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Carol Perkins: Special eligibles trips are all about Good Deals!

In this First of Two articles, our Metcalfe County and Beyond heroine tells of a New Orleans trip by 'elder' citizens, which began with two SUV's filled with members and stuff loaded on like the Clampetts
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Memories of Uncle Rollin (Oscar) Sullivan

By Carol Perkins

There were ten of us this year. Ten women each eligible for a senior discount coffee at McDonald's whether willing to admit it or not. Although the number changes from year to year, depending on each person's situation, the core group seldom varies. For the last 35 years, we ladies have managed to carve out a few days or an entire week for a vacation once a year whether to the beach, to the city, or a cruise. We leave behind husbands, kids, grandkids, jobs, and, hopefully, our worries. This year we took a cruise because one of the women found a really good deal. We are all about good deals!

Our cruise left from New Orleans. At first someone suggested we rent a ten-passenger van and drive because of the rising cost of flights. I wasn't too keen on the idea simply because I didn't think it was a safe one. With the chatter and the distraction of phones ringing and someone saying, "Look" all the time, I thought we'd be better off to fly and in the end, everyone else had the same misgivings about the van.

We took two SUV's to the airport, loaded like the Clampetts. Each had a big bag and a carry-on, so that was twenty pieces of luggage. We stuffed every nook and cranny of each vehicle with Guy insisting we were going to have to take another car, but we fooled him!

We spent the first night in New Orleans. We gawked at the weirdoes on Bourbon Street, ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde, stopped in at Pat O'Brien's, listened to jazz coming from Preservation Hall, and took a carriage ride with a poor old horse named Honey and an indifferent driver. Have you noticed how people riding in those carriages look bored as they go by?

The next morning the hotel shuttle took all of our luggage and us to the dock where we stood in a long check-in line that circled around the terminal and took turns going to the bathroom. Standing in line was the most difficult part of this trip. Let me explain the dynamics of this group.

First, one brought along a walker (in case she needed it) because she had just had hip replacement surgery and was waiting until after the trip to have the other hip replaced. She also had her C-pap machine. Another had had two strokes and by-pass surgery within the last year and had her Bi-Pap machine, too. Two others had visited their doctors prior to leaving for epidurals in their neck or leg in order to make the trip. One couldn't keep her batteries charged in her hearing aid, plus she had bruised the arch of her left foot and was in pain; another had also had by-pass heart surgery but it had been a few years ago. The youngest one had trouble with her varicose veins, the next youngest, prone to migraines, had a headache the first two days. I had my C-pap machine. As far as I know, there was only one in the group who didn't have an ailment-at least until she came home!

So, we were a motley cruise crew with our bags of medicine, (some brought along plastic daily reminder boxes while others had entire bottles in zip lock bags and lined them up along the dresser so as not to forget to take them), reading glasses, and tennis shoes. By six o'clock Sunday night, we had set sail. As I stood on the top deck and pulled away from shore, I knew that I was lucky to be able to be with my friends yet another year even though age was mocking us more and more. I looked forward to the adventures that were sure to follow during the coming week. (Next week - Part II) - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2012-09-30 06:30:44
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