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Carol Perkins: Life lessons from the Christmas Cruise

Previous Carol Perkins column: Christmas in the 1950's, part II

By Carol Perkins

The Christmas Cruise is what we call it. For our fifty-first anniversary, we sailed from LA on a 15-day cruise to the Hawaiian Islands. Imagine nine of them on the ocean with no land in sight? It was heavenly! The average age was 70 (maybe older), and the fact that I limped on my bad knee made me look like a spring chicken compared to most! Guy called this the Tim Conway Cruise. Over half were either using canes, walkers, scooters or wheelchairs; a fourth limping.

We began planning this trip back in the spring.


Actually, Guy did. He loves Hawaii and the ocean (a Navy man). What did we pack for a 15-day cruise? Three fairly large bags and a carryon. We could have left our "formal" clothes at home. When we saw all the tuxes and formal gowns, we opted for the buffet three nights.

We visited four islands and came back to Ensenada, Mexico. Guy loved the islands and I loved Mexico. One of those tours put nine people in a space for six. Guy sat with his arms across his chest like a corpse. At each stop, we piled out (or fell out). That was not a pretty sight.

The water was rough and not for those prone to seasickness. I wobbled from wall to wall the day after we got home. I saw more patches on the back of necks than on a patchwork quilt! One of the best parts of the trip (for me) was conversing with strangers. One woman had been twice divorced and looking for number three. She wasn't on the right ship; I have never seen so many couples all the way in age to WWII veterans. If she found one, she would have to likely take care of him.

One old "coot," as we might say, was sitting near us in what I called the lobby, and we were all waiting for a group of singers. He and his walker went to the bathroom and while he was gone, a clueless passenger sat in what he thought was "his" seat. When he came back, he threw a fit. She told him she didn't know anyone had been there and was trying to be nice but he yelled at her. She finally found another chair, but he continued to harass others, hitting them with his walker if they stood in front of him during the show. He needed to be at home!

I came home with a new outlook on life, realizing that Old Age does not mean to sit down and quit even if I don't get around fast. Most of those on the ship were retired and went from one cruise to another. Some sold their homes, others owned several, but all had one thing in common-the desire to live life actively. I can now "keep on keeping on."


This story was posted on 2018-12-22 06:05:45
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