haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 3

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

Yvonne Cabalona

The Navy Hymn

Lunch hour—every day I timed it so I would be home to watch the public broadcasting station’s telecast of  “California’s Gold.” Half hour gems that explored points of interest in the state’s history, today’s episode wasn’t any less fascinating but touched a little closer to home. The location selected for this venture was the now closed Mare Island Naval Shipyard, one of the places out of my father’s military past. As the commentator took his viewers on a tour of the island and spoke about its past, I was suddenly reminded of our move in November 1965—we had been transferred across the continent—California to Connecticut. A sign boasting, “Groton, Connecticut—Submarine Capital of the World”, stood at the entry to the base. It was the first time we officially lived together as a family, my father’s new sub assignment rotations allowing him home more than what we had become accustomed. As the cameraman stepped inside and scanned the installation’s small chapel, I recalled the church our family attended. The non-denominational structure had been built to serve a community of dependent housing complexes—residences where military orders constantly flowed families in and out. At the program’s conclusion, the song startled me, it’s haunting melody drawing me back sharply to that time and place, to the wall-sized glass panels that faced its congregation in the direction of the sea, towards perils acknowledged but unspoken by us all.

late autumn—
ending Sunday services
the Navy Hymn

[Return to Author List, Vol 3 ]

 


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