Yesterday I turned the big 4-0. Some people freak out about age, not me though, I don’t feel a day over 39. Besides, I spent the day in the best way I could ever imagine, on a cruise ship in the western Caribbean with my wife and best friend, Emily. Emily wanted to do something special for my 40th birthday so she booked this cruise as a surprise. The surprise part didn’t work out (that’s ok, I’m not really big on surprises anyway), but the cruise is awesome! I don’t know if you’ve ever been on one of these things before, but the people watching alone is worth the price of admission. I just thought I’d share a couple of the funny things I’ve heard since I’ve been here.
First, we had to take a bus from the airport in Miami to the port. As Emily and I were boarding the bus we struck up a conversation with an older couple from Baltimore and ended up sitting next to them on the bus. They told us stories of their travels and adventures. They have been married for 46 years, are retired, and seem to have been just about everywhere in the world and done just about everything you could imagine. They told us stories about skydiving in New Zealand, mountain climbing in the U.S. National Parks, and sampling food all over Europe. They told us a million times that they were “very active”, as if I couldn’t tell. I got tired just from listening to them. Anyway, as we were walking through the security area in the port the man looked around and said, “There is a pretty good age mix here. Usually these cruises are only for the newly wed and the nearly dead.” Hilarious! I will remember that guy for the rest of my life, because I’m sure I will steal his line a couple thousand times in my remaining time here on earth. I’ve probably already said it ten times, and I just heard it two days ago!
The next story I want to share happened yesterday as we were eating lunch. Emily and I had finished eating and were walking through the seating area on our way back to the pool, and I caught two lines of a conversation that made me laugh. Two older women (not the newly wed type, more of the latter group that the earlier guy spoke of) were talking, about whom I have no idea, and one said to the other, “she’s been studying, and she’s thinking of becoming Catholic”. Now, the emphasis on the word Catholic would have made you think that whoever they were talking about was thinking about joining some sort of animal worshipping cult. The other woman’s jaw dropped in disbelief and she began shaking her head, “Oooohhhh Boy,” she said. Then, we were too far away for me to catch any more of the conversation. I wish I had the courage to go back to them and say “praise the Lord! Who are we talking about so I can get in touch with them to welcome them home to the fullness of the faith?” But, for all I know, these women may have been carrying umbrellas and I could have been beaten severely. So, I decided against it.
Today, we are in port in Roatan, Honduras. We have no real plans here, except to wander around and people watch. Tomorrow we will be in Cozumel, Mexico, and we will be going on a tour of Mayan ruins, where I’m sure we will hear of the 2012 Mayan doomsday calendar, so that should give me something else to write about. Not that I have to worry about having anything to write about, all I have to do is keep my eyes and ears open. Stories are everywhere when you’re on a ship with 2000 vacationers. It doesn’t matter if the people are newly wed, nearly dead, or anywhere in between (see, I just stole his line again), they all have stories. We just have to be willing to listen.