Pirate Stories

In preparation for spending a week in Seaside, Florida with my younger daughter Bonnie and her family, I opted to make it a Pirate-themed vacation. I picked up a set of Pirate action figures, but (upon polite understandable request) removed all their weapons, which included pistols, knives, and cutlasses. While this limited the crew’s culinary activities at any bonfire pig roasts it did make things safer if the crew became “jolly-rogered” from too much rum. Weapons and alcohol are not a safe combination even for action figures.

My grandsons Myrick, 5, and Larson, 20 months liked the new toys and they got into the spirit, especially Larson who forced the buccaneers to walk the plank into the backyard pool. The family even assigned them names. Shown in the picture above are six of the crew members left to right: Cannonball, Bones, Burnside Capri, Captain Hook, Scurvy, and Ocean Dancer. (Not shown are Grog and Ponytail who presumably are lost at sea or disappeared in the car ride home.)

Treasure Island

Stevenson_-_Treasure_island _1933Also in anticipation, I brought along a copy of Treasure Island published by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1883. This was the 100th Anniversary Edition, which has artwork from the 1934, which did not spare any weapon imagery.  My selection was based that it was illustrated without being a graphic novel. I read some of this to Myrick in the car and at bedtime, but it was thick with a lot of old-timey language. I did my best pirate accents (aaargh, I’m awful) and tried to edit on the fly while I read to simplify the plot. It’s a good adventure and Myrick indulged me by asking lots of questions like “What is rum?”

Later I drifted down to the center of Seaside and Sundog Books, which had a wide selection of vacation reads, books about Florida, children’s books. I picked up two books one about a duck family who goes to the beach and Margaret Wise’s The Sailor Dog. Both, along with a sticker book of construction equipment, proved invaluable on the trip home

 When I Was a Pirate

However, it was Bonnie who found the perfect book at a different shop in Seaside. Tom Silson’s When I Was a Pirate. It is the story of a retired pirate who reflects on his seafaring adventures as a young man. Though he longs for days when he traveled the globe visiting distant lands (no mention of pillaging or mutinies), his “sore back and aching knees” magically disappear as he chases his (well-armed) grandchildren on the sandy beach.

Definitely a pirate story I could identify with.

From "When I Was a Pirate"


April 12, 2019

December 11, 2018

November 25, 2018

December 05, 2017

May 30, 2017

May 15, 2017

March 29, 2017

December 24, 2016

November 29, 2016

August 30, 2016

Click on Image to Buy a Father's Letters

Books Read in 2024

  • Robin Wall Kimmerer: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (2003)
  • Alasdair Gray: Poor Things (1992)
  • Eric Vuillard: An Honorable Exit (2023)
  • Dwight Garner: The Upstairs Delicatessen (2023)
  • George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
The book that started it all.
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