Thanks For Everything and Good Luck

I have a new favorite breakfast spot.  Been there at least a half-dozen times or more.  Christina was a great waitress, attentive, courteous, with a friendly smile.

“Would you like your usual?”  She’d ask. We’d sit at our favorite table.  Last Sunday, Christina, was no longer there to brighten the morning.

It turned out, she had a killer commute to work–moved on to better things, closer to home.  Can’t blame her–crossing the bay bridge and tunnel, famous for traffic tie ups, was nerve-wracking.

Maybe it’s nitpicking, but her replacements had a lot to learn.  Starting with the difference between one slice of thick marble rye toast, cut in half, and two slices of rye toast, cut in half.  Breaking in new employees was a tough job.  I can’t help it–Christina spoiled me.

Christina, I don’t need you to come back.  Wish you best of luck and happy landings.  Will miss you on early Sunday mornings.

Living In Paradise–Somebody Pinch Me

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

What greater setting is there, than the infinite sea?

Being here is different from vacationing here

There may be places more elaborate, more exotic

And places far worse–like the middle of nowhere

Living in paradise–everyday is the same

Living in paradise–somebody pinch me

If you don’t take advantage, no one else is to blame


Post-Cruise Reflections

A week ago, this was beach day at Labadee, Haiti.  Here, it’s still late winter.

Morning routine has changed somewhat, from taking the elevator from the seventh deck to the fifth deck for coffee, and then up to deck eleven to watch the sunrise.

What did I like most about the cruise?  Mornings-leisurely greeting the day.  The Broadway-style shows.  Obviously, great food and rich desserts.  Roasted tomatoes at breakfast with scrambled eggs were delicious.

If one ruled out similar offerings of watches, diamonds, clothing, trinkets, there were differences at each port of call.  I searched for Paul Allen’s yacht at Georgetown, Grand Cayman to no avail.  I would not have recognized it, even it had been there.

Our Good Hope plantation tour on Jamaica with emphasis on culture was the highlight of the trip.  Other site tours offered zip lines, ATV trails, horseback riding.  We were exposed to local flora, fauna, and herbal remedies.  Cures for migraine headaches, rashes, upset stomach among other things.

Little did I know, that behind the scenes tours of the cruise ship’s inner workings, were offered upon request.

On the last day, at the Captain and crew’s question and answer session, out came the “penguin” story from the First Engineer.

The First Engineer, previously worked for another cruise line specialized in Antarctic expeditions.  The waters from Argentina to Antarctica, near the straits of Magellan, were the most dangerous in the world.

During one such rough passage a call came in from a frantic female passenger.  The crew questioned the passenger to repeat the problem–“There’s a penguin in my bathroom.  I want it removed immediately.”

The engineer took the call.  According to the ship’s doctor, the woman had overdosed on anti-seasickness patches–which caused hallucinations.

After assurance the penguin, all wild creatures had been removed from her cabin, and with some “drying out time,” everything was fine the rest of the way.

Memories of the, night before, motel stay that proved cheaper wasn’t always better have faded away.  The ship boarding line up that took hours has been forgotten.

I’ll never forget that Jamaicans referred to heavy-set people as being “fluffy.”  I’m feeling quite fluffy this morning.  Getting back to the gym may help in that department.


You’re Not Going to Believe This–Art & Annie’s Amazing Encounter

“Mr. Reynolds, is that you?”

An aging Burt Reynolds hunched over a glass of bourbon at a bar somewhere in South Florida.

“Obviously it is–who wants to know?”

“I’m Art Williams, this is my wife Annie.”

“She didn’t believe it was you,” Art smirked.

“See honey, it is Burt Reynolds.  I was right.”

“You were right, Mr. Williams.  Sorry Annie.  Do I win a prize or something?”

Burt reluctantly shook their hands.  The bartender watched, amazed.  Some people had a lot of nerve.

“It’s a real pleasure to meet you, Sir.  Same here,” Annie echoed.

“Could we buy you a drink or something?”

“No, that’s OK.  Burt answered.  My doctors tell me I’m not supposed to drink.  Sometimes a drink just feels right.”

“What are you two up to?  Are you from one of those tabloids?”

“No we’re from Ohio, just cruising through on the way to Miami.  A friend told us you were from the West Palm area.”

“Is he a lawyer?  Do I owe him money?  I wasn’t expecting company.”

“No, Fred’s a mechanic.  Sorry to bother you, Mr. Reynolds,” Annie apologized.

“For what it’s worth, I loved your role in ‘Evening Shade.'”

“Thanks Annie.   You must be among the two-dozen people that still remember the series.  There were some good people on that show.”

“I’m originally from Poplar Bluff.  One of the characters was named after the owner of a local furniture store,” Annie continued.

“Was the show anything like the real Poplar Bluff?  Burt asked.

“In several ways–it was,” Annie answered.  “Poplar Bluff has a lot of old Victorian homes.  High school football was a big deal.”

“The mentally challenged character, that rode around in the red wagon, reminded me of someone I knew.”

“Mitch delivered papers and ran errands for everybody–except he used a bicycle.  Everybody looked out for him.”

“Honey, we better run and leave Mr. Reynolds alone, Annie said.  It’s been nice meeting you, Sir,” Art said.

Burt hastily scribbled an autograph on a cocktail napkin, waved goodbye to the happy Midwesterners.

“Good luck and be safe–your friend, Burt Reynolds,” It said and would be treasured forever.