Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Right (Part 1)

Today and next Saturday are the birthdays of two righteous gentlemen. One, a hero to millions past and present (your humble hostess included). The other, far closer to home, my own father. Thus our word for today and next Saturday: right. More common at sea than you might imagine.

Right does not mean starboard aboard ship as it would in your car. In that sense it means directly as in right away. You don't ever turn right at sea.

There are right angles and right-angled triangles of course, especially where masts and sails are concerned. Something is right athwart when at right angles to the keel of your ship.

Right ascension is used in navigation and is calculated by the position of the constellation Aries in relationship to the equator and the hour circle which passes through a known star or planet. I am not making that up. Navigation by the stars is one of the great wonders of the human mind.

Right-hand rope is one braided clockwise and is the norm among ropes, most people being right handed. The opposite is not "left-hand rope" but water-laid rope.

Finally (at least for today), right away is a call of orientation when a sail is spotted and it is calculated by the main mast-head: "Right away on the bow" would mean straight ahead, for instance.

Now, if you will permit me: John "Jack" Richard Fletchall was born on this day, 1926, in Amity, Oregon. As it turned out, his father's family came to Oregon around 1842 from New Orleans via Missouri. Our surname was originally Lafleche anglicised for convenience or to hide something vital, possibly at some point on the trail. Dad said he was 18 and joined the Merchant Marine at age 16. He spent World War II in and around the Philippines. He came home, got a master's degree in physical education, married Mom and worked for first UPS and then himself. Dad looked something like the sailor in the picture above, which is why I love that poster. He died January 3, 1983. Fair winds and fine prizes, Dad; you always were a privateer at heart.


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! And a belated huzzah for your Dad. I only wish that I had gotten the chance to meet and know him. He certainly helped to raise a couple of great kids in you and your brother, Pirate Queen.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy and thankee! Dad was a good old salt or - as Jack Aubrey would have said - a good 'n. He would have loved you very much, I'm sure. After he got over all the taking his daughter business, I mean...

WasABuc said...

Greetings sea monkeys. Ahoy & all that...or just hoy if your like me and stuck in Mexifornia. Anyway, nice tribute to the "red thatched bruiser". Also, known simply as "the body" by the locals. Benson Tech's own John Fletchall.

I raise my glass, as usual, but this time I'm pointing in your direction big guy! A toast to my dad. Gone, but absolutely never forgotten. Love you, man.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, WasABuc! You had to love Dad, may he rest peacefully.