From the Pastor: Stories About The Cruise
I am away with some family and friends on a cruise. You do realize I am gone, right? Before I even left people were welcoming me back and asking how my trip went. I considered making up stories but then thought better of it, because if they later heard about my real trip, they would assume I had taken two vacations! Plus, I wanted to save the best stories for the bulletin. So sit back for a spell, get comfortable, and come along with me as I enthrall you with tales of this great vacation which I wrote before we set sail. And, in case you are wondering how I was able to do such a thing, that mystery is solved with a simple reference to the name of the ship I was on, the “Magic.”
My Sister Linda flew in from Massachusetts the day before we were to leave. Her flight was filled with turbulence, as they were skirting the tropical storm forming over Indiana (she had a stopover in Kansas City, where she picked up Aunt Irma, who was there looking for some climate change related beachfront property, but that’s another story). That did not bode well for the beginning of a cruise. When we got to the ship, the crew was assuring everyone that, though the storm was projected to head our way, once it hit the open water it would quickly lose strength and dissipate. “No worries, everyone!” they exclaimed, “Have a drink. Here, let me take your photo.” And onto the ship we went, confident that all was well. It wasn’t.
The big storm was not the problem. Lost luggage was. Or, more precisely, wrong luggage was. As I mentioned, Aunt Irma had been traveling already when she met up with us. She had consolidated everything she wanted to bring on the cruise into one bag and left the rest of her stuff, including tons of souvenirs, back at mom’s house. Or so she thought. When she went to spruce up for dinner she discovered to her horror that, where her makeup kit should have been, she had “Boot Hill, Dodge City” sunscreen. She frantically ransacked her suitcase, flinging “Dalton Gang” beach towel and vintage “KU Jayhawks” seashell necklaces across the room. She dug in past the “Land of Oz” surfboard and “Show Me State” smashball paddles, tossed out the “KCU Wildcats” flip flops and the “I *Heart* Kansas” beach volleyball, looking, hoping, praying, that somewhere below all of it was what she had packed for the cruise. Alas, it was not to be. Too proud to let any of us know what had happened, she used what she had. The first three days she wore the Chiefs jersey she had purchased for her great nephew, Bubba, which was large enough to rent out to Barnum and Bailey if they hadn’t gone under. On day four she changed into the Kansas City Royals jogging suit which had been meant for her neighbor’s girl. She could almost, but not quite, zip up the top because it was just too small and tight. It was 87 degrees, her uncombed hair looked like a rat’s nest, and with her wearing that winter hoodie and its matching skin tight heavy fleece bottoms (which made yoga pants look loose by comparison), we were all convinced that she had finally “lost it” completely. Before the ship’s captain could Baker Act her, though, she admitted what happened and we were able to get her some new clothes easily enough at the ship’s “You Need More Stuff” boutique. Whew! That, plus a toothbrush, and she was a happy camper. That was not the only wardrobe malfunction, though.
One of the ladies with us (my mom will kill me if I tell you who it was) got up on a zipline at one port of call, having packed a pair of jeans just for the occasion. Unfortunately she had lost weight while onboard, as everyone is wont to do on a cruise, and halfway down the mountain she had to let go with one hand to hold up her britches. In the video (look for it on FarceBook!) of her dangling and squirming descent she looks like one of the local boys strutting down the street, with skivvies visible 10 inches above droopy-drawers. She was screaming all sorts of strange words (to my virgin ears) about what she was going to do if anyone looked or laughed. What is the female version of “tighty whiteys”? Granny greys? Biggie Bloomers?
I could tell many more stories about our adventures, but let me end with a fish tale, a story about the one that got away. I brought a rod and reel along with me so that I could fish from my balcony. There was plenty of bait available at the seafood buffet and every time we slowed to come into port, I set out my rig. On the last day, I hooked into something big and fought it for over an hour. We couldn’t see what kind of fish it was even after I got it out of the water, because from my upper floor even fishing boats looked tiny. I only got it up about half way before the fish gave one last mighty thrash and threw the hook, flipping itself into an open window somewhere below me. I am not sure where it went, exactly, but on the flight home Aunt Irma mentioned to my sister something about her special souvenir that dropped out of the sky, and her luggage smelled strangely like day-old cat food...
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka