Shrimp Boats and Daydreams

During a recent trip to South Carolina, I took a detour with my aunts and mother for an adventure in Calabash, North Carolina (just at the NC/SC border).

Calabash is home to ‘calabash’ style shrimp, shopping (Callahan’s), and family vacations. Its neighboring beaches, Sunset and Ocean Isle, serve as the get-a-way spots for many American families.

While strolling the Calabash dock, we noticed that the shrimp boats had just come in. Excited, we wondered if they had yet unloaded their ‘gold?’

It turns out that we were just in time to see their treasure. As we watched, the fishermen unloaded coolers of freshly frozen shrimp (caught out at sea and immediately frozen to preserve the ‘just caught’ taste) and prepared for business. They measured the shrimp in ten pound lots, cut their heads off, and put them in plastic grocery sacks for patiently waiting customers.

As I watched the fishermen, I wondered if they found joy in their profession. What was it like it to faithfully travel out to sea, catch something, and fill the (many) bellies of anticipating locals and tourists? I admired their lives and work as I watched them diligently weigh these sea creatures in the glistening sun.

Photo: Shrimp boat at sea
© 2008 J. Dana Trent

Perfectly Gratuitous

With hopes of lightening your load and starting your day off well – here’s something that’s perfectly gratuitous …

I listen to music when I write. It inspires me, and I associate words and melodies with people, moments, and places.

A few favorites …

Crossroads, will you ever let him go?
Will you hide the dead man’s ghost
Or will he lie, beneath the clay,
Or will his spirit roll away?
– The Allman Brothers, “Melissa”

I’ve heard newborn babies wailin‘ like a mournin‘ dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
“Come in,” she said,”I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”
– Bob Dylan, “Shelter from the Storm”

If I said I love you would it be too soon?
Cause timing is everything in this old familiar tune
I would spend my life underneath a wandering moon
If every time i said goodbye
I could come back home to you
– Christopher Williams, “Every Time I Say Goodbye”

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel you shout
Cause you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out
And these mistakes you’ve made
You’ll just make them again if you’ll only try turnin‘ around
– Anna Nalick, “Breathe (2 AM)”

What words/melodies have inspired you lately?

© 2008 J. Dana Trent

"W." – With God On Our Side

If you remain in your seat to watch the ending credits of Oliver Stone’s latest film, “W.” – you’ll hear the old familiar and awkward melody of Bob Dylan’s “With God On Our Side” playing as the credits roll.

Indicative of the tone of the movie, “W.” is brilliantly portrayed by Stone as a cowboy called by the Almighty.

On an afternoon running trip after a night of heavy birthday drinking, W falls in the brush on the side of the running trail, and Stone simulates a “Road to Damascus” experience with careful use of camera focus and natural light. Several scenes follow with the “born again” W receiving support and counsel from his evangelical preacher (Earle Hudd, a composite character sketch of several evangelical preachers).

Most importantly, Earle Hudd returns later in the film, while W is governor of Texas. In a heart to heart chat, W announces to Earle that he feels called to the presidency.

“I’ve heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president.” I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen, and, at that time, my country is going to need me. I know it won’t be easy, on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.”

(The dialogue for this scene comes from “The Faith of George W. Bush,” by Stephen Mansfield, pages 108-109)

Earle Hudd looks startled at first, then supportive of W’s aspirations for the presidency – seemingly with God on his side – and he prays for W.

Public servants have often attributed their dedication to service with a value system that includes a solid faith structure. But does “God on our side” grant us permission to do the unthinkable? Does God become the scapegoat for the hubris of humanity?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Please share!

Photo: Josh Brolin as “W.”
Photo credit: IMDB

© 2008 J. Dana Trent

With God On Our Side
But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

Copyright ©1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music