Thursday, September 20, 2012

Port Call

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. Psalm 107, King James Bible

The view from seat 13A of the US Airways Embraer RJ145 was spectacular, if not breathtakingly colorful. The rolling New England countryside has yet to see autumn's changing leaves. Green and lush, made more so under a cloudless blue sky. House Island, and the revetments of historic Fort Scammell are clearly visible from fifteen hundred feet above the Atlantic Ocean as we turn to land in Maine.

Visiting our daughter Beth has involved the sea since she left Denver in 2005. Moving first to Ft. Myers, Florida she now resides in Portland, Maine, a law student at the University of Maine. A 3L.

Of course, the first thing we do after arriving is walk the cobble streets of Old Port and find a place to eat. Balmy temperatures allow us to sit outside. My lobster chowder, and our conversation, are warm and soothing.

Beth is a busy woman, working part time as an investment accounts manager at a bank. She is a full time law student - well, at least as full time as any self-respecting third year allows themselves to be. This year she has become a student attorney, admitted as such to the Maine Bar, with an array of clients to serve. None of these obligations wane when Daddy comes to town.

I see her for lunch and dinner, and otherwise roam downtown. On a cloudy, blustery Tuesday I discover Carnival Glory docked at the cruise ship terminal.

Carnival Glory. Just the name evokes adventure. She is over 950 feet long and displaces 110,000 tons. This Conquest-class ship is the twentieth-largest cruise ship in the world, carrying just a couple of families shy of 3000 passengers. There she sits, flags flapping in the wind, tied up in Portland harbor.

Aboard, the midships jumbotron plays a Michael Jackson music video. Passengers linger along the railing, run laps on the track circumnavigating the lido deck or lounge on balconies. A steady line of people leave shorefront taverns, moving steadily toward the terminal building, shore excursions over. Street merchants offer last-minute Maine souvenirs - I choose one for my wife.

Carnival Glory departed that evening, due in Saint Johns, New Brunswick the next morning. I took off on a US Airways flight about the time she was docking. Gazing down, I saw the parking lot of my motel, where I had given Beth a last good bye hug and told her how proud of her we are.

I missed her already, and we were barely off the ground.

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