I don’t remember where I found the deal, but life had gotten a bit stressful, and it seemed like a good idea. My husband wasn’t so enthusiastic, but for me there are (almost) no bounds to bonding, and his objections gave way to assent.
So in the spring of 2001, we delivered our heart-sick-just-discharged-getting-better-and-much-beloved black lab, Elsie, back to the vet–this time just for boarding. Then we hit the road for the long drive to Port Canaveral, Florida, where we’d board Carnival’s Fantasy cruise ship to the Bahamas.
Abby had just turned 16, and Jeremy was 11.
I asked everyone today about their three best and three worst memories of that trip.
Dennis listed his best as the food (surprise), the beach in Nassau, and snorkeling over the coral.
His worst were the time spent on the boat itself (waste of time), the expense (surprise), and when the transmission went out on the car.
Abby listed her best as the butterfly bracelet she got (that I don’t remember at all–and that, she says, broke shortly after the trip) and getting her hair braided in Nassau, all of us going snorkeling together (though my memory is that Jeremy was afraid to do that), and seeing dolphins by moonlight.
Her worst were not being able to be all together in one room, how tiny the rooms were, and the transmission going out on the car.
Jeremy remembered the food (he ate a lot of pizza), walking around Nassau, and buying some coins. Other than that, he says, he doesn’t remember much.
Here’s some of what I remember.
I got a good set of walkie-talkies in order to keep track of each other on the ship. They worked well and were great fun.
I bought a white cotton tablecloth and set of napkins all trimmed with lace in Nassau, although I’d asked for permanent press. The vendor lady rolled her eyes and shook her head at me. “Why are white ladies afraid of ironing?” she complained. Then she gave me a lesson in pressing that included sprinkling and freezing.
When we docked back in Florida, we made our way to Cocoa Beach–where a wave knocked me off balance while I waded knee-deep. I heard something pop.
That night we went to Capone’s Dinner Theater where we had to knock three times and give the secret password to enter.
By the end of the evening, I could barely limp, so we headed for the nearest Florida Hospital emergency room where we spent quite a few hours, and I left fitted with a brace.
On the way home, with my leg extended on the back seat, possibly on Jeremy’s lap, the transmission blew up, and we were stranded in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, for two days. I remember hobbling a couple blocks to a Long John Silver’s for supper.
When we finally arrived home, the vet told us Elsie had died. We buried her on the south farm.
An MRI showed that wave had completely torn my ACL, and I had surgery the next month. I had a rough recovery. This is why I’m hesitant to enter the water in Haiti.
Though life was rather hard at the time, that my daughter, without much thinking, named togetherness and lack of togetherness as best and worst memories–as well as a simple circular butterfly bracelet I can’t remember–surprised me. My husband agreed this morning that the sacrifice was worth that alone–though I doubt I’ll ever get him on another cruise.
I’d go in a heartbeat.
In the stillness,
Joining The High Calling’s call for best (or worst) vacation stories.