Harriman Nelson's Journal

Bike Week
The Creamsickle
The Invitation
Bike Week
The Java Connection
Lee's Tattoo
My Friend Lee-page 33
My Friend Lee-page 34
My Friend Lee-page 35
My Friend Lee-Page 36
My Friend Lee-page 37
My Friend Lee-page 38
My Friend Lee-page 39
My Friend Lee-page 40
My Friend Lee-page 41
My Friend Lee page 42
My Friend Lee-page 43
My Friend Lee -page 44
My Friend Lee-page 25
My Friend Lee-Page 26
My Friend Lee-Page 27
My Friend Lee-Page 28
My Friend Lee -page 29
My Friend Lee -page 30
My Friend Lee-page 31
My Friend Lee-page 32
My Friend Lee-page 24
My Friend Lee-page 23
My Friend Lee- page22
My Friend Lee-page 21
My Friend Lee-page 20
My Friend Lee- Page 19
My Friend Lee-page 18
My Friend Lee page 17
My Friend Lee-page 16
A Short Story
A 'Harry Halloween'
My Friend Lee-page 15
My Friend Lee-page 14
My Friend Lee-page 13
My Friend Lee-page 12
My Friend Lee-page 11
My Friend Lee-page 10
My Friend Lee-page 9
My Friend Lee-Page 8
My Friend Lee-page 7
My Friend Lee-page 6
My Friend Lee-Page 5
Life With Lee-page 4
Life with Lee- page 2
Life with Lee-page 3
Reflections-the 'In Between Years'
My photo-scrapbook album
About Me

“I’m sorry Admiral,” Coast Guard Lt. Connors replied to my rather hurried inquiry, still standing as per protocol, as Will Jamison and I removed our Navy issue raincoats at the Flotilla #44 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

“ Commander Crane is still aloft,” he continued, “ and  Commander Morton’s unavailable until his watch.  If it’s an emergency, though....” he turned toward the radio.

“That won’t be necessary,” I searched for someplace to sit, and found a rather Spartan sofa, “we’ll wait.”

“Aloft?” Jamie pondered, confused, “I didn’t see any helipad or airstrip.”

“We’re just an auxiliary branch, sir,” Connors explained, “we answer to  the Ponce De Leon division; that’s a little south of us. They’ve got the heavier equipment.  In fact, both the cutter that Commander Morton took out yesterday  and the Jayhawk that  Commander Crane is aboard  right now are both berthed there. He also put in a little time earlier this morning with an SPC-LE. That’s a Law Enforcement Special Purpose Craft...like those docked just over there," he pointed out the window at the small dock.

“Admiral Nelson knows what they are!” Doc said, irritated. I could only guess that having a junior officer ‘explain’ what  various classes of vessels the Navy and Coast Guard used was, in his mind, insulting. The fact is, though, I’d never heard of them, hadn’t recognized them for what they were,  or didn’t remember the memo. But Lee aboard a Law Enforcement craft? Now that sounded bad. Very bad.

“He’s been chasing down drug runners?” I had to ask.

“Called me at 0230 this morning. Said he’d gotten some good Intel while he was off duty, didn’t exactly reveal how or where, but he  insisted we go and ambush them at first light. I’m not sure Division Headquarters was all that impressed, but by the time we reported what we’d already done, they couldn’t exactly scold us for not waiting for a Special Ops, well, not much anyway. Commander Crane took full responsibility, and told Admiral Baker that as senior to me, that it was his decision and if we’d waited, we wouldn’t have been able to take one of the kingpins into custody. ”

“I bet the Admiral enjoyed being told off,” I said sarcastically.

“So was chopper duty later a punishment?” Doc asked.

“Heck no, Crane requested it! But word is, he sure got a tongue lashing. ”

“He um...wasn’t injured or anything?” Doc asked.

 “See for yourself....” Connors tuned the static wall monitor  on and tuned it to the interior of a helicopter. It was a bumpy flight, or more correctly, hover, as below the open hatch  a capsized boat was floundering in the heavy swells.

“The flight’s third  rescue this morning,” Connors sighed,  “I wish  boaters would take the small craft advisories seriously.”


 “My dog!  My dog...”the rescued boy wailed, wrapped in a blanket and with protective earphones,  huddled next to whom I assumed was his mother, likewise garbed.

“Cheech, give us a chance, kid,” one of the crew, a Master Chief, also sporting headphones (which I presumed must be standard equipment as everyone was wearing them),  muttered to no one in particular, “we’ve already tried to get the mutt a gazillion times.”

“Don’t worry,” a dripping wet Lee in a heavy one piece black wetsuit approached the boy, accepting and putting on a set of headphones from the chief, “ we never leave a man behind, even if it’s a dog.”

 “We understand if you...if you...can’t,” the woman said. “You’ve tried and tried....”

“Would I lie to you?” Crane said. “Besides, this is just another day to us...I forgot to ask the dog's name,” he patted the child’s shoulder.

“Skipper,” the boy said.

The entire crew laughed.

“What’s so funny?”

“Inside joke, kid,” the Chief said, “the Commander here’s actually the Captain of a submarine! Hey, I’m not joking. So he’s a ‘skipper’ too! Commander,” he returned his attention to Lee, “ the hoist is ready again. Even if Lt. Wixon,” he nodded to the cockpit, “is spitting tacks about us staying out much longer. He wants to get this wrapped up before that line of thunderstorms gets here. Looks like a bad one coming.”

The woman began to cry and hugged her son, “I’m sorry, baby, I’m sorry if they can’t save him...”

“We can,” Lee stressed, “and we will, right Master Chief?”

“Aye Aye, sir!”

Lee returned to the hatch, returned  the headphones to the chief, reattached his rescue gear for what was probably the umpteenth time, and gave a thumbs up with a huge grin. I couldn’t help thinking that despite the relative danger, Lee looked for all the world to me like a ten year old playing with a favorite toy. Then he jumped from the chopper into the churning seas below.  Okay, so they weren’t exactly churning. But I tend to be a bit anxious where Lee’s concerned. But in my own defense, the seas were bad enough to swamp your average cabin cruiser. So I felt   justified by my concerns.


For the next fifteen minutes or so, I resisted the urge to bite my fingernails, as I’d been told outright that there was a non- smoking policy inside the station,  so I couldn’t even calm my nerves with a little nicotine!


Lee was desperately trying to reach the panicked dog, which disappeared and reappeared from under the waves until it vanished and didn’t pop back up. Lee dove under and after what felt like a year, at least to me, emerged, only to take a breath then dove right back under. After two more unsuccessful attempts the pilot told the crew to signal Crane that the rest of the mission was a bust and get his bubblehead butt back to the rope. (His words, not mine.)


“One more time,” Lee responded to the through his throat mike, “I think I’ve got a chance now.” It was a lie of course. He didn’t have a chance in Hades of rescuing the kid’s dog. But if you don’t want to quit, one excuse is as good as another. I could almost hear the pilot cursing about submarine commanders in general.


Will surreptitiously  took my pulse after Lee ducked back under the waves and we waited. And waited. It looked as if the chopper’s mission might now be to rescue Lee!


But Lee, well, being Lee, surprised everyone by popping back up, the dog under his arm, and managing with some degree of difficulty  to grab the  rescue ring with his other arm. In  seconds the chopper began to reel him and his precious cargo up, swinging in the wind.


Just then we heard the god-awful racket of a motorcycle and saw just outside the window that it was an old fashioned bike with a sidecar. For a moment I thought it was Lee’s.


As the driver undid the tarp from the sidecar and took out a couple of rather crushed looking boxes, I recognized Lee’s friend and part time spook buddy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Jackson, my friend Admiral Jigg's Starke's aide. So that monstrosity he’d driven  was one of Lee’s bikes.


“Hey Connors, got something for you Lee said you'd appreciate...Admiral Nelson?” he acknowledged, surprised, as he entered and closed the door against the rain, depositing the boxes on  Connor’s desk,  “What are you doing here, sir? (I could tell by his tone that he wasn’t very pleased about it.) Hey, that’s Lee!”

“Skipper...Skipper...oh Skipper!” the boy was trying to hold on to his ecstatic dog,  which was shaking off its soaked fur getting water droplets over everything and everyone.

“Thank you,” the woman was saying reaching out to take Crane’s hand, “thank you all...”


“Can we go home now, Commander?” the Chief asked Crane wearily, as he handed Lee the headphones to protect his ears again and closed the hatch .

“What’s the matter Chief, it’s just a little wind and water,” he chuckled and bent down to pat the dog. “He’s a very brave dog. You must be very proud of him.”

“I think we’re prouder of you,” the woman said. “Of all of you brave, brave men.”

“Mom, Dad’s gonna’ be so pissed that the boat sank.”

 “I pretty much doubt that,” Lee said as he unzipped his one piece wetsuit and let the Chief help him out of it, revealing standard issue spandex swim trunks.( I couldn’t help noticing that Will’s eyes were searching for any signs of bruising or wounding.)  “As long as you’re both okay,” Lee said, “I’m sure that’s all that matters to him.”


“Commander,” the Chief said, as he helped Lee climb into a flight suit, “we got the all clear to return to base. Wixon says  you’re welcome to take another crack with the joystick if you’d like,” he nodded toward the cockpit. “
“I’d be honored. Not every day I get to copilot a Jayhawk.”

“Aye sir,” the Chief smiled as Lee went forward and out of sight. “Not every day we get to have the Captain of the Seaview prove he’s every bit a Coastie as we are, either,” the Chief added to himself.


“He’ll probably be returning here after his debrief, Admiral, ”Connors said as he tuned  the monitor off, “they’ll  probably bring him back on a UTB.’

Probably?” Will asked.

“Hey, it’s an uncertain world.”

“UTB?” I asked, knowing Will would want to throttle me for revealing my ignorance.

“Its’ a 41 foot utility cruiser, and considered a workhorse for moderate weather conditions, speed, and maneuverability.”

These are moderate weather conditions?” Joe asked as another wave of sideways rain pelted the windows.


“Cheech, I hope Lee’s got some Dramamine with him. Chip was miserable.”

“There’ a tire track on this box!” Connors complained as he opened the end of the box that wasn’t crushed.

“Sorry,” Joe said. “We were lucky to get them. Lee had a whale of a time convincing the police department to release them from the evidence locker. ”

“What?” I demanded, “then he was in that little altercation I heard about? Lee’s been in jail?”

“No, no, no sir,” Joe was quick to explain. “It’s just that when he saw all those boxes of doughnuts spilled all across the street from the accident...”

“Then it was his mangled bike we saw on TV,” Doc began. “Did the hospital release him or did he  just...leave?”

 “Admiral, Commander,  Lee’s fine...he wasn’t in any brawl and he wasn’t in any accident...besides those  reporters made things look worse than they were...”

“Then I don’t suppose you’d care to explain these?” I waved my hand over the doughnut boxes trying very hard to remain civil.

“Well,” Joe retrieved one,  “seeing all those boxes all over the road made him hungry for some. Now, he could have simply gone to one of the local doughnut shops, but he figured that the company would consider these damaged goods and he could get a real bargain, you know, free! So...since  he figured, and correctly as it turned out, that the  clean-up crew took all the boxes  to police headquarters for their accident investigation, he claimed that  instead of disposing of them, as they were going to do eventually, that  as long as the cellophane in the boxes was intact, that it would be more ecologically practical especially- since they’d already taken pictures of the accident scene- to let poor starving weekend wonders like us have a couple of the less damaged boxes.” Then he grinned, “didn’t  hurt that the Deputy Chief of Police on duty at the time was a woman. In fact, Lee’s  got a date with her tonight at the dirt track. She’s a biker too, apparently. So even if the race is called on account of mud if the rain doesn't stop, they’ll still have a lot in common to er...enjoy with each other.”

“I see,” I said wearily and sat back down after having paced during his explanation and rubbed my head. 

“Migraine sir?”Doc asked

 “Doughnuts will help. Only some of them were squished,” Joe said as Connors used a pen knife to slit the box open instead of having to struggle with it, and showed off 6 that were somewhat intact, the others a crushed mess at the other end.

“Might help that headache, sir,."

"They're fine, really,' Joe said. "Lee already scarfed down half of the other box  in  the same condition as this  one this morning. And you’ve all seen for yourself, he’s fine. I’m fine, Chip’s fine...”

“All right, all right...just don’t give us any with tire tread on it.” Doc joked.

 As Will, Joe, Connors and I consumed the assortment of relatively intact doughnuts and coffee, Joe took a breath and looked me in the eye.

“You know sir, If I didn’t know any better I’d swear you came here to check up on Lee.”

“Is that so?” Doc said snidely.

“And you know how much he hates being mother henned.”

“Oh he does, does he,”  I said, unintentionally spraying forth a few sprinkles.  I had to admit though, that my doughnut didn’t taste much like asphalt or burnt rubber. Well, not much anyway.

“He um...might not enjoy being distracted when it’s apparent to everyone that he’s having a great time...and you’ve always told him he needs a little R&R....”

“Serving time with the fine men and women of the Coast Guard is not R&R! He's doing his patriotic duty!”

“Easy, Admiral,” Jamie said... “he did look...happy...relaxed even...and...”

“I know, I know,” I admitted, “undamaged. Well, I can see our trip was unwarranted. Thank you for your hospitality Lt. Connors. I don’t suppose we can call for a cab...”

“No need,” Joe replied, “I’m headed to Embry Riddle to torment Air Force and Navy officer wannabies with my spiel about how officers need to do their duty, even from behind a desk....I can drop you off at Agent Catfish’s...that’s where you’re staying isn’t it?

“Um, we haven’t exactly called her yet...”

“I’m sure she’ll welcome you with open arms,” he made the call then turned to us sadly, “sorry, she’s...uh....”

“She’s rented out what spare bedrooms she has...you know, for a little extra cash? Most of the hotels are booked for Bike Week. But..er...you can always bunk with us. I’m sure the hotel won’t mind a couple more guests in the room. For a bit  extra,” he added quickly.

“I’m good for it, “I sighed. “I just don’t feel like a turnaround flight after we just got here,” I wearily explained to Will.

“Lee’s going to skin us alive!” Doc hissed,  “first for checking up on him,  then sharing his room!”

“Rooms,” Joe corrected, “since Chip joined us, we got two but they’re not on the same floor. You’ll have to toss I guess  about who’ll bunk with him, and who gets to sleep on the chair with Lee and me. Unless you don’t mind sharing one of the double beds with one of us. No, I can see that doesn’t appeal to either of you.”

“We’ll manage. After Lee kills us first, that is,” I said.

“Well, if we’re going, we’d better get going before the storm hits.  I can drop you off at the hotel before I have to teach  a seminar for  Navy and Air Force officer wannabes and Embry Riddle all about how duty behind a desk is just as important as in the field. But,” he spread his arms,” I’m not sure I believe it myself.... Now, who wants to ride pillion and who wants the sidecar...”



As the rain pelted my cover , I realized the sidecar was a better bargain. At least I had the benefit of the tarp which Joe had stretched and helped cover me and our duffels with. I’m afraid rank does indeed have its privileges. Doc sat astride the bike, his raincoat not doing a very good job of keeping him dry as we drove through the increasingly flooded roads.


It' wasn't long before we were checking into the hotel. As Joe escorted us to the elevator, I wasn’t sure if I should have pulled  rank and chosen to bunk with Morton. After all, I was the ranking officer. I should set an example of ‘any port in a storm.’ But when the clerk had said that there were no rollaway beds left, and the rooms didn’t have anything but straight back wooden chairs, well, I decided it would be far easier for Lee  or Joe to accept Will as one of their bunkmates.


And so, as we changed out of our sodden clothes (and shoes in the case of Will) in our two different rooms, having agreed to meet downstairs at the hotel’s beachside restaurant, I had to wonder if  the gift shop had any earplugs for sale. For rest assured, I knew I was surely going to need them when Lee arrived.


 I bought an extra pair for Will, too.