Vacation and Fate
2023 by Robert Flournoy
Photo courtesy of the author.
2010 my daughter was a senior in college, my son having graduated two
years earlier. To celebrate we booked a cruise for adults
out of Ft Lauderdale, with an itinerary that took us to various
islands in the Eastern Caribbean. I coughed up the extra
to get us balcony suites, side by side, my wife and I in one and my
children next to us.
The balcony made all the difference we
first time cruisers were to find out. This might have been
most relaxing thing I have ever done, a few steps out our sliding
door (which we slept with open) as the sun rose, a quick call to our
cabin attendant, and coffee with breakfast was at our side within
minutes, sea gulls soaring beside us, looking for a morsel.
family time was immeasurably precious, but a couple of events during
out time on board would make the trip memorable.
we boarded, our luggage delivered to our rooms, my daughter insisted
we take the welcome orientation where we were pitched on the various
activities available to us during our week on the ocean, all which
came with a stiff price. High on the list of ship priorities to make
extra money, was the spa, an elegant floor of steam rooms, saunas,
hot tubs, and massage services (staggeringly expensive). But, to
entice everyone to use the spa's services, a raffle was held at the
end of the presentation. Given away was a facial, a full body
massage, and a mani/ pedicure.
There were about forty people in
the drawing, all expectant flat landers who would probably not be
partaking of this pricy offering. My daughter dutifully wrote
each of our names on slips of paper and they went into the bowl along
with everyone else's. The first slip drawn, for the massage,
was my daughter's name. She was jubilant and we were excited for her.
The looks of disappointment on the faces of our fellow cruisers was
palpable. When my name was drawn next, there were groans and
catcalls of "rigged", "only one to a family",
When my son's name was drawn for the third
prize, I was actually embarrassed as the heckling grew, and some in
the crowd were visibly upset. We smiled graciously, and
withdrew to our rooms under the hostile glares of all those present.
They smelled a rat that wasn't there. Back on deck we
stop laughing. It was a wonderful way to start the voyage, but that
night in the dining room we were subjected to some glares, as many
understood the improbable odds that we had overcome.
next day I was doing a power walk around the track on the 8th story
of that magnificent ship when I passed a crowd of about fifty people
seated under a canopy. A demonstration of glass blowing was
underway, and my timing was in synch for a drawing to give away the
beautiful bowl that had been created. As the drawing was about to
take place, I heard, "Daddy, come put your name in the hat".
As I did this, I heard mutterings on "why
don't you just give it
to him", "oh look, it is the anointed family", and
some other comments that came from those in the crowd that were still
sore at our fortune the day before. Well, defying all odds of
statistical probability, guess whose name was drawn? There were boos
and minor curse words thrown my way as I accepted the bowl. I handed
it to my daughter, and not being able to resist it, I turned to the
crowd, did a Rocky on the steps dance, and said, "my work here
is done" before resuming my walk. Fearing for the
safety of my family, I glanced back, but they had high tailed it down
the stairs. I think I saw a wadded up paper cup bounce off of my
son's head as he laughingly walked away.
Heads turned every
single night at dinner for the rest of the cruise. Our most memorable
dinner was, at his invite, at the table of an affable Texas "oilman"
who stayed up late each night during the trip playing poker for high
stakes in the game room. He said, "I want to touch each of you
to change my luck at cards". He bought us drinks and we
had a merry old time in a sea of disgruntled fellow dinners.
have always thought that being lucky was more desirable than being
good :) So far, it has held ;)
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