Burial At Sea

By Bernard Lehrer

 

 

There is something therapeutic about reliving ancient memories. I want to express my thanks to Jack for giving me that opportunity and doing such a great job in general, I also want to say that I'm still proud to have served in the Coast Guard mainly because they were a great bunch of guys, I would love to hear from anyone who had the patience to read my stuff. belehrer@aol.com


Now for the story:  Having enough points to be with the first contingent of men leaving St. Paul, we boarded the Cedar in December 1945. I was a seasoned veteran at 21 years of age. We were heading into the stormy season and the Skipper of the Cedar wisely and repeatedly took refuge in safe harbors along the way South towards the mainland. I took ill with a flu-like ailment and got sea sick again to the point that I was sack-bound for it seemed like weeks on end. 

A kind yeoman asked me what he could do to help and I asked for assistance to a shower and a fresh pair of skivvies. That wish granted my neighbors and I all acknowledged that the soiled skivvies were irretrievable and decided to have a burial at sea

Then with a buddy on each shoulder for support and with a full honor guard saluting at attention, I was assisted to the rail where I most reverently dispatched my skivvies.

Having recovered I was fit for liberty in Sitka again where I made the acquaintance of a local lady to whom I recounted my fearful experience with the weather and the sea sickness. She claimed a cure for the sea sickness and we went to a  pharmacy where she had me buy a box of "Mother Sill's Sea Sick Pills" (I still have the partially used box.) An hour before departure and upon pulling away from the dock two different pills were to be taken. I unwisely told a shipmate about the pills and got a good razzing from all.

That was, until the next morning, when the Cedar was doing a "ballet", Everyone was horizontal. Except Lehrer, RT1 !!! I went to the Galley and demanded my breakfast of buttery pancakes and greasy sausage from the cooks who looked at me incredulously. The cooks were looking a little "green" as well, I took my breakfast up to my shipmates who were then rolling around on the dancing deck and I insisted that they join me in my repast. Later a couple of guys offered to buy some of my "Sill's Pills" at inflated prices!

When we arrived at Seattle in the light of our lengthy absence from civilization, we were warned that we were to behave like gentlemen. No need. The feel of the big city was an intimidating factor and we were indeed content with the tame atmosphere of the U.S.O. before heading back to our respective Separation Centers,   

Full sails and calm seas to all. Bernard Lehrer. 

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