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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BBH 444

Blueberry Hill report 444 – The main part of our veggie garden consists of 4 beds that are each 4 feet wide and 37 feet long. Two smaller beds were adjoining this at the top of the hill and I decided to till all this up into one plot that is about 8 feet wide and 15 feet long. The main part of the garden had already been planted and reported on in a past writing – the smaller area has now been planted.

The smaller plot usually contains flowers and/or other misc. veggies. This year I decided to only plant tomatoes in it, different varieties in case some of the others didn’t do well. This area now contains three rows, each with 5 tomato plants residing therein. First row has three “Big Beef” plants and two “Celebrity” ones, the next one has five “Celebrity” and the last has five “Rutgers” – all are doing well.

Another item in the BBH news concerns the Paw Paw trees. I had mentioned in another writing that three of the four were in bloom but I had doubts that these would get pollinated and bring forth fruit. A later check tells me that at least two of the trees seem to have small fruit starting to grow. Still, this tree is new to me and I’m not quite sure – will keep you posted.

Going on to other news, while digging up some scrub trees on the rear of the property, I noticed the goose family in action down on the pond. The parent geese seemed to be teaching the young ones how to dive and get food from the pond bottom. This brought a smile to my face and reminded me of a family out for a day of fun and just splashing around in this liquid home of theirs.

On another day, I took the gruntmonkeys to the upper pond to check out the goslings. A group of 8-10 geese were on the near side making all sorts of racket and splashes – probably about gosling raising. Then on the far side, the two web-footed parents were swimming along with the young ones between them and were quietly going about the business of raising their offspring to be self-sufficient.

I saw a parallel in the human arena in that many folks make all sorts of noise and have a lot of theories about how to raise children. Then one can see parents quietly going about the work of striving to make responsible adults out of their young ones. With Mom and Dad bearing up through the young one’s mistakes and dumb stunts – and loving them through it all.

I know that all parents don’t get it right but the awesome young people that I see and associate with at our church really encourage me. God invented the family and it works great – if we go about it the way He intended. ec

Sunday, April 27, 2008

spring delight

It was Sunday morning and it started in the usual ways and I readied myself to go to church. The Spice was ailing so this was a solo trip. After leaving the house I had to go across the driveway over the pond dam to do an errand for MIL. I noticed a dead snake that was about halfway across and right away I felt inspired to not do any more nighttime walking, in spite of the staff I carry.

Was I the one to cause this no-shouldered critter to assume ambient temperature? I was not – but found out later that BIL had run over this cold-blooded, dust eating, unappreciated and slithering creature the evening before. I neither rejoiced in its demise, nor wept at its death site. Even this creepy reptile has a place in God’s grand plan of continuing creation.

The tires on the van bumped and sang the tunes of uneven pavement that told of many things. The words to the song spoke mostly of I-20 road construction along the section of roadway that I must traverse on the way to church. That song was the only partial detractor along the route because my eyes were treated to the new green leaves the deciduous trees were showing off.

Even the late leaf growers, the Mimosas and a few of the oaks, now have tiny leaves just showing their color. The pines that have been green all winter are showing new growth on the end of their limbs – this just to let the other trees know that they are into the greening of the earth also. One could say that I got to praise God for the blessing of viewing His creation even before church time.

Another blessing for which I’m grateful is the fact that we received rain a couple of days after I finished planting the garden. This moisture came at an ideal time to help the seeds germinate. Now my expectations are even greater to see the tiny sprouts break the surface of the soil but I will have to wait at least a week for the culmination of this delight – I say again, spring is a wonderful thing. ec

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BBH 437

During the process of some outside work, YD came by on the way to pick up GM3 from K5. Her two young ones were with her and since she had a little extra time, I took GM4 and GM6 down to the pond to show them the goslings. We tramped around the lower pond but didn’t find them. I knew that they would be somewhere close because the little ones couldn’t fly yet.

We went up to the neighbor’s pond, known in these writings as the upper pond, and espied them on the far side of this body of water. We hiked around to that side and were able to see them fairly close before they swam off in a line between the parent geese. The young lads were awed and amazed at the sight but they didn’t want them to keep swimming away from us.

I was able to get my garden tilled up last Saturday in spite of a stubborn, hard to crank tiller – this is the tiller that I just bought last year. There must have been a piece of trash in the carburetor because when I took the air filter off and blew it out with compressed air, it started right up. Reaching the proper tilth required multiple tills over the same soil and I was very ready for a rest when I finished.

On Monday, I went to get some seed and tomato plants at my usual place and they had quit selling seed except in pre-sealed packets. But even in those they didn’t have the type cucumber I wanted – bummer! This required a trip to my back-up feed and seed store and fortunately they did have the right seed. I also got some fertilizer and a couple bags of pulverized limestone for soil neutralization.

I got back home in time to plant the cucumbers and tomatoes (Big Beef) before dark. On Tuesday I planted the squash (Yellow Crookneck) and okra. The okra is from seed that I had saved from season’s end last year. I let several pods remain on the stalks to mature and dry every year. All that remains then is to pick the dried pods, remove the seed, containerize it and place it in the freezer.

This seed is an heirloom one that came to me from my older brother and he got his from our uncle in Mississippi many years ago. Most okra is too tough and stringy when it gets longer than 6 inches but this one is still tender when 10-12 inches long. It is called “cow horn” okra – a country name – and this is because when it gets longer, it starts to curve like a cow’s horn – still tasty though.

The garden is now planted except for the small bed on top. Now residing there are the three extra tomato plants and I have decided to finish it up with tomatoes of a different type. Today was declared a rest day and I only went outside to go to YD’s for supper. Now there is only the waiting in great expectation for the first sprouts to break the ground and the small tomato plants to grow larger.

Got did good when He invented spring y’all! ec

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BBH 430

Blueberry Hill report number 430. First item of interest is that while we were on the cruise, the geese on the ponds behind the house hatched out five goslings. They seem to spend most of their time in and around the upper pond – our neighbor has a feeder set up – but I have seen them in the lower one behind our house and even over around the back of MIL’s house.

Whether they are on land or water, the smaller of the two adult geese leads the parade with the little gangly fluffs in a row and the larger adult bringing up the rear of the procession. I don’t know for sure but this may be the same two that raised five young ones to adulthood here last year. They are good parents and always keep a close eye on the little ones – some humans could learn from them.

Next item was the 2nd concrete block soil retaining wall in the garden. I worked on this several days last week. This is the second and final wall for the year and it was quite a job – I didn’t feel like causing any trouble when I came in at night. When the wall was finished, the cavities in the blocks were filled with sand to make it harder for them to house pests, be they insects or rodents.

During these work sessions I set a low stool in the shade next to the house and occasionally rested from my labors by sitting, leaning back against the bricks and allowing my senses to take in the sights and sounds of Blueberry Hill – our little home place. This two-acre piece of property has our name on the deed but it actually belongs to God, He just allows us to use it and to be amazed at His creation.

As I sat, captivated by the birdsongs, several of the winged ones flew by. Many of these were the small garden varieties but I was treated by the sight of a large woodpecker coming by with its seemingly unorthodox way of flying. It would flap a few times and then fold its wings and plummet ahead, then went through this same process over and over until it was out of sight.

During a walk-around of the property I noticed that the blueberry blooms are mostly all gone and in their place one could detect very small berries starting to grow. These will ripen into a harvest that starts around the first of June and can be picked for about a month. Three of the paw-paw trees have bloomed but I don’t know if they were pollinated or not, I’m still learning about these trees.

All the way around the house the trees and bushes are leafing out fairly well and all but the small fig trees on the bedroom end seem to be doing OK. These figs must have been nipped with a light frost and are struggling somewhat. The pear tree out back has finished blooming and the small fruit is growing – we will have pears! The muscadines have started to put out their delicate new growth.

Wow – this is amazing stuff, find the time to stop, really perceive and allow God to bless you with what He is doing with this fresh new spring! ec

Sunday, April 20, 2008

cruise 8

Still on Friday, April 11th, we had dozed a while and got up to pack for our return to reality on the morrow. We had been given luggage tags that were numbered in the order of our departure from the ship. We packed the ones that we wanted them to take off next day and tagged them. We left out our necessities to carry off ourselves. Then we got ready and went for our last evening meal on ship.

The restaurant serving personnel were the same every night and we got to know each other during the week. The service had been good all week albeit a little slow, she seemed to have too much to do. The meal was good as was the conversation and fellowship. The show of the night was a talent show of passengers on the cruise, so I left the Spice to find us a seat and went down to set out our heavy luggage for the ship’s personnel to handle. We were to have the bags out before 11pm.

Then it was back upstairs to check out the talent show. All the talent people were dressed like famous singers and each sang one of the songs for which this person was known. It was a hoot! Some were just hilarious but a couple of them singing country songs were quite good. We enjoyed the show and went back down to crash and found our bags gone as they said they would be.

Next morning, April 12th, we were up fairly early and since the number of our group was 23 out of 40, we knew we would have time to eat b’fast before we were called. We went up and had a leisurely breakfast with the couple we rode down with. We could hear the numbers called in the dining area, so when it started getting close we went back down for last minute stuff and to get our carry off bags.

After a short wait our number was called and we got in line to depart the vessel. I was a little concerned because it had been quite a while since I had been through customs and then only twice and those before 9/11. We were directed which way to go and the documents to have out and we breezed right on through security, customs and immigration without any problems.

Then I was concerned that our transportation back to the hotel might not be there – the non-trusting person that I am at times. They were supposed to be outside holding a sign with our names on it and there he was just like they said. We took our bags to the shuttle van, loaded them and then had to wait on our friends because they were group number 32 in the order of debarking.

They came out, we got their bags loaded and set out back to the hotel where their SUV was parked. Their vehicle was still there so we loaded our bags inside and headed back north. It was a trip of pleasant conversation and laughter and even though it lasted about 6½ hours, it seemed to fly by. We arrived back at the church parking lot, loaded our stuff in our old Honda and headed home.

It was a week of great adventure on a very good cruise ship, a week of good food and great variety, so much so that I was very curious when we got back as to what numbers would show on the bathroom scales. I was pleased that they told me that at the most, I might have gained one pound. I was surprised at this because of the grazing that had taken place all week.

It was also a week of sightseeing that was mind expanding or experience expanding – glad it wasn’t waistline expanding. Most of all it was a great time of the Spice and I getting away from the daily routines at home to just enjoy being together. God is good, all the time and I am glad. ec

cruise 7

When we awoke on Friday, April 11th, the ship was tied up in Nassau, Bahamas. We were up and about a little earlier than usual because we had booked a tour at 10:30am. We got a bite to eat and headed down to meet the folks that would take us on the tour. Outside the ship was a man holding up a sign for this event, as there were others holding up other signs for other adventures.

We followed our sign man down the long pier to the first street in town where we were divided among several mini-van taxis. As it turned out I rode in the front seat next to the driver. The tour was listed as an historic one and we were shown government office buildings and several old churches. We continued to the highest part of the island to an old fort – Fort Sincastle.

We were let out for a few minutes and I climbed to the top of the ramparts and got an excellent view of the town below and the harbor with four cruise ships moored – ours being one of them. I attempted to make a photo but I was unfamiliar with the camera and it didn’t cooperate. This was a rocky area and we viewed a long stairway that slaves had carved out of solid rock.

The flowers we saw in yards and growing wild were very beautiful. An amazing red flowered vine we saw was the Bougainvillaea and also viewed many eye catching Oleanders. The driver told me the national flower of the Bahamas was the Yellow Elder and we saw many examples of this one as well. He also told us that most of the people were Baptists and we saw a large Baptist church that was violet in color – seemed odd to me but must not have been to them.

There were also some ‘monuments’ to American businesses in the form of KFC, Wendy’s and McDonald’s along the roadside. We stopped at another old fort called Fort Charlotte and it too was out of rock, much of it carved. This whole area seems to be one large rock with a little dirt on top in places. This was a much larger facility and at one time housed a prison and torture rooms.

We were brought back to our point of departure and thought we would shop a bit but only made it to one store and it was so hot that we were ready to go back to the ship. They were having a drawing in the one place we stopped and we waited around perchance we might win a five carat sapphire – we didn’t but one of the couples in our church group did! They were glad and we were glad for them.

We made the long trek back and went to the buffet where we usually eat b’fast and lunch. We sat by the window facing out to the ocean and were amazed by the number of boats and yachts that were constantly in and out. On the other side of this main boat channel was a long slim peninsula that was occupied by a dozen or so VERY nice waterfront homes – one of which belonged to Nicholas Cage.

We stayed there and admired the scenery a while and then went topside to make some photos – after I was instructed how to do so by the Spice. We were going to stay up and view the ship’s departure but we were tired and hot and went down to the cabin. On the cabin TV there was one channel that was a live feed looking forward where the ship was going and I viewed the departure on that.

It was a good but tiring day and I was grateful for having viewed many items of God’s handiwork. ec

Saturday, April 19, 2008

cruise 6

Thursday, April 10th, came into recordable history and I was up a bit before the Spice so she told me to just go on up to the restaurant and she would be along when she spiffed up a bit. I did so and got us a seat by the window in order to watch the passing waves and any other miracle that happened by. When my beloved arrived she told of her experience coming up to this 9th level eating-place.

It seems that a young lady got into the elevator ahead of her Mom and pushed every button before she could stop her. They were on level two and went down to one and 0 levels, then to almost every level all the way up. Evidently this was a first time adventure for her because every time the door would open the little girl would giggle, much to the chagrin of her Mom.

This was to be another day at sea in route to Nassau, Bahamas. When we finished eating we went to the shops on board to get some souvenirs for the grands – mostly t-shirts. The Spice went back to the cabin and I went to the Amber Palace for a debarkation talk. I was early for the talk and a bingo game had just started with the prize of $1,199.00, so I just waited around for the talk.

The game went on for quite a while and finally the guy seated next to me got bingo and both he and his wife leaped up yelling – I probably would have too. They checked his numbers on the computer they had on stage and then a lady came down with a fistful of cash and counted out $1,199.00 right there – they were all smiles to say the least.

Needless to say, the debarkation talk wasn’t nearly as exciting as that but a necessary thing because it told of the process of getting our bags off the ship when we got back to Florida. With this info safely stored in my mind – ha – I returned to the cabin and we both went topside, her to read and I to wander. There I noticed the walking track and decided I needed to walk since I had not all week.

Went down to don proper clothes for this and came back up and started out. The track was equal to 1/9 of a mile per lap and I set out to walk at least thirty minutes. One side of the track was OK but the other was a fight against about a 25-mile per hour wind and was a bit of a struggle. I managed to walk 2 miles plus one lap in the time I had allotted for this and it felt good – after I got through.

We had not had lunch and went to the restaurant to discover that the main serving lines had closed down in prep for the next meal. Fortunately the smaller specialty spots were open and we got a sub for our sustenance. The Spice finished reading her book and later we got ready for the evening meal.

This was the second formal night for dining; some of the guys wore suit and tie and some were much less formal shall we say. My preference again was slacks with a sport coat worn over a colored t-shirt. This was comfortable to me and more fit my tastes and personality.

After the meal we went in to check out the show for the evening and found it to be of the singing and dancing Las Vegas type and we departed shortly. We went back to the cabin and waited around to check out the special midnight buffet with the ice sculptures and such. It was a mob scene at first but the place cleared out quickly. We did get a few tidbits to munch but not too much to sleep on.

We went back to our cabin knowing that God is good, all the time. ec

Thursday, April 17, 2008

cruise 5

Still on Tuesday, April 8th, we readied ourselves and went up for the evening meal, this was always a high point of the day for me in that we met back up with our friends and found how their day went. Good friends are a great treasure and we enjoyed these convivial friends every evening. After the meal we went to the evening show in the large auditorium called the Amber Palace.

The show was called Justin Illusion, it was a magic show in which he and his assistants would be put in boxes and seem to disappear and then reappear in other places. Between tricks they had acrobatic dancers that were good at what they did as well. The illusions were well done, impressive and entertaining – we enjoyed the show and then went back to the cabin to crash for the night.

Wednesday and Thursday were to be days at sea and I greeted April 9th by going to b’fast solo, the Spice wasn’t feeling very lively and slept in. April 9th was my Mom’s birthday – she passed in 1997. I went to the buffet, gathered some vittles and found a seat by a window to eat and enjoy the scenery. An unknown type of white bird flew beside the ship – not a gull because it was constantly flapping its wings. Later five of the same variety swooped down close to the surface and then on out of sight.

I witnessed 4 or 5 instances in which flying fish would leap out of the water, soar for a ways and dive back into the sea. I have read that they do this to escape predators but I believe that they would also do it because it was fun and just because they had that ability – at least if I could I would. Amazing!

Then it was topside for me to look around and all there was to see off the liner was only water all the way around. I did see a lonely sailboat quite a ways off – it looked very small but anything would look that way along side this huge liner. Hopefully they knew where they were and what they were doing. Back in the cabin, the Spice arose and we went back up to get her a bite to eat.

She got something for breakfast and by the time we got her food; I was ready for lunch since it was about 1pm. We found seats next to the window again and shortly a family came to the booth next to us and at our invite they took one of our seats to accommodate all their crew. They were from Kentucky and we chatted with them quite a while. Then one from our group came by about time for dessert so we got some sweets and sat with them to laugh and chat quite a while longer.

We then noticed that they were cleaning the dining area so we departed to wander around a bit. We shortly parted company with them and went back to the cabin. We were to have another port of call but due to the hurricane last year it was too torn up still and this gave us an extra day at sea. The place we would have gone was Costa Maya – I don’t remember even knowing it existed.

The evening meal was good, the company and conversation was better and afterwards we skipped the show and wandered some more before crashing for the night. Amazing or even astounding would not be adequate words to describe the creations of God that we had encountered thus far on our trip, nonetheless the scenery was all that and a bag of chips. ec

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

cruise 4

We awoke on Tuesday, April 8th, to the announcement that we were anchored off the shore of Belize. This was because their harbor was too shallow for the large ships. Everyone going ashore would have to go by shuttle boats, called tenders. Those that had signed up for excursions here left first, we did not and went to breakfast – a very important part of the day – for me anyway.

A little later we took a boat in to check out the place and found it very hot – said to be 95F by several folks. We poked around the shops to see what they had and only got off the main shopping area once to check out another shop on the back street. When we did, we walked the gauntlet of several guys that wanted us to take a tour with them or to sell us something – we just walked on by.

In one of the shopping areas I saw the largest ceiling fan of my life, the blades spanned about 12 feet and did cool that one spot very well. We soon tired of the heat and took a tender boat back to the ship. There were two large tenders and several smaller ones that were running continuously to ferry folks back and forth from ship and land. We probably should have taken one of the approved tours.

We went back to the cabin to freshen up a bit and then up to the Red Sail Restaurant – the buffet area. This eatery has two buffet counters with two lines each and other areas for the desserts. I will tell you up front that I tried some calorie-laden delicacies that I had never heard of before. These were OK but I found myself longing for fruit pies and that was not a happening thing.

In addition to the other lines there were several other counters – one for Chinese food, another for deli sandwiches, one for pizza and some grills near each swimming pool that served hot dogs and hamburgers. There were two main restaurants for the evening meals and all passengers were assigned one or the other as well as being assigned a certain table for the cruise. These were the Golden and the Platinum – we were in the Golden at table 139 with two other couples from church.

I was curious about the number of folks on board and went to the purser’s desk to ask – I was amazed to find that there were 3,545 passengers and 1,150 crew. This was like a floating city. The Spice went back to the cabin and I went topside to witness the ship’s departure from its mooring. The time came to depart and we had not done so – boats were still bringing passengers back.

Finally one of the two gangway ramps was closed but the other stayed open and I wondered what this was about. This mystery was solved shortly when another boat arrived and several came aboard. And then another small boat came just after that – this last one had brought a passenger back that was strapped to a stretcher. I still don’t know if it was a problem from the heat or some sort of injury. After this the ship set out for open waters.

The leaving was a bit comical in that the water was so shallow – at least for a vessel of this size – that the propellers stirred up a muddy trail as we departed – and for quite a distance. Although the day didn’t hold any great adventures, I was still grateful to the One that created this great mass of water. ec

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

cruise 3

Next morning the PA system in the hallway informed us that we were docked in Cozumel – the speaker also told of the documents we would need to exit and re-board the ship. Many folks that had booked various adventures and tours were already out and about. We arose and went up to get a bite to eat. We got a window seat and watched the travel of various boats around the area.

There was a smaller Carnival cruise ship just leaving the port accompanied by what looked to be a Mexican military boat, don’t know what that was about. Another boat that looked to be a ferry set out loaded down with people. A couple of para-sailing boats were doing their thing in the bay. Another touring boat set out, as did several boats that were taking scuba divers out to the reef for a look-see.

Some fishing boats were also leaving on this very clear, very aqua colored sea. It had to be deep for the ships to even be docked there, but it looked like you could almost see the bottom and it was absolutely beautiful. We finished eating, went by the cabin for some necessary things and then got off the ship to see what this Mexican island was all about – this was our first visit there.

We were docked to a concrete pier that went several hundred yards out from the shore. We walked the distance and encountered a road that was lined with shops and the locals were striving to make a living from the tourist’s dollars. We toured in and out of many of those, at least the ones that were on our list of reputable stores. We enjoyed the sights and sounds and endured the heat. They said it was only about 80F but it seemed much hotter – maybe they have a different sun than in the US.

We bought a few t-shirts in Del Sol – all products in the store change colors in the sun, their trademark. We also bought a couple of bottles of Mexican vanilla for the daughters. We finally tired of this venture and started back toward the ship. Many taxis and horse carriages were there for folks to ride and one of carriages was stopped in the street with its driver inside a store for a break.

Suddenly the horse just started walking away without a driver. A couple of the workers at the shop grabbed the reins and this caused the horse to turn into traffic and into a near miss with an auto. This halted the flow of cars until they could finally get the horse to straighten back up. About this time the driver showed up, the horse started off again without him and he had to run to get aboard.

We walked on by and all the shop workers were really having a laugh at this whole event. I felt sorry for the horse because of the rough treatment, as well as having to just be out in the hot sun. It seemed like the horse had had enough of the whole scene. It had only taken us a couple of hours to see all we wanted to see and we went back aboard to find a cool place – our cabin.

We went to an earlier show before supper – a juggler that was very good at what he did and a comedian that wasn’t particularly comical. We then went to supper and enjoyed the company of our fellows and the fellowship enhanced meal. We bummed around the ship a bit and went back to the cabin to crash for the evening. I was grateful to the Lord for the many sights and sounds of the day. ec

cruise 2

Saturday evening, still April 5th, we got ready and went to our late seating – 8:30pm – at the Golden Restaurant. The restaurant and table was assigned and we sat with two other couples from our group. We ate while we talked and laughed, the food was good, as was the dessert but the conversing and fellowship was even better.

We finished about 10pm and went with the other couples to the “welcome to the cruise” show. One part of this was to pick four folks out of the audience to perform for everyone and it was hilarious. One of these was from Augusta but I didn’t know her. This reminds that as we were leaving the port on Sat evening and as I was watching this event, a young lady nearby asked me if I was from Augusta as she was. I was at a loss as to how she might have guessed this until I realized that I had a “Master’s” had on – from the tournament we have in Augusta every year – didn’t know her either.

The comedian that followed the audience participation stunt was reasonably comical; although he forgot a couple of times that this was a family audience. After the show, some of our fellows spoke of going to the midnight buffet but this old guy had had enough and we went back to the cabin to crash for the evening.

We got up and out about 9:30am on Sunday morning – April 6th – had a leisurely breakfast at the buffet restaurant, the largest on board and set out to explore the ship. We crossed paths with several of our group from church and chatted a while. I try to stay out of the sun as much as possible unless I am doused down with sunscreen and that wasn’t the case, so we decided to go back into the restaurant during their slack time to find a table by the window to view the ocean.

We came upon some other good friends and just had a wonderful time laughing, talking and viewing the blue-green waters. It was after lunchtime so we decided to get a bite to eat while there. We continued to converse and discovered that they had found a part of the ship that we had not, so they led us to the gym and exercise part of the ship. Many were taking advantage of the equipment there.

We then poked around in some of the shops on board out of curiosity but didn’t buy anything at that time. We then came back to the cabin to kick back a while, in fact I dozed, it was just a very relaxing day. The day had been warm and while the seas were not like glass, they were mostly calm. It had been a bit choppy last night with even this large ship shifting around a bit on occasion.

The dining for the evening was declared formal and we had brought clothes somewhat in that direction. My version of this was slacks, sport coat and a navy t-shirt – much more formal than many of the guys at our seating. The Spice, as always, looked very sharp in her finery. This was one of two formal nights we were to have on the voyage.

Instead of going to the nightly show after the meal we did a bit of exploring and went topside for a look-see and deemed that the night was dark, made more so by the lights strung along the top of the ship. We shortly went back to the cabin for the evening feeling blessed to be on the trip and being amazed by God’s handiwork. ec

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Friday morning, April 4th, arrived without great fanfare and this is normal – no fans to make fanfare. This was the day we were to leave to make connections for our cruise. We finished the packing that we had started the night before. We loaded up the car and headed to the church to meet our very good friend couple we were riding with. We met and packed our luggage in their SUV.

We left our car and one of theirs in the parking lot, with permission of course, and headed south. Our destination was the Doubletree Hotel in Cocoa Beach, FL. We had a couple of pit stops along the way, one of which was to get a bite to eat. We stopped at a triple hitter restaurant that included KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut – something for all tastes and all under one roof and behind one counter.

As we got back on the interstate highway I noticed the wild flowers that were blooming along the shoulders of the on ramp. These were multi-colored and beautiful; they were waving a bit and seemed to be smiling at us as we passed by. I felt this natural sight was something God had prepared for me to enjoy. The journey seemed to fly by as we laughed and talked all the way.

It was after dark when we got to the area of the hotel and none of us had been to that location before but as we got close, we called ahead by cell phone and they directed us in. We got checked in and went up the street to the Waffle House to get a small bite to eat. More talking and laughing saw us through the meal and back to the hotel and we crashed for the night.

Our hotel was on the beach and next morning, April 5th, we got a great view as we waited for time to depart, but we had no time to enjoy it fully. We had made arrangements for a shuttle to the boat, so we ate b’fast at the hotel, checked out and got all our baggage outside. The hotel allowed us to leave the SUV in their parking lot so we loaded up in the shuttle van and headed for the ship.

Palm trees and other Florida vegetation were all along the road to Port Canaveral – our departure point. As we got closer, the cruise liner got larger and larger – it is the Carnival Glory by name and one of their larger ships. We pulled into the directed area, left our large bags with a porter and headed for the security section. We breezed through that and went on to the check-in counter. Many people were doing this but it went smoothly because we had all the proper documents.

We got on the ship and wandered around until we found our cabin for the voyage. We left our carry-on bags and went up to the buffet area where they were serving the passengers. Cruise ships are usually known for good food and plenty of it and this one was no different – I knew I was going to have to be careful. We then had a mandatory lifeboat drill before we left the dock.

The Spice went back to the cabin and I went topside to see the liner leave the dock. It was amazing to me to see something that large leave out so smoothly. The ship seemed absolutely huge until we got out in the ocean and we were dwarfed by the enormity of that. God’s handiwork is awesome! ec

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I think we made a mistake in Wal-Mart recently – other than the one about spending too much money. We bought a large bag of assorted chewy candy – mostly of the tootsie roll type. Our excuse was that they would be “for the grandchildren”.

The mistake and problem lies in the fact that we are here with the candy more than the gruntmonkeys are. We keep our treats for them in the pantry and in a large Tupperware container. To further describe the problem would be to say that every time I come close to the pantry, these delightful chewy treats seem to be calling out to me.

I have tried to reason with this tempting feeling by saying OK, I’ll just take one but that doesn’t work very well and I take several “because they are small” – not good. Then there is the after the fact reality of having to chew on carrots to get the evidence out of my teeth. God is good to provide wonderful things like this but is there such an organization as “tootsie rolls anonymous”?

The Spice and I are leaving tomorrow to sail on a cruise Saturday and writing from this computer will be very quiet to nonexistent. But I will fill you in on the entire cruise in minute detail ad nauseam when we return. ec

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Happy birthday to me,
Old codger that I be,
Never thought I’d live this long,
Think I’ll go prune a tree – (or tree a prune).

When I was born on April fools day (at home – 67 years ago) in the rural northeastern corner of Mississippi, my oldest sister asked my Mom in a very concerned voice, “Mama, is he going to be a little fool?” Little did anyone know that she was to be somewhat of a prophetess – large smile? God has been good to me – all the time, even when I didn’t think so. ec