The thought of loneliness in the declining years so does concentrate the mind, does it not? Most of us eventually promote the relief Chief Mate to permanent status. The training alone required to break in a new one can wear you down. I met mine after I quit the sea and wasn't really sure if I was in love with her, but found I couldn't imagine not having her around. Turned out that my notion of love didn't matter a hill of beans compared to the comfort I got from being with just the right woman. I suppose I'm in love. I know I'm lucky. And, btw, I'm really happy.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.