Oh, yes. I knew Orville: Story by Collin Tiura

Story by Collin Tiura

Oh yes, I knew Orville,

He was a ding bat to be sure but an okay ding bat.

At one time he was one of the divers at Marine World when it was in San Carlos. He and another friend of mine, Ted Pinerelli, dove on fish gathering expeditions around the world, collecting specimens of the oceans. What a cool life.

When not plying the seas their work was a bit more mundane, swimming among fish in the viewing tanks.

One of the favorite chores was feeding the fish and turtles.

Ted told me this story about Orville:

Orville’s family was visiting Marine World and Ted was walking them through the park, the highlight being, watching Orville feed the fish. The spectator area was fairly crowded but all of Orville’s family was able to get an “up close to the window viewing spot”, mom, dad and the siblings.

As Orville swam along giving hand-outs to the hungry salt-water stars he came upon his clan, and proceeded to put on a special show of extended feeding in their viewing area but unfortunately forgetting rule #1 in the ‘fish feeding manual’, which was ‘always keep moving while feeding the fish’.

Maybe he didn’t forget that rule, but possibly wasn’t told ‘why’ not to stop and visit, or show off just a bit for that special audience.

So, Ted and Orville’s family are watching the show. Orville’s father apparently was a thoughtful sort of a guy not prone to show much emotion, so when a huge turtle came up behind  becalmed Orville and bit one of his ears off (not quite off, it was swinging, held on by a thread or something) and blood was seriously clouding up the water to the point where you could no longer see the look of concern on Orville’s face. Ted said that Orville’s dad looked at the scene for a few seconds and then moved on to clearer water as if not at all impressed with Orville’s display, planned or not.

Ted said that Orville’s mother and siblings showed enough emotion with their screaming to more than make up for dad.

Orville’s selection of attire was farmer John bib overalls. I don’t remember seeing him wearing anything else, although he might have. And he always reeked of ‘Ben-Gay’ or some other obnoxious smelling muscle relaxing ointment, to the point where your eyes burnt if within 20 feet of him. He always had plenty of room at a crowded bar, which brings me to another ‘Orville-ism’.

I was having beers with a few of my friends at Dan’s in Moss Beach a bunch of years ago when Orville came in. He ordered a beer, and at some point we all went outside for reasons unknown. I believe we were all having a good time, but while outside Orville challenged one of my friends to arm wrestle. We all wondered where that came from but they went at it anyway. After awhile my friend had second thoughts about the whole thing and punched Orville in the nose. It was about time. We all went back in Dan’s and had another cold beer, listening to Orville repeating ‘why’d you punch me in the nose?’.

I liked Orville in a way I like many of the other coastal goof-balls. They are what they are and that’s pretty honest.

Like my Mom used to say, you ‘like them in spite of their faults not because of them’.

I was genuinely saddened when I heard that Orville had done himself in many years ago.

Mom also used to say ‘a smile is like a lighted window, it always show’s somebody’s home’ but she would describe some with ‘the lights are on but nobody’s home’. Go figure.

Well, I hope this sheds some light on things.

Sincerely, I think………………Collin

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About June Morrall

1947 - 2010
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