The Story of Burt Cottage - Part 3, Raylynn Griffith

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Her name is Raylynn Griffith. She just barely remembers her father. She remembers him as a sweet man who used to take her on his knee and tell her the meanings of words. Big words, small words, words used only by people with acute cases of psoriasis. He told her them all.

Then one day he was gone.

She cried and cried but her mother told her it was all right, Daddy would be back. He was just going to be gone for the summer. So she spent the summer learning how to swim (and being afraid of the dam) so the next time her father went to the South Seas, she could go with him.

But he never came back.

As the years went by, Raylynn always wondered about her father. Had he perished there in the South Seas? Had something happened to him that made him lose his memory? She was certain that he would have come back to her if he could. So where had he gone?

Raylynn's mother eventually came to accept the fact that her husband must be dead. She had him declared legally so and remarried and, as much as one could, got on with her life. Not so with Raylynn. She had a feeling deep inside--even on the days she hadn't eaten Mexican food--and that feeling told her that her father was still alive out there … somewhere.

So as she grew up, she read all the books she could about the South Seas. This required frequent bus trips to Abilene as the only two books about the South Seas she could find in Cisco had both already been colored in long before.

After she graduated from high school, Raylynn tried to ship out with the merchant marines, only to find they didn't take women. So she hooked up with a fishing boat that trawled the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for shrimp. Two seasons with them had taught her all she needed to know about piloting her own craft and self-defense. So she hitchhiked across the southern United States to San Diego. There, she bought a small boat, hired a crew of two, and set sail for the South Seas to find her father.

Six months later, her money was gone, her crew had deserted her, and she had heard nothing about her father other than one rumor that he had indeed come to the islands twenty years before. If Gruffudd Griffith really were still alive, and in the South Seas, she had no idea where to find him.
With a heavy heart, then, she stocked her boat one last time and pointed her east, intending to return to the States. She hoped to sell her boat and use the money to go to college. It was her determination to be like her mother and declare her father dead.

Alone in the middle of the South Pacific, a storm came up out of no where and it was all she could do batten down the hatches before the worst of it hit. Lashing herself to the mast so as not to be swept overboard, she prayed for deliverance. Seconds later, a giant wave hit her boat, snapped the mast, and capsized the ship. Flailing about, she was able to disentangle herself from the mast and then hang onto it as if to a life preserver.

Tossed about amidst the wreckage of her boat and, it seemed, her life, Raylynn figured she was looking at the end. Hundreds of miles from land, her ship wrecked and the chances of finding her food stores getting slimmer all the time. Raylynn did the only thing she could think of to do in such a situation, she prayed.

Hour after hour, she clung to the stump of the mast and, when the storm finally subsided, she found herself all alone. No sign of her ship, her supplies or anything was in sight. She was thirsty and hungry and she wondered which would kill her first—or would it be the sun? The sun beat down on her so that she pulled her shirt up over her head to try and give her eyes some relief. It was a white shirt and didn't help much.

Just when she was ready to commit her spirit to Heaven and give up the fight, a boat appeared on the horizon. With her last strength and a throat that felt like sandpaper, she called out and waved one arm while the other clung to the mast. To her great relief, the boat turned her way. Men jumped over to bring her on board and she fell to her knees on the deck, both in thanks and from exhaustion.

Then realized her rescuers were pirates.