author:  The little dingy swelled and rocked as the gentle gulf waves lapped its sides.  Weathered wood contrasted with the soft green water surrounding its sides. Tied with a single, threadbare rope, it had nowhere to go.

A long, worn-out fishing rod lay propped up between the forward seat and the bow, its tip gyrating with the surf. Someone had tied a bow at the end with a small brass bell.  With each dip and roll it rang out a strong single note, not loud but pure.

In my mind it was the sound of the fishing fleet returning in the fog, the far distant peel of a church steeple, the jingle of a sleigh bell passing a snowy lane, and the nostalgia of Santa’s reindeer.

I sat in silence awhile, listening.  I wondered of all the adventures that insubstantial boat had seen, where it had been and who had steered it to this final resting place.  Who had left this tiny bell as its tombstone, soothing to the ears and evoking such pleasing memories.

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