Epilogue

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Cruising with Teens

Life returned to normal very quickly after our return from the Millennium cruise – quickly, as in the next day. Kris and I went back to work, while Wells and Dan returned to high school to serve out the remainder of their sentences. Next thing we knew, it was June.

The boys’ graduation may have spelled the official end to their childhood, but I think it really ended on the cruise. It was a coming-of-age experience for them. Wells and Dan had a great time on the trip, but details are hard to drag out of teen-aged boys. Perhaps we’re better off not knowing some of the things that they experienced. I’m sure they’ll never forget, though. That’s the important thing…

Wells snagged a summer job at the local video store, while Dan became ‘The Ice Cream Man’. He drove his ice cream truck up our driveway nearly every evening, just in time for dessert. I don’t know how he was able to tolerate the electronic rendition of Three Blind Mice that blared constantly from the truck’s speaker. He’s a tough guy…

In September, the boys went their separate ways. Wells entered a university; just far enough away from home that he was forced to do his own laundry. He is majoring in biotechnology, but has his eye on the anthropology curriculum. To our surprise, he chose not to play football in his first year of college. He won the defensive and offensive MVP awards in his junior and senior years of high school, but his only athletic accomplishment in his freshman year at college was to win the Johnny Damon look-alike contest. I guess that makes him an ‘idiot’.

Dan moved to Colorado to work at a ski resort for the season. All went well until this past March, when he fell and severely injured his knee. Wells flew out to Colorado, packed the injured boy and his belongings into Dan’s car, and drove the whole mess back to New Hampshire. Dan is now recovering from surgery. He is pretty dangerous on crutches. We worked out a long-term payment plan for the ship-to-shore phone calls, but he has fallen behind. That’s OK. I can wait…

Our other son, Ryan (who you may remember from the Mercury cruise), is studying radiologic technology at a local college. He had a tremendous opportunity in January of this year to accompany his aunt, uncle and cousins on the trip of a lifetime. They spent nine days climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, followed by almost two weeks on safari. There are dozens of cool pictures linked to my homepage.

Kris is looking forward to the next school year. If the plan holds, she will teach five classes the same exact topic. This year, she is teaching chemistry and two variants of biology – a workload that would make me crumble. She and Ryan cleared a big area in the yard for a vegetable garden. With the weather conditions this year, the neighbors assume that it’s a swimming pool. There is so much water underground that our well erupts regularly in geyser fashion. New Hampshire’s Old Faithful…

For years I ignored a radio program called A Prairie Home Companion. Driving back from the camp in Maine one Sunday, the only radio station I could get was playing the show. To my surprise, it featured good live music, old-time radio drama complete with sound effects, and one of the planet’s greatest storytellers. The show occasionally gets political, which of course alienates almost exactly half of the potential audience, but I’ve made it part of my Saturday night routine.

Last December, I received advance notice of a rather unique opportunity to cruise. The radio program and its host, Garrison Keillor, had chartered HAL’s Maasdam for an August cruise out of Boston, heading north. We quickly decided to go, and came up with the bright idea of inviting our mothers along. Kris’s mother agreed without hesitation, so we booked immediately. Good thing, because two days after the cruise was announced, it sold out. It took months to convince my mother to come, too. But, as of this date, we are booked and insured.

I’m sorry to say that the insurance may never have been a wiser investment. While our mothers are fit and raring to go, our fathers present quite a different picture. Kris’s father has suffered with Alzheimer’s disease for more than ten years – well past the average survival period (he has since passed away). My father has been hospitalized since Easter with a series of problems. He has pretty much lost interest in living despite everyone’s best efforts to be supportive. My father turned 85 yesterday, and we’ll conduct a birthday party at his bedside this coming weekend. Your prayers are welcomed for both of our fathers.

So realistically, there is a possibility that come August we will be attending to family issues rather than cruising. However, if all goes well, the theme of the next cruise will be “Cruising With the Mothers on Maasdam”. Not Celebrity, I know, but they haven’t invited me back. If they do, we’ll be glad to take the mothers to Alaska any old time. Assuming the Maasdam trip is interesting (and I don’t see how that could be avoided), I’ll write about it and publish it on the HAL board. I’ll start all over again at Part I over there. I think the uninitiated, seeing “Part 51”, might be frightened off.

As for me, I’ve been working on the book version of the Galaxy cruise story (now available). That’s not news exactly, because I’ve been working on it in fits and starts for two years. I’ve done a lot of editing, removing some material, supplementing other material and adding a whole new introductory section. I am self-publishing the book, and it will be available sometime in August. Amazon.com will carry it, and I am hopeful that Celebrity will sell it onboard their ships. I never got a lousy t-shirt from CruiseCritic, but I hope they’ll offer the book in their store, too.

And that’s about it. It has been an extreme pleasure for me to hang around here with you. I hope we meet again some day…

All the best,

chesterh

p.s. We never did find the missing tux shirt. I really don’t want to know where it went. Neither does Kris…

Next Story: Prairie Home Companion – Cruising with the Mothers on Maasdam


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