Walking out on the front yard each morning I wonder what the op-ed page will reveal today and whether it will it warm up. Something new and no fog is my hope.

Recently, just bitter letters. The candidate lied, and this one committed a dirty trick and on it goes. And that is just in one party. You can’t write anything for fear of a heated argument. Time out.

I know places where everyone works together and there are no politics except how it will affect our common cause.

Galveston probably offers more volunteer opportunities per capita than anywhere. What’s your interest? Art, sailboats, tall ship, birds, turtles, fish, the history of Texas leaders, documents, architecture, disasters — you name it there is something for you to do. And of course, there are the traditional opportunities too: schools, children organizations, health services, religious and social services.

And one more: twice a year is workweek at the American Undersea Warfare Center, better known as Seawolf Park. USS Stewart and USS Cavalla, two 75-year-olds, a ship and a boat (submarine), while beautiful, require attention.

Last November I was asked by Chief Mac Christy, who travels down from Kansas, to help a new volunteer, Sandy, get started. Assigned to the Stewart’s depth charge racks, again. A few years ago, The Daily News published my ordeal of scraping, chipping, grinding, priming and painting said racks. One of the most complex contraptions this side of an oil refinery. Yet priceless — it connected me to my deceased Dad, a commander in the Naval Reserve.

As a child I watched Dad’s 8 mm films of depth charges being dropped off the stern of a destroyer and exploding. Other times, on aircraft carriers, he filmed planes crash landing on the deck, over and over.

For those who don’t know, an 8 mm was a short reel of plastic that, when a bright light was shone through, created a movie on a screen.

Well, Sandy and I began chipping newly formed rust — that happens in Galveston quite often, our price for the sea at our front door. This looked like a week of work, so I started slow getting to know Sandy.

Come to find out, we both had degrees in religion, from Disciples of Christ universities — he from Texas Christian University, me from Phillips. The week went fast discussing Alexander Campbell and other topics. And the rack was fixed up — Sandy did a great job.

Over the week, 40 folks mostly from out of town, worked, ate (best food in the fleet) and visited while doing dirty jobs. Never a word of disagreement, lots of laughing, photos (could we get one of me working for once?). A common noble mission of preserving and honoring our history for the next generation.

If you would like a week of worthwhile work — don’t worry, Chief Mac will find something for you to do, even if you don’t know what a deck is — come on out May 2 through May 9. Email machief@hughes.net or phone 785-255-4368 soon. It’s free too.

Alvin Sallee is author of “Galveston Wharf Stories.” He lives in Galveston and is on the Cavalla Historical Foundation Board.


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