Mother’s Day

By K. Corris-Seale


Well, tomorrow was Mother’s Day, and Seaview was in port for the next two weeks.  Lee gave shore leave to everyone so they could be with their families.  Nelson was in meetings in Washington, from there he intended to fly to Boston and go with his sister Edith to visit their parents’ graves.  Chip has already called and sent his regrets to his Mom. Not that he didn’t want to be with her, especially since Seaview had been at sea the last two Mother’s Days.   He was as disappointed as she was, but it couldn’t be helped.  He’d make it up to her, even though he realized it wouldn’t be the same.  And wondrously enough, this Mother’s Day all of his siblings, their spouses and children were all going to be there, and all at the same time.  That hadn’t happened in a while.  Oh, well.

Lee was frustrated.  He had tried and said everything he could think of to get Chip to go, but he wouldn’t budge. It was his duty, even though Lee had ordered him to take shore leave and go home.  

Something had gone wrong with Seaview’s navigational system on the way home.  Something had gone VERY wrong.  Chip had spent the rest of the cruise and the last week in port working on it, and absolutely refused to leave until he figured out what was wrong.  To say it was driving him crazy was putting it mildly. There was no problem the first half of the mission, then on their way home Lee realized they were off course, way off course.  Lee had to navigate manually to get back on course and get them home.  Thank goodness for celestial navigation, and Lee’s skill at it.  

Still, Lee felt Chip needed a break, he had been working on it night and day.  And after two phone calls from Mr. Morton, he knew how important it was to Mrs. Morton.

“Chip, just take a few days.  This will still be here waiting for you.  A few days away may even give you a clearer perspective as to what the problem might be.”

“Lee, I can’t!  How many times have we been called out on an unexpected emergency, had to go on immediate active Naval duty, for a mission that usually had to do with national security?  We have to be ready!”

“Chip, how many times has something like that happened when Seaview was in drydock and we couldn’t comply?  The Navy will understand, and they will manage without us.  You’re taking this too personally.  It’s just equipment failure the same as has happened with any equipment on the boat.  The Admiral knows about it and isn’t on your back about it and neither am I.”

“Of course, neither one of you are on my back because you know you don’t have to be, I won’t rest until I have it fixed.  There’s no need for you to worry about it, I’m doing enough of that for all three of us!  Lee, you know I am the only one who can fix this.  Don’t you think I want to see my Mother on Mother’s Day? I have no choice.”

 “Granted, but that doesn’t mean you are supposed to work yourself into an early grave doing it!  Taking a few days off won’t change anything! You’re letting this become an obsession! And I know you well enough and long enough to know that you feel guilty about not going, and that’s probably getting in the way of you fixing this.”

Lee stood there until it became obvious Chip wasn’t going to respond.  He finally  turned and walked away, back up to the Institute.  He wondered if he should call the Admiral.  Would a direct order form him get through to Chip?  Pretty soon it would be too late to go.

Well, let’s see now.  He’d intended to go with Chip, and he could very well go up without him.  But he knew how badly they wanted Chip there.  His parents weren’t spring chickens anymore.  And when was the last time the Mortons were all together? Even though Lee himself had no family, he realized how important this was to all of them.  Definitely more important than any repairs to the navsystem. ff there was any kind of unavoidable emergency where they absolutely had to go to sea, Lee would just have to navigate the same way he had gotten them home.

If they used the flying sub, they could be to the Morton’s and back within 72 hours.  He had to go back down and try to talk some sense into Chip.  Make him realize he had a duty to his family as well.

He walked back down to the boat, surprised to find Chip gone.  Probably went to the head or to grab a bite to eat.   He walked back out to the dock, turned and leaned on the rail, looking past Seaview out onto the peaceful ocean, lost in thought, until he heard a voice behind him.

“There you are Lee. Ok, let’s go.  I changed my mind, please don’t say another word to me about it.  I’ll check out the flying sub then get my stuff. You go get your gear You’re still coming, right?”.”

“Sir, yes Sir, Captain Morton!”

An hour later they were on their way.

Lee landed the flying sub back out behind the Morton’s barn.  The cows didn’t seem to think much of it, went right back to their grazing.  They quietly let themselves in through the back door, no one was in the kitchen.  By the sound of all the laughter. It sounded like everyone was in the dining room or the living room.  They dropped their bags on the kitchen floor, out of everyone’s way.  Lee followed behind Chip as he pushed open the swinging door. 

Then in a very loud voice Chip asked, “Ok, where’s my Mother?”

There was a moment of dead silence before everyone went crazy.  Then, in the midst of tears and laughter, the two of them were hugged, kissed, hands shook, pats on the back.  But when everything had calmed down, still no Mom. 

“Well, where is she?”

 “She just went to check on Mrs. Riley, see if she could get her to come join us.  You know her husband just passed away.   Mom didn’t want her to be alone.”

“Mr. Riley died?  What a shame.  He taught me all those rope tricks, and how to lasso a horse.   He was a great guy, always had a funny story to tell.  That’s too bad.”

“I hope that voice belongs to the son I think it does!”

Chip turned just in time get a big bear hug from his father, and Lee was next.  Mr. Morton was the closest thing Lee had ever had to a father.  He truly envied Chip his family ties. 

“I don’t know what prayer finally got through and got you here son, but I’m not complaining.  You’re a sight for sore eyes.” He turned to Lee, and grabbed his arm, “both of you are.”

There were a lot of questions, a lot of catching up to do.  They enjoyed their ice teas, there was no drinking allowed in the strict Morton household. But it wasn’t missed.  It seemed like there were ten conversations going on at once.  Everyone was gathered around them.

Suddenly, the front door opened and Mrs. Morton walked in, alone.

“Well, I tried but she just wants to be alone today.  I’ll bring some dinner and dessert over to her later.”

“That will be nice, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.”  Chip said as he walked over and gave her a big hug.  “I’m afraid I didn’t have a chance to get you anything.”

“Chip! Chip, you’re here!  You made it after all!  Oh, this is wonderful! No gift in the world could mean as much as having you here with me!”  She gave him another big hug, and he knew she was crying. He held her for a minute until she calmed down. 

She pulled herself together, and then stood back and looked at her son. 

“You look like you’ve lost some weight.  Lee isn’t working you too hard, is he?”

“No, ma’am, I’m not. He’s working himself too hard.”

She quickly turned around, and soon was getting a big hug from her ‘other’ son.

“Oh, Lee! I’m so glad you came!  Now my whole family is together!  This is the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in years!” 


The End


Hope you all have a lovely and wonderful Mother’s Day, even if it has to be without the hugs and kisses this year.  We still know we’re loved!


      Please let me know what you think!