Portsmouth is a wonderful little community. Downtown is full of these great little shops and eateries. I haven’t been into the shops yet, but the eateries are way too expensive. Oh, wait. I have been into a little independent bookseller. Very nice, but small. It was good to talk again to people like the folks I used to work with at Joseph-Beth.
I’ve been attending the local Greek parish. All I can say is that it’s Greek. Curiously, the Lord keeps sending me to parishes named for St Nicholas, who is the patron saint of sailors. (If you’re ever wondering what to get me, there is a beautiful icon of St Nicholas, Help of Mariners from St Isaac of Syria Skete. They had one at boot camp, and I nearly wept the first time I saw it.) They have some beautiful icons, too. Someday, I’ll get some photos. The parish priest (what do they call them in Greek? Proistamenos? Whatever.) has been away for the last month. He should be returning this week. I’ll try to squeeze in an appointment to talk to him soon.
The first year on a sub for a submariner is spent learning about the boat and being initiated into the crew. Although hazing has been officially forbidden, the crew still tries to see how much a newbie can take. Once a submariner has qualified, he is given the coveted “Silver Dolphins,” which means he has a thorough understanding of the boat from bow to stern. Most significantly for his shipmates, he means he knows the right thing to do if there should ever be a problem, like fire or flooding. It means they can count on him to save their lives if necessary.
So, the next year of my life is going to be pretty demanding. Of course, we’re in the yards, so it’s not as demanding as it would be if we were at sea, but it will still be a pretty tough year (give or take some; hot runners can get their dolphins in as little as six months). Keep me in your prayers.
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