Anything nautical has always attracted my attention and so it was with a little pillow I happen across in some shop many years ago. At the time I was considering moving to a houseboat and writing. Living the true life of an eccentric artist. I felt my cat Swithins would enjoy laying on the deck in the sun while I lulled away my time writing. It seemed a really good idea like selling everything and touring the country in an RV. No lawns to mow. No weeds to pull. No big electric bills or through the roof property taxes to have to pay.
There was a documentary that happen across the screen on PBS those long years ago featuring people who lived on the river in houseboats. It was of course very enticing and offered a lifestyle that seemed so romantic even if alone with a cat.
I looked at different styles of houseboats. One was built by an artist couple who were selling because they moved to Taos NM to pursue their art. Better market for what they created they said. Their houseboat was a barge with a house built on top. It seemed much more solid then others I had checked out. Much less in cost yet much more creative in the approach to houseboat living.
A storm blew through the area and I drove in the middle of it to check out how the houseboat responded to the wind, the rain. It is not that I was not familiar with life on the water. My late husband and I sailed and many times in not the best weather. Still we could leave the boat and go home to safety. Watching the houseboat rock and tip, it occurred me that I may not be too comfortable with that as a way of life nor would Swithins my cat. So I abandon the idea of living on a houseboat even though all these years later I still am intrigued by the idea.
After that storm I happen across the little pillow packing a big message of “Don’t Give Up The Ship”…not only a big message, a famous quote as well stated by James Lawrence as he lay dying from battle wounds off the coast of Massachusetts which happens to be one of my favorite parts of the country.
The pillow now tattered has remained with me all these years. Swithins enjoyed laying on it, next to it and generally around it for most of his life. While he long ago crossed the Rainbow Bridge, the other felines I have rescued and are now family, love the pillow as well. It is doubtful they have a clue what the message is yet somehow it is comforting to them and me. It is a message that not only applied to the battle that Captain Lawrence relayed to his crew as he lay dying, it applies to life in general.
It is a message to hold on to one’s values. To keep the faith and to stand true to oneself. It may be a little pillow, a comfortable little pillow yet it packs one big message.