“Hey, are you going to be brave today?” Command Sargent Major Robert Sloanes said to his longtime friend, as the two swam in the Gulf. Ursi was a dolphin. The Major named him after their scientific name Tursiops Truncatus. Ursi was a male. But when he was named, the Major was not certain of Ursi’s gender. In fact, he knew nothing of Dolphins. Now he has become proficient in Dolphin behavior. He has watched Ursi grow. He knows that Ursi has moved into the alpha male position of his pod of Atlantic Bottle Nosed Dolphins. Over the years, the Major observed other dolphins in the pod with new “tag along” little ones. Ursi never had one. It was then that he figured Ursi must be a male.
Ursi and the Major have met every morning like this for the past 25 years. It is not sure if the Major or Ursi made the first advances, as it was the Major’s morning swim ritual, anyway. Come to think of it, it was probably Ursi’s too. There was always a little bit of distance between the two that made Ursi feel comfortable. The Major wanted more, and he though today might just be the day that he and Ursi would touch.
For some strange reason, the Major’s diving mask fogged up. He took it off, Ursi at his side, He spat in it and rubbed it all in his mask, removing the fog. He placed it back on, and continued. Years ago when he purchased his mask, fins and snorkel, Command Sargent Major Sloanes saw the relationship between the two blossom. They swam together every morning before the multitude of beach goers showed up to enjoy the pristine beaches all along Naples’ coast.
Ursi waited every morning for the Major; and swam with him for the half mile swim down the coast and back. At the end of the swim, the Major would float, simply relaxing from the exercise. Ursi would circle him, and at times even stop with head above water, as if talking to the Major. After a small visit, and the Major finished sharing his troubles and other life experiences with Ursi, he would say, “See you tomorrow Ursi.” Then, with a shake of his head, a quick spin and a flip back, Ursi was back to his pod, until the next time.
What a way to start the day, thought the Major. Where else could I find such tranquil beauty, such life-giving energy? Thoughts like these ran through the Major’s mind most mornings. The world is a wonderful place, and Naples is the place for me, concluded the Major.