Saturday, February 13, 2010

CLASSIC SEA STORY - Message in a Bottle
by Robin

Oh my goodness! I'd be remiss if I didn't introduce you to Jerry.


Ok, not them. Those people are my family. I'm talking about the bottle. That day we caught all the drum, sheepshead, red fish, we also found a bottle in the ocean while searching for tripletail. We even took this memorable photo of it. It even came with the classic treasure map in there.

Once we were home and done cleaning fish, curiousity got the best of Jack. I was in the kitchen when Jack came to me with a hand full of what looked like sand. Jack didn't look so hot, like he'd seen a ghost. He asked me if it looked like sand or something else in his hand. I closely examined it and then admitted that it didn't look like sand.

"What is it?" I asked. That's when he handed me the treasure map, errr.... uh... note. It was a farewell message from the friends of Jerry who had drunk this bottle of rum on a casino boat, put the remains of their drinking buddy, Jerry, into the bottle and then sent him over the rail to sail the ocean seas and see the world. Much to Jerry's demise, part of him was in the grass and the other half still in the bottle back on dry land.

The only problem with their send-off was that they threw the floating casket out with an west wind, taking the bottle right back to shore.

To our surprise, on the note was a cell phone number. We called it and got the story about how Jerry was a drifter, dying of cancer. No family and no real friends to speak of. After he died a poor man, Jerry's drinking friends did what they thought was appropriate as a funeral. BUT, they did not love Jerry enough to do it again. So, we were stuck with Jerry.

Jack scooped up as much of Jerry's remains in the grass and we transferred everything to an old lemonade plastic container. Jerry sat on my dryer for a couple weeks while another storm passed by and the seas were high. It was really hard to do laundry that month. Creepy really. So creepy, I couldn't take it after a while and I had Jack move Jerry to the covered sidewalk outside the house. Sorry JERRY!

Eventually, we were able to take the boat to an undisclosed distance offshore, add some lead to the recyclable, non-breakable casket and turned off the engine. For an untrained funeral pastor, Jack did a really nice job speaking at the funeral while the three of us stood silently. It was hard, but we sent Jerry back to the sea, only not floating. He is still resting in the Cape region (I hope).
We came back home feeling weird. So sad for Jerry to be so alone in this world. Yet, we felt called by God to at least give Jerry a decent 'burial at sea'. I hope that God never has us serve Him this way again.

A couple years later, we found another floating bottle in the sea with coquinas all over it. There were no remains in the bottom of the bottle. We did read that note and let the owners know we had found their message in a bottle. The bottle had actually traveled all the way from the Yucatan peninsula, set adrift by some English folks. We never did hear back from them.

1 comment:

Sharie said...

Oh my gosh! What a story!