The Marina Dock Newsletter MAY 2005
Dear Marina Dock Members
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.
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."
THE ORIGINS OF THE
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
RELENTLESS IN THE
PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE
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.
GRATEFUL IN SAN DIEGO
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.
LET'S PLAY BALL
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,
Anthony T. Murray