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Take In the Gangway

I remember the only time our ship pulled into Key West Florida to refuel on our way back home after 7 weeks in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. We were only spending one day and night in Key West. I was stationed on a Mine Sweeper, so the crew was split into Port and Starboard Duty sections. For the uninitiated, that simply means half the crew was on duty (and could not leave the ship), and the other half was off-duty and given “Liberty” (They could leave the ship at the conclusion of the workday!). My section had duty that day and night. So, other than an hour or so I had to venture into town to deliver a set of keys, I didn’t get to see much of… well… the Key! As you may or may not imagine, after nearly 2 months at sea, this was a great delight to nearly half the crew, as they prepared for a “night out on the town”! And, for the rest of us, it was a huge disappointment. There was, of course, the good natured and not so good natured jesting and teasing by those who were fortunate enough to be able to go ashore, against their poor duty bound shipmates. Well, at 1600 the Ship’s Bell was rung 8 times, liberty was pronounced by the Officer of the Deck (OOD), and all those “off duty” piled down the gangway. For those going ashore, their liberty expired at 0600 the next morning, as the Ship was scheduled to get underway at 0800.

I so happened to have the OOD from 0400-0800 that next morning. Again, as you may or may not imagine, I was feeling quite sorry for myself; “poor Petty Officer Nice”, I had to stay on the Ship all night while my Shipmates got to go ashore and make much merriment and “paint the town red”. This sense of “injustice” and “unfairness” was only exasperated as I witnessed many of my Shipmates come staggering back aboard at the wee hours of the morning, boasting and bragging about all their adventures ashore. Well at 0600 liberty expired. Everyone was back aboard except one man. It was none other than Fireman Green (not his real name)! Well Fireman Green was particularly harsh in his “course jesting” and needling of me just the day before. He took an exceptional delight in making me and my fellow watch section feel despised, even rejected, as we were not permitted to go ashore, and HE WAS! In my mind this was too rich! Vindication! He was now going to get his “just desserts” for being such a braggart! Time kept passing as the crew was making ready to push off. It was now 15 minutes before 0800, and Fireman Green was nowhere in sight! A sickening delight began to swell up in my darkened heart. You see, it was one thing to be AWOL (absent without leave), a serious offence in and of itself (which Fireman Green was guilty of one minute after liberty expired). “Ahhh”, but my wicked heart relished, “but to miss your ship’s movement, to actually miss your Command’s departure for sea because of being AWOL, this was a very serious matter”! At the least we would have to appear before a Captain’s Mast, or perhaps even a Court Martial, depending on the circumstances. And just as I was relishing my Shipmate’s misfortune and the bell was about to be rung announcing 0800, there in the distance appeared a figure. It was Fireman Green! He began to make haste towards the Ship running at “full speed ahead”. Beside me were the Executive Officer and the Captain of the Ship. It looked like he was going to just make it! The chronometer ticked off 0800, I gave the order to strike 8 bells on time. And then, in that moment of sinful spite, I overstepped my place, and cried out, “Take in the gangway”! I thought if the order was given, and the men moved quickly enough, the gangway would be secured, sealing my shipmate’s fate, as he would watch helplessly as his Ship sailed out to sea!

But before anyone could make a move, the Captain of the Ship yelled out, “Belay that last order. Stand fast.” Everyone recognized the Captain’s voice, and instantly, my sin of envy, vengeance and pride, “was found out”!

The Captain turned to me and said these words, “Petty Officer Nice, if that was YOU running down the pier… wouldn’t you want me to give the very same order?” “If that was ME…”!? Oh how those words penetrated my very soul. Yes, of course, if that was ME, in need of grace and mercy, I would have welcomed that brief command with great appreciation and sweet relief.

Last Updated (Monday, 09 May 2016 19:20)

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Sunday Morning Worship

Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. - Psalm 29:2

For more than 250 years, worship at Christ Reformed Church has been a time for giving the glory due our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sunday School and Junior Church offer Bible study and activities for all ages. Sunday Worship includes traditional hymns, confession, prayer and preaching with a strong Biblical foundation.

Sunday School for the children and adults starting at 9:00 am
Traditional Bible-centered Worship Service at 10:15 am.

For your convenience, our sanctuary is easily accessible and our Nursery provides supervised child care for infants and toddlers. Christ Reformed Church welcomes everyone to our family atmosphere. We hope to see you soon!

Last Updated (Wednesday, 22 June 2011 19:21)

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If you need a few meals when you come home from the hospital, call Patsy Garges to arrange this service. Several of our members help provide these meals. If you are not on Patsy’s list but would like to help from time to time, give her a call, and she’ll add your name.