Tale Tuesday: Canadians

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Yes, a new heading. Phil suggested that I try to write more so…

St. John's Frigate Image One
Photo Credit: Government of Canada

I lived in Virginia Beach for a year (July 2001 – July 2002) with my, then, Marine Corps husband. I don’t remember the exact date but, one evening, we happened to be wandering the streets of Norfolk, near Norfolk Harbor. We saw a neon sign in a window of a bar: O’Malley’s. The place was full of what appeared to be sailors but, they weren’t Americans. They were busy drinking and singing Irish drinking songs. The Marine and I did manage to find a couple of empty bar stools, way at the end of the bar, deep into the establishment. The Marine took the very last stool to my left and I tried to position myself into the remaining empty stool. It was a tight squeeze and I began to think to myself… “How in the hell am I going to get my big ass thru that narrow space to get onto that stool?” For the split-second pondering it took, the full-bearded gentleman to my right, turned to me and said “Do you not want to sit next to me for some reason? I know I look rough but…” I immediately jumped in to reassure him that, that was not the case and shared my “OMG, I won’t fit…” fears, out loud, right there in front of God and everybody. He threw his head back and roared. “Have a seat, my dear…and, have drink.” He turned out to be the COTB (Chief of the Boat) of the Canadian Frigate HMCS St. John’s, that was in Norfolk for degaussing. It was a fun evening and that COTB invited us to tour the ship the next day.

Emblem Image Two
Image Credit: Canadian Government

We arrived around 4:00pm and I noticed that a Canadian Frigate really stands out next to American Navy vessels. It’s an odd green color, next to the blue of the American ships and I was told that it doesn’t have any right angles on it. We boarded the ship and asked for the Chief. They retrieved him and he rolled out looking like he’d been on a three day drunk. He was clearly hung over. He called for a much younger seaman to give us the tour of the ship and joined us later.

One neat thing aboard a Canadian vessel is…the bar. They had a beautiful, stained wooden bar and, a full stock of beer and wine. They also had a few women on board, which I found odd, even though women were allowed on board American war ships, beginning in 1994. It was still a rare sight back then.

We were invited to stay for dinner. It was a simple meal for sailing men but, I’m pretty sure that, not many people can say that they dined with the entire crew of a Canadian Frigate…and not been a crew member. It was really cool. I wish I could remember the name of that COTB. He offered me a St. John’s sweatshirt and I declined because I didn’t have any money. I intended to return to the ship with money but, we never made it back. That would have been a cool souvenir.

HMCS St. John’s (Facebook)
HMCS St. John’s (FFH-340) (Military History Fandom)
HMCS St. John’s (Wikipedia)

9 thoughts on “Tale Tuesday: Canadians

    Phil Strawn said:
    January 26, 2022 at 5:13 AM

    Nice story. I lived in Virginia Beach for about a year back in the 90s. I did a project on the base remodeling the enlisted men’s club into a sports bar and restaurant. Nice place to be.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 26, 2022 at 2:17 PM

      My ex-Marine mentioned that bar. He said it was a cool place. Considering that he, nearly single-handedly, remodeled our home in Round Rock, he really liked that sports bar. He retired as a Master Sargeant in 2006 & we split in 2011.

    bayphotosbydonna said:
    January 26, 2022 at 8:27 PM

    Very cool story, Vic!

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 26, 2022 at 11:06 PM

      Thanks! It was a lot of fun. I found the newest crew aboard that ship on Facebook. I have requested someone find the COTB from 2001-2002. I might find out who he was (I knew at one time but, lost his email). We shall see…

    […] previous Tale of the Canadians took place a few months before my move with the Marine to Texas. We arrived in July 2002 and, by […]

    KenshoHomestead said:
    January 30, 2022 at 1:45 PM

    Good story! I agree with your friend, you should write more. 🙂 I got a private tour of the USS Saratoga off the coast of Marseille in the early 90s, a spontaneous offer from a random sailor and I was reluctant, but it was so cool, ended up being the highlight of my trip.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 30, 2022 at 2:13 PM

      That IS cool! Not just the tour but, being in France. Was that sailor cute?

      Yeah. Phil is a writer. He mentioned in a comment on his blog that I needed to write more. I think he was referring to my long-winded comments. 😆

      He is in Texas, too…Granbury. He is a former musician and tells funny stories. Hit the link in my post. Talk to him.

        KenshoHomestead said:
        January 30, 2022 at 4:43 PM

        OK. Just cute enough to dispel my fears of being a lone female on a military ship, and my severe claustrophobia, and my aborted agenda to spend the day filing about the art museums and wine bars. 😉

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