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Posted by Alexander from ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 at 10:05PM :

They called it 'Big Mac.' The ship that could not be sunk. Off the coast of Cuba, my grandfater told me how it ravaged the seaside, and ship after ship did it defeat in battle. Until one day, as others and my grandfather as well watched eight US ships encircle the Big Mac in the harbor. It was trapped, and it put up a long fight against eight enemy ships. But in the end, the other ships won. Big Mac burned and burned, for hours, while Cubans watched. Turks, Spaniards, Negros, Portuguese, all looked onward as the burning ship succumbed to its enemies. Hours passed and it was finally over. The infamous Big Mac was finally defeated, the show was over, and everyone carried on their usual business. But it was a spectacle to be recounted in conversations casually from time to time.

When my great-grandfather was living in Cuba, he would work on ships travelling all over the world, but mostly the ships travelled to Spain and back, bringing supplies and exporting them. During the war, he had to work in hostile waters, prey to any German submarines and warships. Thrice did he get bombed out of the water. Thrice did he vow never to return to that line of work.
The torpedo hit the hull, and an exlosion so great ensued that he was thrown from one end of the loading bay on the ship to the other end. After about six months, he ventured out to see again, and a few months after, he again was treading water while his ship caught fire and sank.
The third attack however was harshest. He was knocked unconcious by it, and it was his friend who saved him aboard the raft. After the last one, he said he would not go back to work there again even if he starved to death. On the hospital bed, he woke from the anesthesia. He had part of his stomach removed, along with parts of some other organs. He was a man who loved to eat, and even though he was not supposed to eat anything after the surgery, the nurse gave him a big meal to consume, and how could he resist? He ate it, and went into some sort of shock or something, I do not know for sure, but they had to do surgery again, and after that, he was never the same. He was very much disabled by the three torpedo attacks and his massive surgeries.

In the village where my family resided, there would come some Turkish vendors, selling clothes they had made. These Turks had come from Spain, and were settled in Cuba now for some number of years. They had their own quarters in Cuba, their own villages, and their professions were usually craftsmanship of boating. When a shirt was needed, or a new pair of pants, my family would let the Turkish vendors know a week in advance, and pay them a small downpayment. At the end of the week, in the morning, the vendors would come around and collect the rest of the money, handing over their merchandise. And it was always good quality.

-- Alexander
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