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Theodore Carl Soderberg

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Books by Theodore Carl Soderberg
Chapter 1
By Theodore Carl Soderberg
Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Last edited: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This short story is rated "PG" by the Author.
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Chapter One
Not unlike many other small boys, I was drawn to water from my
earliest memories. As a four-year-old child, I can still recall a carnival
in Yonkers, New York, that had a boat ride. I know for certain that I
saw a carousel, a roller coaster, and a Ferris wheel, but they were no
match for the boats that glided through the mysterious wet stuff. I
pleaded with my parents that I might go for a ride, and I can only
imagine that my enthusiasm got the best of them. The boats would
go ’round and ’round, and I was mesmerized. Once in the boat, I felt
compelled to get my hands in the water. The small boats would follow
one another in a circular water basin that was five feet deep. As my
hands touched the water I could feel the magic flow through my
fingers. Hysterical Mom and Dad had the operator shut her down, so
their seagoing toddler might come back to the safety of land. And I
suspect they thought I might have a thing for the water, or perhaps
they might be parenting a juvenile kook. Eight years later, as a grade
school mariner in Westchester County, two of my buddies and I
discovered an abandoned cement tub that was used for mixing
cement. We naturally figured we had salvage rights, and soon
discovered that the tub would make a spectacular pleasure craft. As
I was surveying the landscape, I can recall saying to my buddies, “I
don’t see any ‘no boating’ signs. What do you think?”
Then my sidekick Dickey said, “I bet that sucker floats real good,
what do you think, Bobby?”
“Heck yeah,” and in chorus we said, “let’s do it!”
After we had trundled our newly pirated pleasure craft to the
water’s edge, the launching and float testing was accomplished like
seasoned salts. Carpenters Pond, in New Rochelle, New York, at first
glance, was an attractive pond, but upon closer inspection proved to
be a shallow mud hole full of duck crap.
Once we got in the middle of the pond, using sticks as makeshift
oars, shipmate Bobby wanted to see what would happen if he stood
up and did the new dance craze, “The Twist.” Before we could tell the
knot head to sit down, the water was pouring in over the stern, and
we were yelling, “We’re going down! We’re going down!” And we
did, in thirty seconds, like a rock. The three of us remained in the tub
all the way to the bottom, that was twelve inches below. I looked at
friends Dickey and Bobby, and said, “Well, you guys got any other
cool ideas?” On another occasion in New York, at Lake Carmel,
Dad and I would go fishing, and this time we were to use a boat, but
unfortunately, it was not seaworthy after the effects of a storm. I still
recollect looking down at the little boat from the rocks above, and
seeing the boat full of the lake. I did not tell Dad, but at the time, I was
thinking, “The heck with the fish, let’s get the water out of the boat,
and go for a ride!”
It was never the fish I was interested in, it was the boat and the
water…man against the elements, and the unknown…below and
beyond. To me the fish were just an excuse to play in the water. I am
still not sure what I saw—power, mystery, raw strength—but for
sure, it wasn’t fish. I never had thoughts of being a sea captain on a
large merchant vessel, or captaining a naval dreadnaught, or an
America’s Cup sailboat, or any of the other lofty ideas that boys get.
For this sailor, it was good enough to be on or near the water, and of
course, actually in the water. I have always thought it ironic, that the
more position and title one had, the more it would distance them
from the water. If I wanted to be in the world of computers and
electronics, I would have stayed ashore with the rest of the landlubber
geeks. By the age of twelve, I was already accumulating a repertoire
of sea stories. As many people go to sea, there are as many stories, and
here is one of mine.


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