I get a few unusual emails every now and then, but this one was, well, “interesting”… It read, “Hello dear, i am Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, United States military Sergeant, looking for a reliable and trust worthy person for a cordial relationship. Please I will be happy if you reply me for more details. Best regards! Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester.” I had the foresight to read this one aloud to My Lovely Bride, who might otherwise be suspicious about an email from this young woman. (And no, I’m not quite so dumb as to reply to such an email… well, unless she sent a photo… Smack! Jeez, that hurt!)
What made the conversation with MLB most surprising was that I mentioned, “Suzanne, who was the character in a 19th Century novel named Hester?” Immediately she replied, “Oh, that was Hester Prynn.” I had to look up the reference, but English majors (yes, Connie and Lois Anne, I’m thinking of you) will surely shout, “A Scarlet Letter!” Guess that fits with the type of phishing email that she is sending out, but she’s probably in Albania or Russia and not in Boston or Wellesley. Of note, the image is of Lillian Gish, “The First Lady of American Cinema”, from the 1926 film A Scarlet Letter, based on the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was only the second MGM film the lovely young actress had appeared in, and she had requested the role specifically of the producer, Louis Mayer, who was worried about negative reaction from church groups.
It didn’t have anything to do with the email mentioned above, or even the beach volleyball team that I tried to join, but on the last day of April, we relocated from Southern California up the coast to Port Hueneme, home of the Navy SeaBees. “SeaBees” is a popular term for Naval Construction Battalions (CBs), which were created at the beginning of WWII to build naval installations and airfields, primarily in the Pacific.
Their official motto, “Construimus, Batuimus” translates from Latin as “We build; we fight”, but their more well-known motto is “Can Do”. Contrasted with young sailors, soldiers and Marines who fought in WWII, the average age of SeaBees was 37, since they were mostly highly experienced construction workers. The SeaBees built hundreds of airfields, bases and port facilities in the Pacific and European Theaters, and were the subject of a 1944 John Wayne movie, but even more sensational was the recent report of Der Blogmeister driving a SeaBee Caterpillar bulldozer. (Eat your heart out, Bob.)
While on the base, we decided to get a long run in, and passed this sign warning that we were in a Tsunami Hazard Zone. I looked for a tall tree to climb, but My Lovely Bride told me that I was overreacting. Sigh…
We also had the chance to have dinner with a former neighbor from Washington, DC, retired Coast Guard Commander Jim Morrison and His Lovely Bride Karen, an HR executive. We met at a very nice Malibu restaurant right on the beach, with excellent food and adult beverages, and at more reasonable prices than in Williams, Arizona, outside Grand Canyon… (I may be on the Williams, AZ, Persona non Grata List for that comment, but I’m already on a hit list in Coon Rapids, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesnowta, so what can you do except call them like you sees them???)
California is an unusual state; where else would you find a couple of guys in formal wear playing music on the beach? Their attire actually would fit in here quite well; we passed many properties fit for Hollywood stars, where houses (estates?) run into the tens of millions…
The bar was also a bit more completely fitted out than most back at home. I’m not a Scotch drinker, but this bar had Johnny Walker Red, Black, Gold and Blue, the latter selling at retail for $200-$300 a bottle. I didn’t dare ask what a shot might cost. The young bartenders were also well-fitted out with low-cut tops, but I had learned my lesson from a previous misadventure, and was “keeping my eyes in the boat”, so to speak. (A difficult task here, I can assure you. And, by the way, My Lovely Bride offered to take this photo, and oh, darn, just happened to take several photos when the young ladies were faced away from the camera! Sorry, guys…)
The city of Ventura was just down the road from our campground, so we struck out to “recon the ville”. The scenic harbor was filled with yachts and a sizable number of fishing boats, including this gill netter. She probably fishes for tuna, but many other boats here go out seeking squid, lobster, halibut and crab.
There are also many tourist boats offering harbor cruises, but as we were there midweek, most were moored quietly at their berths.
The fishing heritage of Ventura is proven by this five foot diameter mandala of sardines (or maybe herrings?) mounted on a wall in the harbor shopping village. I’m not that familiar with tiny fish, since my fishing expertise tends toward larger, more challenging species. (No snide comments, please.)
We also got out along the coast road, Highway 1, to admire the views south of Point Mugu. Surfing is very popular in this area, but I must have left my board and wetsuit back home in The Villages, and had to pass up the chance to hang eleven on the drop here. (That could have been an ugly sight…)