La Roja is a 45' sailboat that my husband and I lived aboard for five years.
The Christening Party was a huge success. La Roja deserved a grand party. She looked beautiful for her day; everything on her shone, from her newly outfitted aft cabin to her beautiful mahogany-lined v-birth. It was fun to show her off.
Howard Blasingame, the "Christening Nun," conducted the ceremony. We met "Sister" Howard at a Halloween Party months before. "Sister" Howard made an impression upon us, so we asked him if he would agree to officiate the christening of La Roja when the time came. True to his word, he showed up to the party fully dressed in his nun habit. Sister Howard demanded respect as he began the ceremony. He instructed Bob and me to stand at the bow of the boat while he very seriously recited the following blessing (pausing only to puff on his giant cigar):
"LA ROJA" (The Red)
"La Roja" you are a brave ship to want to take on such a big ocean. A Rogue Wave could sweep your mast or Mighty Levithan could crush you with only an ounce of malice.
But, for not, I am here to uplift you with a blessing from the gods, the wisdom of the Ancient Mariners, and Bob and Margie's much abused credit.
A blessing from Allah is truly great, but electrolysis is greater. So, Margie, you must recite ten times daily, the "Mantra of Wisdom": (he instructed me to repeat after him)
"Dear God - I don't want blisters on my bottom."
And Bob, you must chant unceasingly:
"I will never allow the infidel corrosion on my shaft, and if I find it, I shall cut it off" (and Margie says she can help).
Almighty Kokomalt, god of the America's, Bob is prostrate before you. Anyway, he'll try to keep the bilge clean and his head regularly pumped (and Margie says she can help, too).
Majestic Polisidan, keeper of the Storms, we beg for tranquil seas and Bob promises to keep a stiff mast (and Margie, he'll need help).
El Shadi, Protector of the Weak and Holy of Holys, we are humbled before your Glory. Please keep "La Roja" from becoming holy.
The Most Ancient of Mariner's, King Neptune, we now commit "La Roja" unto your hands and we pray that you keep dolphins forever on her bow, a warm breeze in her sails, and the creditors off her transom.
With that, Bob poured champagne across the bow (we had previously washed the name "OWO"* off with seawater before painting her new name, "La Roja," as superstition dictates) and a toast was then had by all. We barbequed tri-tips on the dock, had French bread, salads, munchies, buckets full of beer and wine, and partied well into the early hours of the next morning. I really think La Roja was smiling with delight!
*The original name, "OWO," is an acronym for "Oh Wonderful One." It was a term of endearment the builder of the boat's wife used to call him. However, Lucas (the builder) and his wife divorced and not only was he no longer "Mr. Oh Wonderful One," but "OWO" was sadly neglected. When we found her and brought her back to life, it seemed only fitting to give her a new name. Bob wanted to name her after me, and since all my life I had been known to many as "Red" for my bright red hair, we decided to call her "La Roja" (female form of red in Spanish.)