Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 169: Family Vacation, Part 2--Let There Be Pirates

          "...which was located just behind the fuel stores, which caught fire and helped sink the ship in minutes. Oh, and there's a legend behind the oil leakage that says it'll stop when the last crewmember dies."
          Ma peered over the railing at the remains of the Arizona. "You need to read some books that aren't World War Two related for once. But thanks for the details."
          "What we need to do is see if the sub tours have a place for us," I suggested, accepting the underhanded compliment that I'd memorized the entire library collection of WWII books by the tender age of fourteen. "By the way, can we get a periscope for the treehouse?"
          "No," Dad said, putting a hand on my shoulder and steering me back towards the exit. "And we can't do both the submarine and the battleship. The girls want to see the Dole Plantation."
          I glanced up (in time to see him roll his eyes) and giggled. "We could stay behind?" I suggested.
          "It's a family vacation," Quill said huffily, wandering over. "You're obsessed with Pearl Harbor, so it's only fair that we get to do something fun too!"
          "Besides, I hear they let you taste the fruit!" Mom pointed out.
          I sighed. "I'd rather fly a simulator."
          A few minutes later, we were back on land, and a few minutes after that, we were boarding the Missouri. Squirrel gazed in awe at the massive guns. "Those are big!"
          "Well, they are sixteen-inch guns," I felt constrained to point out. "Too bad they don't fire anymore."
          Quill held her hands out, gauging distances. "I think those are bigger than sixteen inches. Are you talking about the machine guns?"
          "Diameter, sweetie, not length," Dad informed her. "Now, let's be quiet and polite during the tour, okay?"
          "I could just tell you everything," I suggested, desiring to run free aboard the massive battleship (which is just as much of a terrible idea now as it was back then).
          Mom looked amused. "I don't think you know everything."
          I shrugged, a little boastfully. "Most of it. Did you know that the big guns could fire a two thousand and seven hundred pound shell twenty miles?"
          "Good to know," Ma said absently as she and Dad greeted the tour guide.
          Nemesis sidled up to me. "What about the small guns?"
          "Five inches, ten miles," I said promptly. "There's twenty of those."
          We started the tour after a few other people joining our group. I poked Ma when the tour guide informed everyone that the 16" guns could throw a 2700-pound shell over twenty miles. She gave me a look.
          The tour continued. We were shown the bridge, the engine room (which Dad and I really enjoyed--we actually pulled away from the main group to discuss the eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers and the propulsion system without disturbing anyone in the group. Ma was forced to come get us when the group began departing, since we didn't notice), crew quarters, and finally the area where the Japanese officially surrendered after WWII.
          "Bet you didn't know that," Mom suggested on our way to the foredeck. "Isn't that interesting?"
          "September 2nd, 1945," I said absently, running a hand along the railing and trying to figure out how long it would take to restart the ship after its long retirement. "General McArthur presided, if I remember correctly."
          Mom sighed and gave up. I dropped back to Nemesis. "Hey, know what we should do when we grow up?"
          "Come back to Hawaii?"
          I waved my hand dismissively. "That's a given. No, become pirates!"
          Quill joined us. "Yeah, we could rule the ocean!"
          "We just need this ship." I guestured at the Missouri, grinning.
          That got both of them into the spirit of things. "Yeah! We could fix it up!" Nemesis said, grinning.
          "And sail it right out of the harbor!" I added.
          Quill grinned. "We just need a crew. How about Scholar?" she suggested, naming her best friend.
          "Only if I get to bring Sargent and the twins," I conceded.
          "And I get Goose and those guys," Nemesis interjected.
          "We might need a few more guys," I added, stopping next to a small machine gun and grabbing the grips. Swinging it up, I opened fire vocally on imaginary aircraft.
          "We can just stop by Tortuga," Quill joked, referencing one of our favorite movies. Pirates of the Caribbean was a definite staple in the Midway household.
          "Can I try?" Nemesis asked, indicating the gun.
          I relinquished the gun.
          A few minutes later, we were still plotting when Dad came looking for us. "Hey, be careful with that."
          Quill let go, a little guiltily. "Sorry."
          "I think they put that there for people to play with, but you don't want to break it. You know what they say," Dad warned us.
          Nemesis frowned. "What's that?"
          "You break it, you buy it."
          "Deal," I announced and lunged forward.
          Dad snagged me by the collar of my shirt. "You don't have enough money. Trust me."
          "It's okay. We're pirates," I informed him.
          "Sure you are. Come on, let's go," Dad said, and ushered me back towards the group. My other siblings followed.
          "Can we go in the simulator?" I asked, pointing with some difficulty at the small building on shore.
          "Ask your mother," Dad deferred judgement.
          Mom grudgingly agreed, already acknowledging the futility of getting to the plantation that day. Nemesis and I spend a very enjoyable time in the simulator--we couldn't fly it (it was more like a movie), but the swooping and banking of the room was incredibly fun.
          Dad and Mom probably got a little annoyed with us over dinner, since we wouldn't shut up about the idea of being pirates. And, to be fair...that option still isn't entirely off the table.
          No, I didn't grow up. Why do you ask?