Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter MAY 2005

Dear Marina Dock Members and Patrons,

I want to thank everyone who sent us a donation in April, as well as all the people who volunteer their time and energy around the facility everyday. It cannot be expressed often enough how much it all means to the many individuals who depend on The Marina Dock, to be there for them, when they need it. I know it's something a lot of us take for granted, but this operation involves a huge time commitment and effort from a number of dedicated individuals who believe in what we are doing, and how we do it. It's important to know that without the consistent financial support of all these people and everyone else, we would not be in business.


It's hard to believe we are already into May, one of my favorite months. This month conjures up all kinds of happy childhood memories, of summers long ago - long summer nights spent on the Commons of Duleek. Once May arrived, it signaled the end of another long wet and dreary Northern European winter, which consisted of a few hours of daylight and perennial darkness. Winters were spent sitting around open fireplaces drinking tea, listening to the rain, and trudging over three miles (Irish miles) to school everyday. After school I spent most of my time swapping comics and occasionally reading an inspirational book. Comics like Kit Carson, Buck Jones, Wild Bill Hickok, and The Cisco Kid were popular at the time. We also traded books like Ivanhoe, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Reign of Terror which were considered highbrow. Anything but homework, which was to be avoided at all cost.


At that time what was referred to as "exercise" was one of my earliest resentments, especially geometry. I hated isosceles triangles and parallelograms. I was however, lucky, to have an older brother who was extremely gifted, but stingy, and would only help me after hours of groveling. School ended around the end of May and resumed in early September, but once we reached May 1st, we had already lost interest in scholarly pursuits. The 1st day of May was one of the most exciting days in every Irish school kid's calendar year, for this was a festive day of bonfires, Maypoles and May-Queens. For several days before the 1st of May we spent all our evenings hauling 'Yellow Furze" from the nearby fields, and gathering up old tires from around the local dump for the "May-Fire". One of the local girls would be selected as May Queen. She

would be all dressed up in her confirmation outfit and sit at the base of the Maypole which was a tall cherry tree, in bloom, that we had festooned with garlands for the occasion. The idea was to have the biggest bonfire and the best dressed May-Queen in the Parish. The height of the flames and the plumes of black smoke generated by the bonfire measured success. The festivities reached a crescendo when we all joined hands in merriment, circling and singing around the Maypole to our newly elected Queen.

"Here we go gathering nuts in May,
Nuts in May, nuts in May,
Here we go gathering nuts in May,
On a cold and frosty morning."


May Day has long been associated with spring festivals and coincides with the Celtic Celebration of Beltane (the name having been derived from the goddess Belenus). In more recent time, of course, it has developed a second association as a day of celebration for the Labor Movement. Beltane is one of the ancient pre-Christian fire festivals, which includes Midsummer, Halloween, and Midwinter - now translated into Christmas. It was usually a 3-day festival, which ended on May 1st with general festivities and merrymaking. The focus of the rites was to ensure fertility for the coming year - the Maypole being a rather obvious fertility symbol. Young couples would sleep outdoors to celebrate the "Great Rite", a practice which was, not surprisingly, made illegal in Oliver Cromwell's puritan England of 1644. This, by the way, is the same Cromwell, who visited Drogheda in 1649, a town on the mouth of the river Boyne, 5 miles east of Duleek. After several days of bloodletting Cromwell announced, "This is a righteous judgment of god upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood...." This guy was so despised that he was exhumed in 1661 and posthumously executed. It is interesting that we were still engaging in rituals and defying the Puritans and Parliamentarians in 1961, exactly 300 years after Cromwell died. History, according to the Irish writer James Joyce, "is a shout in the street". It's also, in many ways similar to alcoholism, "cunning, baffling, powerful" and very, very patient.


My friend Bill H was just released from the hospital last Friday, April 22nd and is now recuperating from surgery at his home in the South Bay. Bill and Frank B were close friends. Like Frank, Bill served in the First Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater 1944-1945, and saw action in the brutal battles of Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, Bill returned to San Francisco where he first met Frank in 1954, at the old Seven Seas Club, 9 Mission Street. At that time the Seven Seas Club was the place to go to get sober. Frank ran a very tight ship and there are many stories about the various methods employed by Frank to carry "the A.A. message." Bill told me one story about Frank asking him over to his apartment on Potrero Hill where he appeared to be having problems with his bed. When Bill arrived, he noticed one corner of the bed had collapsed and a round box of oatmeal had crushed beneath it, spilling oatmeal all over the floor. Frank sheepishly admitted he tried to prop up that corner of the bed, with a box of oatmeal. Franks wife, Barbara, (now deceased) who, by this time, knew Frank long enough not to be surprised by Frank's attempts at ingenuity, rolled her eyes and looked towards the heavens. Frank looked at Bill, hands outstretched in a classic "What do I do now?" Brennan gesture, hoping Bill would get him of the hook. Bill surveyed the scene, and when he had carefully measured Frank's level of frustration, decided it was safe to say something funny without losing his life. Bill quipped, "Gee Frank, maybe you should have used Cream of Wheat instead." Bill has a multitude of B stories, and I definitely hope to hear more. Bill, who has been carrying the message since September 1, 1960, is a great storyteller, an indomitable spirit, and a wonderful human being.


As you can see our Newsletter format has changed, and everyone seems to like it. I am very fortunate to have the assistance of an editor, from a reputable publishing company based in the Oakland Hills called "Red Buttons, Inc."

Last month we got quite a few compliments on the format as well as the content. Perhaps we should come up with a new catchy name for the newsletter? I thought "The Marina Driangle" was clever, but we are open to suggestions. While we are on this topic, we are interested in anyone with a story or a testimonial - stories about A.A old-timers, "The Dry Dock, the early years" would be good. I have many Dry Dock moments, but no one would believe me.


This month we installed a literature rack in the West Room for all the groups that meet there. We are planning to refinish, soundproof and install new hinges and door knobs on all the meeting room doors. Within the next couple of weeks we will do a thorough Spring cleaning of carpets, window shades, and bookshelves. We also plan to paint the bathrooms and do some bathroom repairs. I have also discussed with our newly appointed interior decorator plans to install a better garbage disposal and recycling set-up outside the East Room door. All of these projects, of course, involve greenbacks, so a gesture of magnanimity at this time would be more than welcome.
We are doing everything possible to streamline and improve our services without any additional cost to our members and patrons. In the last six months we have spent a considerable amount on improvements and services. We pride ourselves on being "a dollar-a-day" operation, or $30.00 a month for membership.


Dear Marina Dock Folks,
I sure appreciate and enjoy your newsletters. I will never forget my gratitude for you and your special place. A weekend visit turned into a choice about my sobriety. I chose sobriety and I thank God for your meeting place and your wonderful fellowship there. Keep up the good fight.
Carolyn R., San Diego, April 11, 2005.


The Secretary's Workshop will be held on Wednesday, May 11th at 6:45 PM, in the West Room. This Workshop is vital for anyone interested in A.A. Services and Traditions, especially those who are new in the program and have a service commitment. While we are on this topic, we have enlarged the sign on the Secretary's desk in the East Room, which specifies the rent for all A.A. meetings held therein.


Given that it's May and Memorial Day and my birthday are both on the same weekend, I will throw a party and see if anyone shows up? Saturday, May 28th, 8:00 PM will be the day.

Until next time, the Solution Is Love,

With Gratitude,

Anthony T. Murray "Irish Tony"


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