Sunday, April 17, 2016


Many years ago, when we were in Las Vegas, my father impressed upon me the mistake of asserting “Never again, I’m through.”  I had lost the ten dollars planned for my gambling experiment when throwing the dice at the Mint quarter table. 

When my father heard my vehement statement, he handed me a five dollar bill and said play it on one roll.  Wow, I ran that gift up to twenty-five dollars in three rolls which I promptly put in my pocket and walked away. 
I could have just as easily lost his money but it became a family joke to “Never say Never.”

My sister doesn’t listen to me either if I proclaim “I’m through with travelling, I’m too old for any more trips.”  Well, the cruise to Canada had contained four days of quarantine because the doctor thought I had a rare exotic disease when it was instead my 88 year old body adjusting to a 15 hour trip to reach New York.  So much for that. 

Nancy just happened, by accident, unintentionally ran across a cruise to Hawaii, from Los Angeles, only an hour’s flight from Phoenix.  She booked the cabins and said, “Now if you don’t feel like it . . . I’ll just cancel.”

We left on the Ruby Princess on March 24th.  Nancy and Buford were in a mini-suite next door to me.  My cabin was solo and it seemed huge without Ed, but I quickly filled the extra bed with clothes I didn’t bother hanging up, an unusual luxury. 

The first day at sea I wondered why I had left my warm sunny wonderful weather Phoenix.  We ran into a turbulent front with our ship tossing around in the waves.  Although I don’t get seasick, my old bones object to this kind of weather and complained.  I soon enjoyed another luxury, lying in bed, curtains opened to view the dark clouds, and letting my body rock with the ship.  Go with the flow, you know.

Another day or so and we sailed into sunshine.   This meant time on my much appreciated balcony absorbing sun rays until skin began turning red.  Oops, better head for other enjoyments.  

Meals take up a lot of time on a cruise ship.  A huge breakfast on the Lido deck, trying various foods that are not normally in my diet.  After several days of eating differently, it became a pleasure to return to my usual cereal.  Lunch in the same fashion and soon reverting to salads.  Then dinner time in the Boticelli dining room at 5:30 pm, my menu consisting of fish, fish and another fish.  I delighted in them all, the only loser being an Australian ocean dweller of some kind. 

Days can be busy ones.  The flyer that gives us the next day’s activities is in our mail box after we come home from an evening show.  Most nights we would have a game of Mexican train dominoes after which we would plan the next day.  We have kept track for two years and for the record, Buford has now won two more games and Nancy is one game ahead of me.  

We attended seminars on the Hawaiian islands, we went to game shows and the evening highlight would be a comedian, a magician, or a wonderful production of a Hollywood type dance and song.  We had to make it to the theatre an hour in advance since there were 3000 people for 800 seats.  We soon began to fill this time with an I-pad bowling game and we had lots of help from those seated around us. 

Oahu is our first stop.  Nancy had arranged for a car rental and Buford drove us to the Polynesian Culture Center.  We had a few stops on the way, one where Mariam could get her feet wet and pick up some lava rocks.

Although we have visited the Center on previous trips, it is always a joy to watch the exotic shows and see the activities of Islanders – Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, Marquesas, more.  A wonderful memorable day.  

The next stops did not go quite as well.  We planned for Fern Grotto on Kauai.  It seemed to take a long time to get where we wanted to go.  However the boat trip up the river reaches a lovely area.  We can no longer go into the Grotto due to potential damage so we view it from afar.  I had someone special with me on this ride – Mom was with me on my first trip and returned to accompany me in memories on this one.  She once again sang along with the Hawaiian music group. 

We had been fortunate in the weather up until we reached Hilo.  This day the possibilities of rain caught up with us.  The highlight of the day was the nice meal at the Volcano House Hotel overlooking volcano steam.  Traffic and parking prohibited stopping at the Thurston Lava Tube and we wisely drove back to the ship early.

Nancy had arranged for a car for the first three stops and the plan changed on Maui. 

 We took our first tour covering Iao Valley and Maui Tropical Plantation.  On this one we sat back and enjoyed someone else doing the driving and the decisions. 

Our four days at sea on the return were a delightful repeat of the first four.  In our youthful years, the thought of being “cooped up” would have been scary.  But we had come to find that it brings a wonderful relaxing mood to be free from the clock and eat/nap/play at one’s pleasure.  My bonus was the game playing fun with Nancy and Buford.  Nancy and I had sister time and this is always one of our high priorities. 

In addition, I wandered the ship and I passed out my card to any one reading a book on Kindle or similar.  It might bring a sale or two for my book, “The Alternate Safe World of Sanctuary.”

One evening at dinner, Nancy said, “I’ve been thinking about something.”
I gave a big “oh, oh,” because that means she has a plan up her sleeve.  
Well, it seems as though Princess gives a certain discount for future cruises booked while on this cruise.  I asked Nancy, “Are you giving me something else to look forward to?”

After discussions going back and forth, pro and con, this and that, we now have a cruise booked over Christmas and New Years, covering eight islands in the Caribbean.  Nothing set in stone, you understand, but a possibility depending on health and a few other factors.   With naps and pills and Miralax, this one worked well for me.  Will an 89 year old body do as well?  Well, my special sister Nancy is once again giving me the incentive to stay well by holding an enticing carrot in front of my face.