Tuesday, November 5, 2013
We had a three hour brunch. (Cue “Gilligan’s Island” music.) Yes … a thr-e-e-e ho-o-o-ur brunch. We ran into old friends and caught up on our lives, thoroughly! Janie and Lonnie used to work at the same company before Janie left and it took a fast and furious death dive from which there was no recovery. You could say that was the beginning of Sarbanes-Oxley.
This trip is not the first time we’ve unintentionally found each other. About 15 years ago, we ran into Janie & Tre on a busy street in Canada! They are a lovely couple and we have plenty of laughs over old times.
One of the more entertaining shows we attend is on marriage. A couple married 53 years are so cute! They sit on stage with two other couples, chair backs together, writing separate answers to questions from 6’3.” The husband is a frisky one. The wife will occasionally reach back and try to whack his leg with her cane if she thinks he’s misbehaving!
One of the best interactive activities we enjoy is karaoke in one of the lounges. The dance moves of two men add a real “Motown Sound” to the song. You can see the older gentleman cue his protege, as if he’s a former Pip!
Carnival dancers lead a class on ballroom dancing before there’s a dance-off. Their graceful moves and high energy when performing rivals any such acts you see in Vegas!
I have to give a “BIG, BIG THANK YOU!!!” to the crew. They play a huge part in our cruise experience. They work long hours, seven days a week, for six to nine months straight, to ensure that passengers are well cared for and safe! I read name tags from Croatia, the Philippines, Turkey, Indonesia, Serbia, etc. Our dinner waiters also work the breakfast shift. We learn that one of our servers, Marlon, has another talent when he breaks into song during dinner!
Walking around, we bump into Susan Drew Brock, a well-traveled passenger. During one of the activities, 6’3″ pointed out Susan as a very special guest. I sit down with Ms. Brock for a little chat:
Earlier this year, Susan cruised to South America on the Splendor. She remembers its maiden voyage, when she flew into England and boarded it to visit Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany. Two years ago this week, Brock flew to Spain for the Magic’s maiden voyage, an ocean crossing!
Susan is not just a spectator. She’s judged events such as the Hairiest Chest Contest. Cruise directors call out her name when they need a volunteer to break the ice and start the ball rolling. The former cheerleader was actually quite shy growing up. Since then, she has sung the national anthem many times for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and the Texas Rangers. “Our nation is very blessed! Thank God we’re here in America, where we can sing the national anthem and say the pledge of allegiance.” Susan still teaches and says a group of students are from the Congo. They lived in a crowded, dangerous camp for several years and saw their father decapitated by a machete. She’s determined to see that they have a better life in America.
The former nurse, singer, Miss Kodak, actress and Miss Pibb still sings. She’s related to the Barrymores. Drew is the family name that started the well-respected acting dynasty.
When asked, “Are you rich?” by a passenger, Susan replied that she was rich in family, good health and friends. The tablemate persisted, pointed out her many travels. Well, here is how Susan does it:
* You have to pay yourself
* Set clear goals
* Live simply. She does her own hair and nails. She mows her own yard.
* When it comes to spending, shop around. Don’t take the first thing you see.
* When traveling, don’t pack the kitchen sink.
* Think ahead.
* Take tours when visiting other countries, as you may never come back; meet locals; try local foods; learn about their cultures
Susan thinks cruises are the best way to travel – park your car, unpack, make new friends and sample all the varieties of food you want!
With a sparkling smile, she imparts one last piece of advice – “Have fun. Enjoy life!”