Fernando’s Footsteps

by Tony Carreño

As the steamship turned eastward in the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, there was enough of a jolt to awaken Fernando. He had managed to get a decent night's sleep, even though his "bed" was really a long wooden bench, and he had slept in the sitting position. Like for many of his fellow passengers, his youth, not quite 18 years of age, had made this possible. The 22- hour journey from Havana had been uneventful, and short......much shorter than his eight day crossing from Santander, Spain to Havana four years earlier.

"Please begin organizing your passports and related documents for processing in about one hour!" shouted a crew member.

This was followed, mercifully, by a translation into Spanish. As the young man complied, he began walking across the cabin to a doorway leading to an exterior deck, eventually making his way to the bow of this vessel, and saw his first view of the United States dead ahead. As they passed through a somewhat narrow straight, he was amazed at how flat the terrain was. Before him was an incredibly large estuary. A fellow Spaniard who was returning from a visit to Havana approached him.

"Sabes lo que es esto?" he asked Fernando. The older gentleman had asked if Fernando knew what he was looking at.

"No" he replied.

"Esto se llama La Bahia de Tampa. Y muy cerca queda el pueblo de Tampa, y su vida nueva. Bienvenido!" His travel companion had pointed out the waters of Tampa Bay, and warmly welcomed him to the booming town of Tampa and a new life.

 The humble ship, Mascotte, steamed toward Port Tampa from Havana. 


Mascotte

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This is a work of fiction. With the exception of references to known and publicly documented historical entities, the following apply:

Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. ©Tony Carreño 2020