In the autumnal season of life, as we age and retire out of the workforce, some of us may begin to feel unwanted and useless. We’ve done our job, and certainly did our best… we put heart and soul into our family and career. But now that we’re a few years removed from a busy active life, and no longer able to do what we once could, maybe some feel like they’ve been “put out to pasture” and left to watch time slowly tick away.
As Will documents in his blog, Tugster, about the traffic of his aptly-named watery “Sixth Boro” surrounding New York City and its environs, we see tugs hard at work towing and pushing barges or assisting an array of ships. Once upon a time, newly minted, they slid into the water, freshly christened with a shining glow, eager to face whatever responsibility or danger came their way. These tugs of various shapes and sizes actively plied the waters for many decades, sometimes sold to be rebuilt, repurposed and renamed to fit a new owner’s need. But, it saddens us when these workhorses of watery roads are abandoned in a lonely inlet graveyard to slowly rot away. They deserve a far more fitting tribute for their hard-earned rest.
Sort of like us… Maybe we had only one job, one career, or maybe we embraced multiple careers in our lifetime. Maybe we lived through an era in history with a personal perspective that today’s youth don’t understand. Be willing to share your life stories… the blessings, the fun and laughter, and the tears in tough times. What was learned through your experiences may help someone else understand how to face their own difficulty. With the end of life coming to us all eventually, whether boat or person, we can still make the most of our time that’s left.
We don’t need to retire to the proverbial rocker in the corner… at least not yet anyway! We can be repurposed in retirement to benefit others. We can volunteer our time in any number of ways within our local community. In so doing, we can bring a smile, a sense of joy and love to someone who truly can’t get out and about as they once did.
Listen to the stories, memories of the heart. Help a friend share their life’s history. Perhaps you can be the catalyst to write down those memoirs. Create the opportunity for such remembrances to be passed on to their children, grandchildren and great-grands, even to others beyond their immediate family.
Every one of us has a story to tell… our place in history to share. Like us, those old tugboats are deserving of recognition for what was accomplished during life’s journey with a fitting salute and tribute.
Linda A. Roorda
They ply the waters, these boats called tugs
Each bow riding high with a stern slung low
A workhorse they say for river or sea
Vital to traffic of watery lanes.
Now gaunt and faded like lifeless fossils
Left to corrode alone with their mem’ries,
Who can recall the day of christening
When futures shone bright as colorful hulls.
Riding waves high to rescue the dying
Pushing and tugging behemoths of the deep
Gently nudging, tucking in a berth
Or pushing deep scows hauling upriver freight.
No matter the calm, never minding the storm
They’ve a job to do without laud or praise
Handling with ease by a captain’s trained eye
Who knows safe channels like the back o’ the hand.
But came the day they were put to rest
No hands at the helm, their days were numbered
Silently rocking as waves tick off time
Lapping relentless to a tune not their own.
Haunting images mere remnants of honor
Come close and listen, if you dare tread near
Listen to whispers of tales long ago
As we salute you, the pride of the harbor.
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"Poetic Devotions" offers faith-based poetry and everyday devotions of praise by Linda Roorda. See more at her site HERE