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We’re About to Sail Away

(Click here to see the cruise itinerary)

January 13, 2011

Heather and I are going on our first-ever ocean cruise!  We are going on this adventure with our friends, Werner and Mary Schulz, and it’s their fault that we actually got ourselves into this!
the Grand Princess cruise ship
The Grand Princess
(14 storeys tall; accomodates 2,600 passengers and 1,600 staff)

It is a good friendship, of more than thirty-five years’ duration, sustained in part by the fact that we’ve held theatre tickets together time out of mind.  One night last April, after theatre, we were over at their place debriefing about the show, when Werner said, “Guess what we did today!”

“What did you do?” we responded, having no idea where to begin guessing.  “We booked a Caribbean cruise!”  Werner was practically crowing with enthusiasm.  We responded most positively to this, for we thought that it was indeed a wonderful thing to do; then he said, “Why don’t you come too?”  I looked at Heather and she looked at me, and we said, “Why not, indeed!”  The next day we went down to their travel agent, and in a few moments the deed was done.  I was a lot poorer, but we had booked an elegant suite on the ship right across the hall from our friends!  Signed, sealed and delivered, nine months before the fact!

But much had to be done in the interval.  Our passports had expired, so we had to arrange for new ones.  And Heather suddenly became aware of a huge problem: apparently we owned nothing appropriate to wear for a tropical cruise!  I must confess that the seriousness of this problem quite eluded me, but over the next nine months Heather devoted many hours to her favourite remedy: shopping.  Now, with departure only days away, we are ready.  I have shirts, Tilley pants, a Tilley hat, and deck shoes.  Heather has all sorts of light and airy garments that I am not qualified to describe.  We even have formal gear: a tux for me, and an elegant something-or-other 1 for her.

Our bags are packed.  Departure is very, very soon.

If you’d like to see our itinerary, click here.

But... what happened about Heather’s surgery?

My last entry in this web diary told of Heather’s knee surgery on December 15th, from which Heather took longer than she anticipated to recover.  She was still on crutches when the time came for us to go to Vernon B.C. for Christmas, so we had to use the airline’s wheelchair service.  That service was excellent, and really essential for me, because with the bags and the boarding passes and the IDs and the carryons and the winter coats, I had my hands completely full.

But we had a wonderful time in B.C., and everything went quite smoothly.  Troy and Rachael were able to be there as well, so it was very much a family occasion.

We were back in Winnipeg in time for New Year’s Eve, which was our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.  We are astonished at the number of years we have managed to accumulate together, but continue to be very happy with each other (despite some bickering now and then), so what more could a person ask?

Then, Heather came down with a dreadful cold – which made her sick enough that she didn’t even go in to work (rare, for Heather).  So far I haven’t caught it, but we are a little bit on tenterhooks, because of the forthcoming cruise.

Back to work?
Recently, I resumed some formal public activity as an Anglican priest.  I presided at worship at St. James’ church just before Christmas, and last Sunday presided at St. Thomas’ church in Morden, Manitoba (100+ km southwest of Winnipeg).  I have now agreed to take services in Morden once a month until May.  In addition, I will make a presentation at a Stewardship conference on March 26th.  These are, I can assure you, the pleasant minimal activities of a retired guy, not a return to work.

For other Sundays, Heather and I will continue our odyssey, visiting churches of all sorts of Christian denominations.  God willing and time permitting, I will put a second “Churchgoing Report” online at some point. 2

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1  You will note that my ability to describe high fashion is somewhat limited.  Let me apologize in advance for that.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

2  The first “Churchgoing Report” can be seen by clicking here.

Click here for the next Oxbow.

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