Thursday, May 7, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Fond Memories of Cruising With My Brother

Copyright 2015, The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist (B. Harrison)

Throwback Thursday:
Fond Memories of a 2009 Cruise

Photo Dated May 7, 2009
 John David Harrison (1947 - 2009), Jackie Jackson, Bev (The Hopelessly Hooked Genealogist)

The cruise was a spur of the moment trip. There was a flu epidemic and lots of last-minute cancellations, so some relatives and I decided to take advantage of the sale the cruise line was running to fill some cabins. I literally booked my cabin 3 days before the cruise departed. What was supposed to be a Mexican Riviera cruise turned into a West Coast cruise, due to a flu outbreak in the Mexican ports. That was fine with us, and is actually the main reason I decided to book. Besides the great deal; we got to cruise conveniently round-trip from Long Beach, California and got to stop off in Seattle, San Francisco, and Victoria, B.C.  It is one of my favorite cruises, of the nearly 30 I have been fortunate enough to take so far.  
Carnival Splendor
The 3 of us had a great time: myself, my divorced brother Dave (who went by John in his later years, but to me he will always be just "Dave"), and my step-niece Jackie.  We spent a full day in San Francisco, dining at a favorite restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf, riding the cable cars up and down the famous hills, sightseeing, shopping, and snacking on shrimp cocktails. Cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge was a highlight. Another full day was spent in Seattle, returning to all my favorite places from when I used to live near there, including of course the flower market at Pikes Place Market and the Space Needle.  I love the Pacific Northwest. Last but not least, another full in-port day was in Victoria, B.C. Sightseeing that day included a carriage ride through a beautiful flowering garden park, and High Tea and the lovely and famous Empress Hotel. 

San Francisco Cable Car

Empress Hotel, Victoria, B.C.

Empress Hotel and Flower Gardens, Victoria, B.C. 

Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington

On board ship, we all sang casual karaoke every night, Dave gambled a lot in the casino, and Jackie and I hung out around the ship doing stuff one does on a cruise.  Dave and Jackie both decided to compete for spots in the big Karaoke Idol show to be held on the main showroom stage on the final night of the cruise.  Dave was "voted" in by other passengers to portray Elvis in the show, and Jackie was voted in to portray Madonna. I will never forget seeing my brother up on that big stage, in full Elvis regalia; singing his heart out to a packed audience, and backed up by the ship's full band and professional dancers. Dave was serious about his karaoke, had done a lot of it by then, and was comfortable performing.  This was SERIOUS karaoke! They were competing for the title of Karaoke Idol. The huge ship's audience intimidated Dave just a little though. It was not his best performance, but it is one of my favorite memories of him. Jackie did a pretty good job too as Madonna.  There were a few other singers, and the show was a big hit with the audience.

Carnival Splendor

Sadly, little did I know at the time, it would be the last time I would see either of them.  They lived in California, I lived in Arizona, so get-togethers were not frequent. We kept in touch via Facebook, mostly. My brother Dave passed away suddenly just a few short months after our cruise adventure, in December of 2009. Jackie was gone within a few years after that, claimed by a complicated illness.  I am still here. I miss them both. I have fond memories of our time together on this cruise that I will cherish forever. I am so very glad we went. 

Things I learned from their untimely passing:  Carpe Diem. "Seize The Moment". Do it now, don't put things off, for we never know what tomorrow may bring.  Hug your loved ones close, and mend fences before it is too late. Work on doing your Bucket List things now, not later. Most of all, learn forgiveness. It is healing and freeing, even if those you forgive still hold their own grudges.  

I am sure they are both smiling down, saying :"Dang, we did have a pretty good ride and a lot of good times on earth, especially those cruises!".