A Star is Born

Rowland was frustrated that initial reports had provided so very little detail, for he pained for the families of the missing men.

When word came at last, the news was very discouraging: “Biggest disaster in the history of American whaling!”  Forty ships had passed into the Chuchki Sea in the newly purchased Alaska Territory, when a freak weather event reversed the winds and pushed the ice pack back towards the east and crushed them in.

Louisa came in with a cup of tea and noticed the worried lines around her husband’s eyes.  “Millions of dollars in oil lost… thirty three ships trapped… only seven ships escaped…” he read out loud.  He continued running his finger down the column reading out the names of the lost.

“Oh, no…”

Louisa spoke up at his sudden silence, “What is it dear?”

Rowland noticed his wife sitting across from him for the first time.

Emily Morgan,” he announced sadly.

Louisa took her husband’s hand.  “Your old ship...  I’m sorry my dear, but you made the right choice to quit that business.  You’ll always have your little reminder though, won’t you?”

He looked down at the back of his hand and gave a slight smile.

“Providentially though, not a single man was lost.”

Rowland arose, kissed his wife tenderly on the cheek and said goodbye for the day.  He arrived a few minutes later at the front door of the dry goods store he’d opened in New York City exactly thirteen years earlier on October 28, 1858.  As the door closed behind him, he turned over the sign in the window on which was printed, “R H Macy’s: OPEN for Business.”

Below it was a big red star, matching the faded tattoo on the back of his hand he'd gotten as a New Bedford whale-man.


Prixie said...

Riveting, as always.

Oh and BTW, Once Upon A Time has started to air on satellite TV - I have set all the episodes to record. :) LOVE it!

cyurkanin said...

Thanks, Prixie! Glad to hear you'll finally get to see it. It starts out pretty slow but once you invest yourself, you'll be hooked! (Especially as you recognize all the LOST actors that continue to appear).

Enbrethiliel said...


The last story challenged me like a riddle, but this one demands "softer" reaction.

I sense a longing for the sea that never leaves an old sailor--a kind of sadness that follows him all his life, no matter how happy he still is.

Was "Star of the Sea" a working title for this one?

cyurkanin said...

Are you talking about me or Macy?! lol Star of the Sea would have been just as good a title too.

Enbrethiliel said...


Probably both. =) Knowing what I know of you, I don't think I could have had a different reaction to the three hundred words you gave Macy.

(Just occurred to me: I'd rather have three hundred words than fifteen minutes, any day.)

mrsdarwin said...

Excellent as always, Christopher.