Friday, September 14, 2012
Ships passing in the night
It was thrilling last night down at the waterfront because the Brig Niagara was there. That is what it was called, the Brig Niagara! Usually it is in Erie. That is what one history nerd told us. But today it was in Buffalo.
The Brig Niagara, pictured above, was from the War of 1812!
Imagine it surviving all these years. It is here for just a couple of days and it is being celebrated.
The whole waterfront was alive. People from all walks of life were walking everywhere and reading posters and asking questions.
And in the middle was this sweet little ship, with sails that smelled musty, like the inside of an old house. This being Buffalo there was a private party going on so you could not get on the ship. But you sure could smell it, that centuries-old smell.
My friend Michelle from work and I were walking around agog. When we finally started walking away, the wildest thing happened.
We heard this giant, loud foghorn!
The kind of noise that cannot be ignored!
We turned around and what did we see but this gigantic freighter heading out of the Buffalo River, honking its horn.
Hahahaa! Get out of my way!
The freighter was the Cuyahoga.
I have never seen it before. Not that it cared. It was all lit up, the length of multiple football fields, heading out onto the Great Lakes. The Cuyahoga is a Canadian freighter, the second-oldest in Canada. It was built in 1943. The year Leonard Pennario made his debut with the New York Philharmonic!
The above picture was snapped by a friend of a Facebook friend who was also there last night. I took pictures with my phone but I cannot figure out right now how to import them. Perhaps tomorrow.
Anyway, it was just too funny. This delicate fragile old ship from 1812 sitting in the harbor, and here comes this massive ship, the Cuyahoga, blowing its horn.
It had to leave now, you know? It could not wait.
In a way, being built in 1943, the Cuyahoga was historic too. And all the people lined up on the shore admiring the brig Niagara began admiring the old freighter, too, as it steamed forward, just doing its job, bathed in lights, brimming with power and presence.
But still you had to laugh at the possibility for disaster.
You could just picture it crashing into the Brig Niagara!
If this were a Richard Scarry story ...
... that is what would have happened. The captain of the Cuyahoga -- he would be a dog, or a pig -- would be having a beer or something and.... Crash!! Oh, dear!!!
Later everyone would be saying, "That poor Brig Niagara, it survived all these years.
"And then we brought it to Buffalo...."