Like so many people today, I have been both widowed and divorced and have had the good fortune to rear a wonderful family. But that was many years ago. Today my claim to fame is simply that I am an old man with some stories to tell that are rich in substance, and in most cases they are true accounts surrounding my long life. In fact, I am so old, that I have out lived all of the others which makes me the last of the old time riverboat captains who is still plying the James and Appomattox Rivers in Central Virginia. My earliest memories and my love of the rivers stem from the 1940's when as a four year old, I would tag along with my father who was the skipper of the tugboat Atlas. It was an exciting time to be on the rivers too, as steam tugs were fading from view and new fangled diesel engines although they still had no gears were fast becoming state of the art machines. And like my dad, I became a tugboat skipper. But as I got older, I felt a strong urge to become a writer, partly because I realized at a young age that if anyone was to ever record first hand those marvelous and fast changing maritime years on the James and Appomattox Rivers, then it had to be me. And so at the age of twenty eight when I was an "Old Man" I was able to squeeze in between ship docking and barge towing responsibilities a liberal arts degree from Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary. And when the U.S. Coast Guard began to require all skippers of tugs to be licensed, I received one of the first licenses, and that was in 1973. And fortunately for me, when others have had to give up their licenses because of some unmet requirement, I am still maintaining a master captain's credential with the United States Coast Guard.
In 1976 when I was a young man I developed my own tugboat company and operated it for more than twenty years before I gave it up. But the company who now owns and operates it still prefers to keep the name, Blaha Towing Company. My boating experience however, is not limited to only these local rivers. I am also a sailor as well as a power boater. For ten years I sailed a 41' Formosa Ketch along the east coast of the U.S., and lived "on the hook" in the Bahama Islands off and on for almost two years. I have sailed the Atlantic and Pacific coast of Mexico, two of the Great Lakes, much of the Caribbean and the Adriatic Sea between Italy and the Czech Republic. But as beautiful as some places are, I still prefer our country's scenic and meandering waterways when compared to others that I have known. And because of my varied experience as a waterman I was honored by Governor Balalies to become Central Virginia's first Maritime Commander in the newly organized Virginia State Guard, and I was also given the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Ship docking at times can involve a lot of down time while waiting for weather, paperwork, pilots to arrive or any number of reasons. And so during some of these lay ups I would write short stories or poems or even an occasional novella, but I had never seriously considered publishing until recently when I was introduced to Smashwords. One of the manuscripts that I will soon be uploading is entitled (Chosen River) and it is about the wonderful James River and many of the actual people who have been a part of it. But I also write in several different genres, both fiction and non-fiction. I have written a series of children's stories (The Legend of the Butterfly Angels) will be the first in the series to be online. I refer to it as historical fantasy fiction because so much of it is true. But I have just finished writing two non-fiction books as well, one an autobiography, the other about a trial that took place more than a quarter of a century ago .And currently I am writing a non-fiction saga about an ill fated boat trip in which I was involved that stretched from Virginia to the Great Lakes. I have in the works several more books about living aboard houseboats or sailboats and the wonderful life that in my opinion, really is one of those "best kept secrets", that is, if you know how to make the most of it. And with a lifetime of piloting commercial vessels, ten years living aboard a sailboat, and eleven years on a houseboat that I personally built, I think that I am very well qualified to help those who have a hankerin' to leave the terra firma way of life for that of a "fish", and in the process help them to save a lot of money, time, and trouble.
Over the last few years I have rebuilt and re-furbished a 50' Chris Craft houseboat and in August, 2015 it went into service in the Richmond, Virgina area as a "tiny house" on the river through Airbnb.com, Homeaway.com, and BandB.com. And because I decided to do this, I have been blessed to meet some of the most wonderful and interesting people from many different parts of the world. From my early beginnings as a small town boy who really did have dirt floors in my home, I have been blessed to have established friendships with some of my recent guests, and they fit perfectly into my life long list of friends that included the "drunks" who hung around the docks, a President of Mexico, and many, many others on just about every level of society throughout the world. Mine has been a life filled with both elation and tragedy, but some how I have managed to survive it all. And because I did survive, I find it necessary to share those years with my readers in the hope that it will be at times entertaining, but also useful.
These Bastards Will See No God!
by Ron Blaha
Remember in the movie My Cousin Vinny, that he (Vinny) was pleading with his nephew to allow him to have a shot at defending him in court because he knew that the case against him was an illusion? Well, my case was also an illusion. But unlike Mr. Trotter, the prosecutor, who was an honorable man, the lawyers who opposed me were greedy criminals. AND I WILL PROVE IT TO YOU IN THE FIRST CHAPTER.
The Legend of the Butterfly Angels, Legend Series, Book 1
by Ron Blaha
No matter who you are, from the lowliest brown caterpillar, to the most beautiful butterfly, we all have the potential to make meaningful contributions. In the Legend of the Butterfly Angels, Chloe Caterpillar, will learn as she snuggles under Ms. Wise Owl’s soft warm, wing, about how her tiny ancestor, Angelina, had made it possible that all future caterpillars would become beautiful and free.
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