It's always odd when you look out your window and discover connections, sometimes in the strangest ways. I was meeting some friends for lunch in the little town of Depoe Bay here on the Oregon Coast. For reasons that still elude me, we were meeting on Memorial Day; not just the weekend, but the day itself.
Perhaps something needs to be said here about the central Oregon coast. It's lovely. At least it is when we aren't getting our requisite 85 inches of rain a year or the chill summer fog hasn't rolled in because they're having a heat wave on the other side of the Coast Range.
|Low tide beach being lovely. (It's only a little bit smug about it.)|
So, when a weekend occurs, especially a holiday weekend, locals do not leave their homes. We hunker down and hide until the crowds depart. These little towns' populations expand five to ten-fold in a matter of hours on Friday afternoons and when they empty, the sole coastal highway is, well, not lovely.
Yet somehow we were at this restaurant in Depoe Bay rubbing shoulders with many, many tourists, and this surprising thing occurred. We knew it was going to happen, which was another reason that I had argued to avoid this day, but after days of being grumpy about it, I was quite touched.
Depoe Bay has a fishing fleet, a very small one, but then its a very small town so you wouldn't be surprised. Do you remember the fishing trip from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Yep, Depoe Bay. Didn't register even if you saw the movie? Yep, the town is that small.
But once a year on Memorial Day the local fishing fleet is decorated with thousands upon thousands of flowers. The National Anthem is sung, the fleet is blessed, and then they proceed to a spot a mile offshore where two fisherman died almost eighty years ago while trying to save another. The boats circle up, and a Coast Guard helicopter flies in low to drop a wreath (I just missed it in the photo, sorry).
|The Depoe Bay fishing fleet circled up.|
They are there to remember all those who died at sea and during the war.
As a writer of military romantic suspense, I have learned a great deal about those who serve, the choices they make, and those who don't return. What could have been such a touristy moment was actually deeply moving and our table took a moment to add to the prayers for the safety of the afloat and afar.
I can only wish the same for you and yours.
M. L. Buchman has over 35 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.
In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.