Love and the Navy


This year’s Valentine’s Day will be particularly special for all the couples reunited in Norfolk this week after the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group’s return from that insanely long 10 1/2-month deployment. But since it falls on a Tuesday, those with duty, as well as many of us working stiffs, are more likely to take our significant other out for that romantic dinner on Saturday night, and perhaps follow up with some (overpriced, but you gotta do it, right?) flowers on the Big Day.

It won’t be so great for those whose loved ones are still deployed. Veteran Navy couples know how to stay in touch and keep the fires burning. But for those newbies in need of a suggestion or two, here are some great tips. It’s Navy wife-oriented, but there are some solid ideas for husbands on the home front too. Just use the ol’ imagination.

In another time and place, most of the Navy was not married. And thinking about sailors and lovers brought to mind the best-ever blues song — couldn’t recall another, actually — about sailors and lovers in one of those other times and places. It was written and recorded in 1932 by Lonnie Johnson. Great tune, sad ending. But hey — it’s the blues!

The lyrics:

Boys, you ever heard that tale ’bout Winnie the Wailer?
She fell in love with that redhead sailor.
Boy, he made her fall, and she fell hard.
Then he left poor Winnie flat in the navy yard.
Cryin’ boo hoo hoo,
She said, “Boo hoo hoo.”
Now she moaned all day,
And she wailed all night.
Because that sailor man didn’t do her right.
Yeah man. [spoken]

Then she traveled ’round,
From ‘Frisco to China.
She met a guy way over in Asia Minor.
He got a kiss on that very first trip.
He promised her that ride on that battle ship.
She cried, “Boo hoo hoo,
I’ll get even with you.
She says, “Now you may smile,
Then you may frown,
But I can’t let you keep poor Winnie down.”
Do it again. [spoken]

Then she met sailor man named Popeye the Skipper.
When she was mean, boy how he used to whip her.
He loved ta fight ‘n, and she was tough.
He had to leave her ’cause she plays too rough.
Ship ahoy,
Ah, ship ahoy.
She knows her Qs,
And she knows her Ps.
Now poor Winnie sails them seven seas.
Ah, swing it. [spoken]

I do believe. [spoken words]

Now then she met a sailor man, he knowed the ocean.
He fell in love with her, give her his devotion.
He says, “I put a many a gal on the spot,
Ah, but Minnie you got me tied in that sailor’s knot.”
I said, “I’ll get even with you,
Ah, I’ll get even with you.”
Now boy one day the hearse stop,
At poor Winnie’s door,
And now she can’t wail no more.


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