people—Hard Rod, Flea, Z, and Smokehouse George. The Harley told a story I hadn’t heard before, one that would return to me years later as I thought about Harley.

“There is this guy up there name Bill Love, “Harley began. His exaggerated gestures indicated that he was moving into his element—late night. Harley rarely got up before sunset and slipped back to bed before dawn. He was nocturnal, like owls and certain other predators.

“Fine guy, Bill,” Harley continued. “Well one day he was sitting there on his boat when this crow flew in to land on the float and missed it. Crazy bird thought the scum build up next to the float was solid.  He was flopping and splashing and would have drowned, but Bill took pity on him and pulled him out.  The bird hopped a few times, then just sat there. You wouldn’t believe what happened then. Right while Bill stood there watching that crow, the whole sky filled up with crows, hundreds of them.  The screamed in and landed all over—on the dock, on Bill’s boat, on the other boats, everywhere. They were all screaming and yelling and carrying on, with Bill and the wet crow right in the middle of it!  Bill started in to hollering back at them. ‘Hey, go on! What’d I do? I only tried to help! Shut up, now!’ Then that wet crow just fell over dead. As soon he did, the other crows flew away. Dead! Can beat that? Bill said he reckoned those crows just pain sentenced that crow to death, so he died. Bill said he was mighty glad the crows didn’t pass judgement on him!”

As the night wore on and the talk continued, I excused myself to go to bed. What do crows have to do with living and dying, I wondered. Strange that one should die like that. I let the thought pass as I prepared for bed, my mind whirling with the impact of Harley’s invitation.

“I lay in bed listening to Bob and Harley talking in the other room.  I wondered how I had come to this. As a child growing up in California, I had wanted to be a horse rancher or a vet. But now, a fisherman’s wife? Old Mr. Higgins, my high school counselor, would have swallowed his teeth if I’d written “Fishwife” as my life’s ambition.

This new life promised primitive conditions, wilderness, bad weather, and hard work. Was southeast Alaska the place for a young mother and her child? The spirit of adventure planted in me by my missionary grandparents, and my mother, who had been raised in China. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t go. I was twenty-one and nothing couldn’t be done. I had no way of knowing what would happen in the years to come—the bonanzas and disasters, the torrents and the droughts, the breakdowns and the successes, the births and the deaths, but that first spring, I was ready for whatever adventure lay ahead. I felt kinship with the gold miners, explorers and misfits who had been drawn to Alaska before me.

 

Chapter Two

I had met Bob the summer after my junior year in high school when my family had come to Blaine to visit my grandparents. Bob was different from other boys I had known. At eighteen he had foresight, imagination, and energy. After a couple of weeks of dating him, I decided to stay in Blaine for my last year of school.

The following summer he began to teach me what life would be like as the wife of a fireman—I went fishing with him. His boat was a gillnetter. In Washington state the gillnetters fish only at night, so the first time I went out we left the Blaine harbor in the early evening, prepared to fish until dawn.

Bob’s boat, the Jonni Ann, was a bow-picker. On a bow-picker the front deck is the work area. The net is placed in the water and picked out of the water over the bow. The house was in the stern. The house amounted to a box six feet long and wide and three feet high. In the front of this box, a hole large enough to crawl through served as the entry. Inside, the engine clanked and smoked, completely exposed. This is where I was to spend the night while Bob caught fist outside.

“Hey, Bob. Isn’t this rather dangerous will all these belts and things spinning in here?” I was afraid that one pitch of the boat would throw me into the engine to be mangled.

“Sure, it’s dangerous,” he assured me. “Just stay away from it.”

Stay away from it! How far away from a marine engine can you get inside a six-by-six box?

Bob cast off and out to sea we went. I had never been on a boat at night, and being a non-swimmer, I was nervous. That water looked so black, deep, and cold. After an hour at top speed, about fifteen knots, we reached the fishing grounds. There Bob strung the eighteen-hundred-foot net into the water, a process called “setting.” After he had finished setting, he shut off the engine.

“What are you doing?” I asked, trying to sound more casual than I felt.

“Now we drift,” he said.

“Drift?”

“Right. Drift.”

“Oh.” I had no idea what “drifting” was, but I soon learned that we “drifted” until it was “time to pick.” Somehow, according to the tide, wind, and whatever else he attended to, Bob knew when it was “time to pick.” Then he drummed the net back onto the large reel in the front of the boat.

The night passed quickly. Between setting and picking we talked while Bob kept track of our position. He impressed me with his confident seamanship and amazed me because he seemed to need no sleep. Early in the morning I curled up as far from the engine as possible and thought about my helpless position on a tiny boat in the black of the night. But then, Bob was the reason I had stayed in Blaine and I was anxious to show him that I would live in his world. Somehow I knew that we had a future together.

Eventually I must have fallen asleep because I awoke to hear him yelling, “Jonni! Hey, Jonni! Get up. The wind’s come up. Jeez, it’s really blowing!”

Sleepy-eyed, I stuck my head out of the crawl hole and got slammed by a face-full of seawater. Waves and spray crashed over the boat each time we pounded into another sea. Bob stood at helm and lowered his head for each wave as it washed over him.    “Sit in the doorway!” he yelled. “You’re going to have to block the water from the engine.”

Since the crawl hole had no door, he was right-the water could wash over the exposed engine and drown it. Even with my limited knowledge, I knew that without an engine, we would be in trouble, drifting without power in the storm.  I dutifully took my place at the hole, sitting on the box that held the fish we had caught, to act as a wave-breaking device to protect the engine. All the long way back to port as we bucked into the wind and waves, I blocked the door, lowering my head for each wave, my body making the sacrifice and taking the punishment the engine could not endure.

My first experience with gillnetting found me coming into the harbor cold, wet, hungry and tired.  I could have been scared off of this life, but Bob was the man who had wanted me. I was willing to do anything to keep his attention. It worked. We were married a few months later. The year was 1967. I had just graduated from high school.  Bob had been drafted. We had a quick wedding in Blaine between boot camp and his assignment in Virginia.

Bob spent his whole tour of duty in Virginia. I joined him there. Our daughter, Jasona, was born there about a year before Bob was discharged.

As soon as he was out, Bob started getting ready to go fishing in Alaska with his uncle Harley.

After my initiation, the prospect of fishing in Alaska in the same tiny boat did not scare me. In fact, I was probably too willing because when Bob decided to build the new house for the Jonni Ann in our living room, I hardly noticed the shavings and the sawdust.

As he hurried to be ready to go by June first, Harley was always at hand. A procrastinator, he put off his own work, or avoided it altogether when he could.  Instead, he harassed Bob. Harley did not like square corners or things that lined up straight. Fastidiousness drove him crazy. When Bob got ready to attach his license to the side of his newly painted cabin, Harley snatched it away from him and slapped the it on crooked. Laughing like a troll successful at a dirty trick, he danced off.

Early in May we visited Harley on his boat, the Hansena. In less than a month he had to leave. I really did not know how Bob could be ready by then. He had to prepare the nets, finish the inside of the little house, paint and repair the hull, and get the engine in top shape. Harley would be doing the same things, I assumed.

The Hansena was a conventional wood boat with work deck in the stern. She had a trunk cabin, which means that the living quarters were below decks with only a small pilothouse on the deck level. Harley was down below.

“Hey, Harley. What are you up to?” Bob called as we stepped aboard. Jasona, not yet two years old, held my hand. There was barely room for all of us in the pilothouse. We squatted to see below. Light struggled for entry through a single dirty-gray porthole.

“Oh, hey, Bobby. How’s it going? I’m trying to figure out how to cover this blasted engine. Darn thing sticks out two feet. You supposed you could build something around these pulleys for me?”

“Boy, I don’t know, Harley. I am really pressed for time. I’ve still got to cover my own engine and my nets aren’t hung yet either.”

My eyes adjusted to the light. As they talked and my vision cleared, I could see Harley sitting in the middle of his galley. His arm lay across the gas stove. He leaned against the sink where a cast-iron frying pan, coffee cups, and utensils collected green mold on whatever had remained on them since the last meal fall before. Next to him, on the floor, a garbage bag overflowed with paper plates, oil-soaked rags, cracker boxes, and apple cores. The locker he sat on had no lid. Inside it I could see rusted cans of condensed milk and other unidentifiable cans that had burst spreading their contents over the sides of the locker. Around the engine—across the pulleys where a person could lose a hand or a foot when the engine was running—and under the pilothouse floor was the bunk.  Last year’s sleeping bag was still in it, soaked through to the foam rubber mat with rain and, I supposed, sea water that leaked freely through the deck above. The walls had been once been painted white, but engine oil and fish slime has splattered and sprayed them to a greasy gray.

My head began to swim—I had to get some fresh air. Taking Jasona on my arm, I retreated outside. The net had not been removed from the reel. Seaweed and scrap fish had been wound on with it. Debris littered the decks. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be some other piece of twine holding something else together.

This guy has got to be crazy, I thought. Nobody could clean up this place enough to live in. Clutching my young daughter so she would not be contaminated by I didn’t know what, my thoughts ran away with me. I wanted to ride up to Alaska on the boat with men, although I hadn’t told them that. But I sure didn’t want to tackle this mess! How could he ever be ready to go? And how could he expect to be able to tow us the six hundred miles to Alaska? This thing did not look as if it could get out of the harbor!

“Yeah, that’s great. I could do that,” Harley said as he and Bob came out on deck. He lit a cigarette, passed his pack to Bob, and rested his foot on the rail.

“Well, Mama san. Time’s getting short. You ready?”

“Ready? How’re you going to be ready to go? This place is a mess!” I answered.

Giggling his trollish, “Tee, hee, hee,” Harley said. “never could see cleaning up something I didn’t need right away. But I’ll be ready.  I’ll be ready. Just you don’t worry yourself about that. But, let’s go get dinner. Then I can start.”

As we walked back up the floats, I turned to look again at the Hansena. I looked up at the mast to the maze of lines and stays I would come to know as “rigging”. There, upside down, dangled a featherless rubber chicken.