Submariners Assocation of Canada Easti

Rustin Chute.

by on Jan.05, 2013, under Stories over the ages

This Was Submitted  Lucky Gordon
Immediately nicknamed “Rusty” and occasionally “Dirt”. (I think his parents had a sense of humour when they named their little bundle of joy. Maybe dad was a submariner.”)
When young ‘Rusty’ arrived on board as a SPUT (Surface Puke Under Training) he was raring to go and eager to become one of his idealized brotherhood of super heros. He was an incessant burble of questions and curiosity about everything. And he sucked it all up as gospel from the righteous professionals that he worshipped. Ordinary Seaman Chute was more than a little naïve, like most of us were when we first got there.
Sitting in the mess one day, he overheard some of us seriously discussing the new bunk bags we were ordering for the mess on return to Slackers, (Halifax).
On hearing the term “Naugahyde”, the leatherette our bunk bags, seat and mattress covers were made of, he piped up,
“what’s a naugah? I never heard of them”.
Submariner’s don’t miss a chance to exercise their quick wit and sadistic sense of humour. I realized at once that he had heard naugah “hide”. I dove right into it.
“Naugahs are sort of a cross between a wild boar and a small rhino.”
And it was game on for all who wanted to participate in the age old sport of deep sea angling. Everyone baited up and cast a line.
“Yeah, they have smooth skin that is tanned and dyed and they make all kinds of leather stuff for submarines out of it. It stands up to the sea pressure better than regular leather.”
“My motor cycle leathers are naugah.”
“The meat’s not too bad either. It tastes like chicken. Hey chef, have you got any naugah on the menu this trip?”
“There are plenty of naugahs in Nova Scotia, but no one except
submariners hunts them. That’s probably why you never heard of them before. They aren’t really much good for anything but submarine gear.”
The game was revving up and Rustin was on the edge of his seat absorbing every once of absurdity.
“In fact naugah season just opened and we’re planning a hunting trip when we get back to Slackers. Wanna come with us?”
You might think that we got bored during those weeks and months that we spent under water defending our country from the great red tide of Communist aggression. Not so. There was always an object of delight to keep our magnificent miniature military minds engaged.
For the next few weeks we spent much of our idle idiot time with Rustin planning our hunting trip. The game spread through the boat like crap in a fan trunking. It eventually grew so elaborate with the massive amount of bizarre hunting gear, traps, weapons and camouflage kit, and the dangers inherent to hunting one of those prehistoric man eating beasts that seemed to get larger with each description, that Rustin began to catch on.
Once the jig was up he took it like a man, and I think he was actually disappointed that there would be no male bonding hunting trip with all the big guys.
I doodled with a pencil back then and sketched a drawing of my impression of Rusty in his hunting gear. A little Davy Crockett-ish, complete with naugah hound, Ole Nelly the naugah flint lock long gun with naugah notches for kills, naugah “hide” garb and cap C/W naugah tail, and so on. Rusty had unique features so I was able to capture a good likeness in caricature. Several years later when Rustin got married, some of his mess mates had the caricature blown up to life-size and mounted behind his head table. It was still a hit.
One thing certain in submarines, if you expose a chink in your armour, your messmates will never stop attacking it.
That’s what ‘Buddies in Boats‘ is all about.


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