The long time, for it seemed even longer, that we as an island community have been managing our lives while we at the same time stayed alive, may be almost over.
For that time, now about two years, we had to eliminate some activities, delay some others, and modify others. The virus that carries the title COVID-19 has essentially taken two years from us in the sense that we had to make some drastic changes, changes we would not have otherwise made.
Births, deaths, and celebrations of all kinds, all had to be either not observed or observed in such ways as to be almost unrecognizable. It is these ceremonies of passage in particular that help us, in our humanity, to begin new lives, celebrate seminal events such as weddings, and remember the lives of those who have died.
For sailors, this recognition of death is called crossing the bar. One need only watch the Columbia River bar to see that life is represented by the turmoil of the seaward side of the bar. When we cross the bar, we pass into a place of serenity and peace. Alfred, Milord Tennyson wrote the poem about this, yet sailors have used the phrase for centuries.
In particular, did this affect me and my family. My wife, Mary Wubbold, died in her sleep on June 1, 2020, during the Midwatch, the time aboard ship of the most darkness and danger. We were not able to have a funeral in the traditional sense, and she is now interred in our lovely cemetery with only a short service. At the same time, we were not able to have any chance for all those who loved her to celebrate knowing her.
Comes now that opportunity, and it will be on Sunday, July 3, at Point Robinson, in the Lighthouse Meadow. I tell all hands this via this commentary because this is an invitation for all who would have attended an event two years ago to be a part of this one, a symbolic return to the customs that help to sustain us in times of stress, in times of joy.
There will be logistical details in an advertisement that I will post hereon closer to the date. However, I take this opportunity to be a part of every ceremony missed, every event modified to the bare bones, every birth and every death recognized only in the smallest way. Take and heed my words that having overcome, at a great cost including some of our most cherished people, a terrible scourge, we are carrying on.
With vast affection and respect for the island community that Mary loved for the 20 years of our life together here, and which is now only reinforced in the heart of Captain Joe, from the Captain’s Chair.
Now retired as Chief of Operations for the Coast Guard, Captain Joseph H.Wubbold III is an enthusiastic educator, whose passions range from the Antarctic to Cambridge University. Find out more about him and listen to his weekly radio show, From the Captain’s Chair, on the Voice of Vashon, at voiceofvashon.org/captain-joe.