Welcome to Redkin, Indiana. It was where I called home for the first part of my life. It is just a small little spot on the map, one that if you weren’t looking for it you would drive right past it. Farming community of about four hundred people, who worked, went to church, and whose kids went to a school that had all of three rooms.
There wasn’t much fun to be had in Redkin. It meant the occasional movie, maybe riding in car, or hanging out at the local diner. However, I was the odd one in town among the younger guys, looking for a job while they wanted to have fun. Even when I did occasionally hang it we didn’t have much in common. While most talked of farming, or going to Indianapolis to work on cars or maybe even finding work in the city, my desire lay elsewhere.
My whole life I had been spent dreaming of something different. I dreamed of a blue ocean, sand, smaller farms, and more people. Chances for something outside this place haunted my dreams. Each night I dreamt of the sea. I drove my teachers’ nuts asking about the sea, learning what I could of fish and the creatures of the deep. From first grade on my room was done in tones of blue, book shelves full of creatures of the sea, and every project that I could for school dealt with the sea in some way.
“Mason, you really need a different hobby. We don’t live near the ocean, boy.”
I’d heard my father make that complaint more times than there are stars in the sky but I wasn’t interested in the same things as my classmates.
Most of my classmates worried about fixing tractors, growth schedules, and when they might escapte to Indianapolis. Some wanted to know about restaurants or even a few about fashion, but the call of the sea constantly drew me on. I’d never been near the sea, seen it, or smelled it but I wanted to be there.
By the time I was sixteen my room was filled with dvds on fish, ocean living, and maps of the east coast of the United States. I’d been asked if I wanted to go to California or maybe Washington but the draw was to the east coast and, even then, to the north. My parents were worried by what this constant attraction to the sea was. They were just grateful my younger siblings didn’t seem to have the same interests.
By the time I had turned seventeen my parents were afraid I was running away to New York City. For them it was a horrible place but the city wasn’t where I wanted to be. Then they feared it would be Boston. I wasn’t sure where I would be living but I knew it was somewhere near the water. Each day the desire to be near the sea grew and yet I couldn’t ever seem to find the words to explain why.
A month before I graduated from school my parents learned that I wasn’t like most other teenagers. They kept waiting for me to buy a car, bring home a girlfriend, or perhaps even a boyfriend. Instead I worked like a fiend and every dime went into my bank account. With each passing year the desire to be near the sea grew exponentially. It was then that my parents realized they would lose me from the farm to the sea. There was little they could do as they found out just how industrious I could really be. My father had come across my savings book and learned that every penny went into the bank. When my parents asked what I planned to do with all my money, my answer was simple.
“Well Mom and Dad, I am going where I have always dreamed. I am going to live near the sea.”
My parents were worried. Actually, if I am going to be honest they were petrified that I was running to be with someone they hadn’t met. They made me promise to help them by staying one last summer at the farm. It nearly killed me but I made the deal to stay till the middle of September.
“Your mother and I have talked it over, Mason. As long as you still want to do this come the end of summer, we won’t stand in your way.”
So, I promised my father the summer after graduation. I stayed and helped out as I could on the farm, doing the chores I had done since I was old enough to walk into the fields. I weeded, watered, dug, planted, harvested, and kept the farm going. I worked in town in the evenings, exhausted as I was, taking every dime and adding it to the growing pile of money I had. The desire to go east became harder and harder to ignore. Sometimes if felt like my heart would rip out of my body and fly there without me.
The last day of August came and went, and my parents tried to persuade me to stay. Dad said it would soon be harvesting time and he would need my help because my brother and sister were still too young. My mother began inviting over every single boy and girl from my class hoping I would fall for anyone and I would stay. The fifteenth of September took forever to arrive, but on that day, I was up before my father, ate a light breakfast, packed everything I planned to take into a knapsack and headed for the road without stopping to say goodbye to anyone. I knew if I did I would have to listen to their pleas to stay and I knew I had to go now. I’d removed all the money I’d saved since I was five from the bank the day before. It is amazing what you can amass over a number of years. Between three jobs after school, birthday and Christmas money, and every dime my parents ever gave me for an allowance, I had over nine thousand dollars. Not bad for a kid who never had a full time job.
I headed to the local train station that would drop me off in Indianapolis. I studied the maps and while I did I ran names of various cities through my mind. From Atlantic City to New York City, from Boston to Bar Harbor, I just kept looking at ways the trains connected to these cities by the water. However almost by accident I glanced at a map of Long Island and seen the names Jamesport. Suddenly I knew where I had to go.
Anyone who says train travel is easy is a liar. I transferred trains so many times. Once I got to New York City I had to find my way to the Long Island Rail Road. Then find a way out to Jamesport. When I finally got there after two days of travel I was drained, but exhilarated too.
Still the sea called to me. I had seen it out of train windows but now that I was free I walked to water’s edge, then out onto a dock and sat down. The sea rose and fell in little waves making me relax. As I had walked I passed vineyards and farms, a small town that in some ways reminded me of home, but there were more cars than I had ever seen passing through this small area.
As I stood I still felt the draw east so I walked till finally I found a small restaurant. I was drawn to it as I came down the beach. I hadn’t even reached the door when it opened and an old woman stepped out smiling.
“Hello to you too. It seems you have come a long ways to get here.”
Her voice had been soft but seemed to somehow roll like the ocean, pulling you in and rocking you. I stood and shyly smiled at her before speaking.
“Yes, you can say that.”
“It is what happens with dreams, but at least you followed yours.”
I had been looking at the ground feeling sort of foolish, but her comment got my full attention.
She looked me over and laughed out loud.
“Don’t worry boy, your dreams only get better from here.”
So I’d finally found a place where I no longer felt the pull on my soul and my life was only now beginning.
So that is my story of the call of the sea. Mason was drawn from his home in Indiana to the small sea side town of Jamesport. What his life holds for him now is unknown, but hopefully it got your attention. If you liked my little tale feel free to click like. Comments on any story are always welcomed.