OPINION COLUMNS

Observations from the cruise

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jo and I returned recently from a cruise. We sailed out of Galveston, spent seven days touring the Caribbean and returned to Galveston.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

We had a wonderful time. Here are a few things we observed/learned on the trip:

  • The Decatur-to-Galveston route isn’t complicated. Get on Interstate 45 and drive until you’re worn out.
  • Some of the nicest, most personable people on the planet are cruise devotees.
  • It’s possible to identify a veteran cruiser by looking into his/her eyes for a moment or two. The veteran cruiser is not especially patient with long lines but there is a kind of resignation to the whole deal (how long the line is, how long the process will take, etc.)
  • The eyes of a rookie cruiser are very busy. The rookie is afraid he/she will miss something. The rookie doesn’t feel at ease in any line until he/she asks a veteran, “Am I in the right line?”
  • It is impossible to become tired of the food on a cruise. If you can’t find something you want to eat, you would probably complain if they hung you with a new rope.
  • The entertainment on a cruise ship is remarkable. I’m no globe trotter. Maybe I could be described as “urban,” but I never thought I’d ever cruise around for seven days on a ship that has an ice skating rink.
  • I fell in love with reggae music. Watched a 2-year-old child moving to the music with some of the most genuine “moves” I’ve ever seen. No one taught the child how to do that. The scene was a most refreshing example of the profound qualities of music and the irresistible effect of music on a beautiful child.
  • Speaking of children: There were many children on the cruise. There were several babies on the cruise. I admire the people who were/are fearless enough to take a child on a journey such as this. Jo and I are not that fearless. Never would we have been that fearless.
  • There’s kind of a healing feature associated with sitting down with a cup of coffee on a ship while watching veteran cruisers and rookie cruisers in their natural element.
  • Jo and I tried to make a list of all the churches we’ve served since 1969. Good exercise. Remembering them all … in order … wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.
  • Seems that almost nobody has just one tattoo. This was pointed out to me by one of my newest friends. We met on the cruise. He didn’t have even one tat (so he says).
  • I thought of updating my resum while sipping my coffee on the ship. Years ago, the update would have been prompted by work/ministry. In my advanced age, the resum update is more likely to be associated with information to be included in my obituary.

I read a story about a miserly man who scrimped and saved until he had enough money to take a cruise. He packed lots of canned tuna for the trip, having heard that food aboard the ship was especially expensive.

One of the stewards came to him before the last evening of the cruise and invited him to a great banquet for all the ship’s guests.

The miser said, “I can’t afford to go to the banquet.”

The astonished steward said, “Sir, the cost of the banquet is included in your pre-paid fare … just like all the meals.”

We’re glad to be home. Give me a call if you’d like to go halves on a cup of coffee. We could talk about the cruise … or the rest of the journey.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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