It is, of course, always a bit of a let down.
However, Saturday was a sunny day which made it a little bit easier to get home to the cold and the grey snow that is left her in Columbus.
This was a great cruise for so many reasons -
1. It was Chuck's 75th birthday celebration and that is tremendous to even consider. he is 75! A young 75 everyone says - including us - but 75 nonetheless and it is good to celebrate. At the same time when you are the birthday boy - it is a milestone. For sure! So he got surprised at the airport by our friends Bob and Sharon who came on the cruise, he got surprised on Tuesday with a beautiful party hosted by Dawn for Chuck and her sister who were celebrating the oldest and the youngest b days of our group - 30 and 75! He got surprised by Marnie's tremendous gift of a book written about HIM. A wonderful book of pictures and memories. He has read it over and over again since he received it and shown it to many people. What a gift.
2. It was great because we had 20 people traveling together in a sort of grouping. We saw each other at dinner most nights and often played games together (winning 6 ships on a stick for trivia and Audrey's moonwalk!) and danced together and even sang karaoke together. We got to know Erik's sister Jen and his uncle Dave and Aunt Sis who were so great. Sis told jokes very well and Dave was a ringer for George W Bush and just easy to be with. It was nice to run into friends and family throughout the day.
3. It is always great if I get to be with Geoff and he brought Vicki who was FUN - a singer, dancer, and great companion. And who can forget singing "These boots are made for walking" and "Help Me Rhonda!"
4. I am blessed by having friends from church who don't talk about church on a trip
like this. Instead they are just friends to eat, drink, and play with.
5. I love traveling with young adults - although they are not so young - in their 30's and 40's(!) but they keep me younger on a cruise. Without their encouragement (insistence) I never would have been dancing as much!
6. We had some wonderful stops along the way - at Coco Cay, St. John, Peurto Rico and Grand Turk. I got beach time and shopping and just exploring a little bit. Wonderful.
7. I love having time to do nothing - and to read. I read "The Corrections" by Jonathon Franzon which was really good, really dense and I needed the entire week to finish it. I will always think of that book when I think of this trip.
That's a few highlights. Since I have been home, I don't like to talk too much about the trip because I think everyone would love to be able to do this every year and we try to. It really is a week away from the cold and the ice and the responsibilities and the grind of my daily life.
As I sat in church yesterday and prepared to receive communion I was struck by the "realness" of my "real" life. I live in the midst of the struggles and the joys of life and I love it. And I feel blessed to be a spiritual presence often in the darkest times.
However, it is very good to get away from it all once a year.