call for the Captain ashore, let me go home

In 2017 a study was done to determine what the first thoughts were when people woke up in the morning. According to Brooke Nelson in, research found that “most Americans think first of money and work when they wake up – 56% of men and 48% of women, respectively.” Since I have very little of either, I am not surprised that my first thoughts almost every morning are lyrics to songs. Different songs every day.

During today’s 40-minute morning walk I began to sing (in my head) the song I woke up to a half hour before I started walking: the first verse and chorus of The Wreck of the John B as I remembered from The Kingston Trio recording in 1958. When Pretty reads this, she will be stunned that I remembered a verse and chorus of any song but I find I am more apt to remember words to songs in my childhood than any newer ones. Old age reminder. But why this song today?

So hoist up the John B’s sail
See how the main sail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I want to go home,
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

A Category 4 hurricane named Ida crashing against the Louisiana coast from the Gulf of Mexico, the remains of 13 American soldiers killed this past week in Afghanistan returned to the United States today, an undetermined number of Afghan refugees airlifted out of Kabul since last Sunday, and a pandemic that rises like a Phoenix to threaten every home – these are the current crises swirling in my brain. I believe I hear the voices of those who need a Captain ashore to help them when the homes they once knew are lost in an irreversible wreck.

The disasters in my life have usually been of my own making through broken relationships, wrong choices, cloudy thinking, faulty judgment. Home for me has been shaped by geography and redefined by time, but regardless of life’s experiences I also needed a Captain ashore that always came in the form of the persons who gave me safe harbors.

My hope as I go to sleep tonight is the song I woke up with this morning. Hoist up the John B.’s sails, see how the main sail sets, call for the Captain ashore, let me go home – may we all find Captains on new shores to lead us safely home.


Stay safe, stay sane, please get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
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6 Responses to call for the Captain ashore, let me go home

  1. Luanne says:

    This post made me very weepy. I guess I am weepy anyway: Felix, Afghanistan (and my upset today that they couldn’t grab Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, her staff at Kabul Small Animal Rescue, and the animals on the way out), Ida, etc. I hadn’t realized how my hopes were tied to somebody getting Charlotte and the rest out in time. It seemed as if that miracle could happen. But it did not. Now she is a saint to me, along with Sakae Kato who stayed in Fukushima to take care of the animals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the thought of those left is enough to make you weepy but with Felix gone I understand you will be “weepy” for a very long time. Nothing can fill that loss, my dear friend. I ache with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        Thank you so much, Sheila. Today Perry and Kana seemed to get closer, but they are both a bit depressed–especially Perry who was the closest to Felix. I have been wondering if Perry was from a cat colony before he came here. He really needs the other cats.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The same was true for our Spike, Luanne. Spike came into a family of Red, Annie, Ollie and Chelsea. One by one they left him for other worlds until it was just him. Pretty and I had planned to shower him with love and attention since he was the least demanding of all our dogs. But after Red and Chelsea passed, Spike got very depressed and wouldn’t even sit with us in the den to watch tv. We finally figured out that he was grieving these losses as much as we were. Several months later another trip to a rescue place and along came Charly. She is just what the doctor ordered for Spike. Now a third rescue has unfortunately turned into a problem for him but nothing in life is perfect! Pretty told me recently that Buddha says life is full of sorrows. She’s probably paraphrasing, but we have our share, don’t we?


  2. Very heartfelt written, sheila💗🙏Just saw the picture of Ella and how big she already is. That’s our Captain for today, she brings out the best in us…see😸Pawkisses for a Happy Week ahead🐾😽💞

    Liked by 1 person

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