A Christ­mas cruise from hell

The Covington News - - Local news -

One year the kids were all gone, and Molly’s mother talked us into go­ing on a cruise, so we booked one from San Diego to Puerto Val­larta with stops at other fa­mous Mex­i­can re­sort des­ti­na­tions. I could say this cruise was re­ally the cruise from the deep­est parts of hell, but be­lieve me that would not even touch how bad it re­ally was. At first I was ex­cited to go. I was ready for a week of some Coronas and scenery watch­ing.

First, it took us three hours to board the ship be­cause we ended up in a line that in­cluded seven peo­ple in wheel­chairs, 14 with canes and six with walk­ers.

Our room turned out to be a 10-foot-by-10-foot dark cave, but we did have a port­hole and a toi­let at the foot of the bed that when cov­ered up made a nice chair.

Un­for­tu­nately, the port­hole didn’t open, which later proved a bless­ing as we went through a ter­rific storm. At times the waves were higher than the port­hole, and as I watched the fish swim by dur­ing this storm, even they looked scared.

The first day I put on my bathing suit and pro­ceeded to the pool deck — sur­prise — there was nei­ther wa­ter nor any scenery. The pool had bro­ken on the last trip and the promised, warm Mex­i­can Riviera tem­per­a­ture was about 55 de­grees.

Soon it was time to go get our as­sign­ments for meals. Ei­ther you re­ceived an as­sign­ment for the early seat­ing or the late one.

In those days, as now, I had stom­ach prob­lems and I needed to eat at the early set­ting. That’s when I found out, af­ter stand­ing in line for some time, that the av­er­age age of the peo­ple on the ship was 83.4, and ev­ery one of those folks were there to sign up for the early seat­ing.

No mat­ter how many Ro­laids I took for the rest of the trip, my stom­ach never ad­justed to those late seat­ings.

The en­ter­tain­ment was nice but I didn’t know how to do the Charleston, nor did I ever learn, and I was never very good play­ing check­ers. Fi­nally, I started get­ting up early so I could be first in line for bingo. If you were part of the first 50 in line, you got ex­tra cards. Molly had to res­cue me on my first and fi­nal visit to bingo be­cause af­ter I had a few (dozen) Bloody Mary’s, I thought I would lighten up the crowd. So, I started yelling Bingo soon af­ter the num­bers were called. I re­ally thought my fel­low bingo play­ers were be­ing amused; they weren’t. I still have scars on my legs from the canes.

On Christ­mas Day we stopped at Mazat­lan and spent the day at Señor Frogs, and so did the crew, which should have been scary. But, I was glad to be with them be­cause they were the youngest faces I had seen for al­most a week.

I started a brand new Christ­mas tra­di­tion that day, and that was danc­ing on ta­bles to the tune of “Santa Killed a Rein­deer.” I fell asleep that night dream­ing not about the ship from hell, but about the great times Christ­mas had brought me. I was so glad that there was a Santa, spirit or not.

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