Long Ago In The Coast Guard

1997 by Dolly Juhlin



Blouses and bell bottoms, dixie cups too

Fuzz on the lip, the haircut was a crew

Spit and shine polish on big clunky boots

Learning line from a rope and to smartly salute

White boxer shorts, brass belt buckle to shine

Liberty card earned, pulled, and then won again

Bounce a quarter on the bunk, it had to be so tight

Do things time and time and again, until you got them right

Doing your laundry and learning what you hate

Taking so much of that shit from all the non rates

First time on a ship with your heart in your throat

A tattoo on your arm to make your friends gloat

Lonely but tough, hated writing letters home

Cast loose in the world and loving to roam

Learning respect, the hard way most times

Chipping and painting and polishing shines

Striking for a rate, what's it all about

Career choices made, many in doubt

First flight on a plane, all alone in the sky

Traveling cross country, and wondering why

Making new friends every two years or more

Not knowing what risks this job has in store

Seeing places and people, all never dreamed of

Meeting a girl and falling in love

Gee, ten years already? And now I'm a Chief

Dues paid are worth it, all the work and the grief


Reproduced with permission of the author

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