Sitting in History

So, last weekend, we took advantage of some friends’ offer to go east of the mountains and enjoy a socially distant visit to their Moses Lake cabin. This manufactured home with a massive deck right on the west shore of the Lake was an extremely welcome getaway.

By the way, for the record, Moses never visited Moses Lake. I had a friend ask if we got any new commandments when we were there, and I said, “No, but we could probably use a few.”

Anyway, back to this final weekend of spring burst of summer, with 90-degrees waiting for us. Their massive deck was the perfect spot to sit apart from each other and get caught up. At one point, our friend Ed suggested I try one of the wooden lounge chairs at the far end of their deck. It was something one of his sons tracked down last year. In fact, there were a set of two–faded teak wood deck chairs, as if on a cruise ship.

In fact, they were. There were two metal plaques on the chairs. One that let you know these were meant for first class.

Finally, I’ve made it!

The other plaque told me which ship it came from–the S.S. Bremen.

The S.S. Bremen was a luxury cruise ship made in a German shipyard that sailed the seas in the days before World War II.

Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about her:

SS Bremen was a German-built ocean liner constructed for the Norddeutscher Lloyd line (NDL) to work the transatlantic sea route. Bremen was notable for her bulbous bow construction, high-speed engines, and low, streamlined profile. At the time of her construction, she and her sister ship Europa were the two most advanced high-speed steam turbine ocean liners of their day. The German pair sparked an international competition in the building of large, fast, luxurious ocean liners that were national symbols and points of prestige during the pre-war years of the 1930s.

But as the clouds of war began to form, the ships were taken out of the cruise service and in fact, were actually used to put German soldiers in place for an invasion of England that never happened.

As World War II raged on, the need for munitions mean they would be more valuable torn apart for their metal. How these chairs survived over 90 years was a testament to the quality of their construction.

As I sat there relaxing, I pictured myself in the First Class section in the days when it was a luxury cruise ship, relaxing, enjoying the view and waiting for the server to bring me a cold beverage, which never happened.

I did spend the bulk of my deck time in one of those chairs, taking myself on mental vacations for as long as the quiet would last. Then, when the others at the other end of the deck started talking, I’d yell out, “Hey, you people in coach, keep it down.”

I’m not sure what came over me, but I simply fell in love with those chairs. How fortunate that their son was able to find these out there, somewhere and if they could talk, oh, what stories they would be able to tell.

For a while, I was sitting in history.

The weekend ended. I bid farewell to these chairs who continue to enjoy the view of Moses Lake. One day, when chairs are able to talk, we’ll have to get back together again so I can hear all of their stories.

I’ll bet they have some good ones.

Tim Hunter

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