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23 December 2012

Greg Collins

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As I wrote in yesterday's blog, I have thought about sharing a few "sea stories" with you. Don't expect great revelations here; just a few that I can't seem to get out of my head, no matter how hard I try. They are personal in nature and may give insight as to why I am somewhat "twisted".

Communication, I have painfully learned, is the cornerstone of a lasting marriage. All to often we fall prey to our own baser instincts and concentrate on the physical, only to "pay big time" at a later date. So it was with my first marriage. Here's a little taste of what lasted seven years for me (1978 through 1984).

I was married, for a time, to a girl from the “sunnier climes”- the Philippines, to be exact- who never quite got the grasp of the English language although, to be honest, her English was heads and shoulders above my attempt at Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines).

Anyway, one morning I arose at the customary 4:30 am to grab a shower and a couple cups of coffee prior to heading across the Terminal Island Expressway to get to the USS New Jersey BB-62, which we were re-assembling back in ’82. This particular morning, the wife was awake, sitting at the dining room table and, as a large bonus, had coffee ready! As I mumbled my early morning greeting and closed in on the warm, brown elixir of life, I heard her say, “Honey, hand pour me please de hello pahgaes”. I took a long slug of coffee and replied, “Huh?”. “Hand pour me please do hello pahgeas”, she said. I dropped my head, shook it side to side a bit as if trying to dislodge some blockage in my ear and replied, “Huh?”. She repeated the phrase again, but with much irritation. Finally I told her, “Honey, I can hear what you are saying; I just don’t understand what you’re telling me”. Exasperated, she explained, “Joo know, de book pour de telephone coeloured hello…”. To which I replied, “You mean the g*d d*mned Yellow Pages?”. She did.

On my way to the ship that morning I was reminded of an earlier (probably ’79), similar incident in Yokosuka, Japan when I was on the USS Kirk FF-1087. As I was the only one of a close-knit group of buddies to have a house on the economy (in town) and a wife who could really cook several Philippino delicacies such as pancit and lumpia, I was elected to host our drunken get-togethers (I did say this was Navy, didn’t I). Well, I had duty on the day before one of these events and I told a couple of the guys, “Look, if you want to do this tomorrow, you’ll have to get off your *sses, go to my place, pick up the wife, take her to the commissary and then get her back home”. “No problem”, came their reply. Later that day- much later- and as I was on rounds on the ship, one of the guys approached me and said, “That is the last time I ever go to the commissary with your wife”. “Why, what happened”, I inquired. He stated, “She had me looking high and low for car-oats”. He went on, “I was climbing the shelves in the cereal aisle looking up and down for the s*ns of b*tches”. I interjected, “Didn’t she mean carrots?”. He glared at me and mumbled’ “*sshole” before turning and walking away. I smiled and chuckled as I hooked a right at the Hughes Tool Company shack and turned toward the dry dock.

Have a Great Holiday!,
Greg


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