Saturday, June 3, 2023

“All I Needed Was the Girl” by Brian Lintner


Lessons were three times a week, 1900 – 2100 hours, after the galley-chow in the mess. Being at sea is busy – stalking, protecting, resupplying other warship vessels. Our empty hangar deck normally held two Sea King helicopters, but they had been grounded, again, in a state of perpetual repair. Our mission was submarine hunting. Yet, there were lags in operations. Long lags.

Our XO (Executive Officer) wanted to break the monotony of routine. Plus, he was preparing for his daughter’s wedding, his dance with the bride, and a celebration of families. He did not know any ah-one step, ah-two steps. He knew no steps, except how to march steps.

The Chief of the Boat, the Coxswain, was from a prairie oasis, where youthful Friday night dances taught him how to swing, jive, Lindy hop, and most importantly, how to waltz. His job included morale. During low-tempo lulls, the hangar was transformed into a dance studio. Equipment was cleared to the fringe, music piped in from the bridge. The Chief led. Men took their partners – other men. The XO danced with everyone. I danced with everyone.

We all learned ah-one step, ah-two steps, how to waltz steps.

After our six-month deployment and having returned home, all I needed was the girl.


Brian Lintner is a veteran and former corporate guy who loves good stories and word salads. He and his tolerant wife of 37 years have dragged their kids around Canada and overseas, and now live somewhere in the armpit of the Golden Horseshoe. When not writing, he is known to paint, and continues to pluck away at his ukulele, or occasionally babysit the grandkids.

See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here.

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