“Young Thomas and His Mother,” Mary Cassett, 1893, WikiArt.

Part 1: Jannet and Kamden

Life’s decisions, ocean passages, waves hard-
Steep, Papa, another fisherman, rowing open
Dory, we pushed for Atlantic steel-hull trawlers,
With us mother, sick boy, seeking doctor on
Scottish mainland. Too long we waited, sips
Of fever-breaking teas, child seizing, we
Feared for young life ending. First light, to
Open seas we took, Jannet and her son,
Kamden, blanket-bundled against salt spray,
White-capped shipping waves.

Cold, dripping wet, I, Willow, read father’s
Lips, repeated silent prayers, acts of faith or
Folly, seaward pull of oars, tempting ocean
Doom. Light upon sea-mist, wave-swinging,
Single oil lantern burned, by happenchance,
We were fishing-captain found, mother, child
Rescued, dory not broken apart, cutwater
Plowed under. First long blasts of horn, smoke
Black-billowing, hopes restored, lights aloft
Gleaming, dark ship mist-appeared.

Fleeting moments, memories blurred, rust-
Streaked hull dory banging, coin-size rivet
Heads. “Don’t hold onto boat gunnels,” Papa
Shouted, lest our fingers crushed. Fishermen
Reaching, rope ladder, child lifted, mother
Hoisted by strong arms. “Willow, come with
Me,” cried Jannet, her son listless, pale. Papa
Nodded, dory pushed upon lee waves, upward
Pulled on rope ladder, lines and nets, eyes
Staring, upon trawler decks we stepped.

In captain’s cabin we dried, Kamden placed
On bunk, we felt maneuvering turns, leaving
Open-ocean for distant mainland shores.
“Fever, he still burns,” Jannet stated, mother’s
Worst fears. From sea-chest, captain offered
Elixir, “One, two drops on tongue, no more,
Sips of fresh water.” Then added, “If passage
To mainland he survives, most likely he will
Live.” Prayers and sponge baths, rolling ship,
Through storming seas, we ventured forth.

Life’s decisions, ocean passages, turning point in Willow’s life
on Scottish mainland. Thanks for reading. 

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