Marlenee Photo 1
Sea Stories
by Ruthie Marlenée

The old man of the sea stands dockside waiting for his son’s ship to come in. After two weeks guarding our coastline, part of Homeland Security, the USCG Cutter docks for fuel. The old Guard watches as the young Guard nails the landing. That’s my boy, the Captain. Even under his face covering, it’s clear the father’s pride swells higher than an ocean wave.

Marlenee Photo 2

I board with my husband, a USCG Officer, retired after 31 years, bringing chowder, fish and chips, careful to social distance at least one fathom apart on the ship’s fantail. Soon, young crew gather for a chance to hear one of the notorious salty sea stories from this white bearded ancient mariner. He shares about surfing in Samoa and trolling for ahi in the South Pacific. But too soon, it’s time to depart.

Marlenee photo 3

We watch as the ship slips away. My husband wipes a tear, remembering his boy, remembering missing his family while being gone at sea. I know the tales he didn’t have time to share today. The ones he and his son will share someday over a cold beer about all the search and rescue missions, all the lives saved, the countless dangerous boardings and interceptions of panga boats full of drugs along our coastline. My husband will recall the trainings he did in India and Africa, the interdiction of enslaved migrant women and children arriving on rat-infested boats from communist-blocked countries and how he provided food, water, and medical attention.

In the end, they’ll talk about how proud they’ve been to serve in the United States Coast Guard. Always ready, Semper Paratus.

Join me in saluting this father and son and all the other Coasties who’ve served and continue to serve our country during these uncertain times. Thank you for keeping our borders safe and for protecting people from the sea and the sea from people.

PHOTOS: 1) United States Coast Guard Cutter coming in for fuel.  2) The author’s husband, Jeff Gunn, and two USCG crew members listening to his sea stories. 3) The author’s husband in his younger days before retiring after 31 years as a USCG Chief Warrant Officer.  Photos by the author. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruthie Marlenée is a California native, isolating in Los Angeles with her husband. Her novel, Agave Blues, is due in 2021. Her second novel, Curse of the Ninth , nominated for a James Kirkwood Literary Award, published in February 2020, is available wherever books are sold. She earned a Writer’s Certificate “With Distinction” from UCLA. The author of several novels, she is currently working on the sequel to Curse of the Ninth. She is a ghostwriter, screenwriter, novelist. and a poet whose work can be found in a number of literary publications, including Silver Birch Press. Visit her at and