Cruise Tales – 2015 South and East Caribbean #9: Stanford Joseph of St. Thomas

Today’s cruising adventure involved local transportation as we exited our ship in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin islands, took a taxi to the ferry boat, ferried to St. John and taxied to Cinnamon Bay. Then we retraced our route back to the ship. It is always interesting to meet random persons by chance. Today on the ferry we met Stanford Joseph of St. Thomas.

Jill and I sat down in a row of three seats to the left of the ferry and put our beach bag between us. The seats were narrow and the extra room was welcome. More people came aboard until it was apparent that seat was needed, so I pushed the bag under the seat and slid left. Soon an elderly man took the seat to my right. He had ebony skin, slightly graying hair and was dressed in a white shirt, black pants and matching black tie.

‘Are you a local businessman?’ I inquired. ‘Yes, I own my own company, Supreme Printers.’ This led me to ask a second question: ‘Do you have today off for Good Friday?’ ‘I do. In fact, I am heading to my church to play the piano during today’s noon service.’ Conversation flowed and he introduced himself as Stanford Joseph. He related that he played piano for St. Ursula’s Episcopalian Church in St. John.

We talked about business and I was shocked that he started working in the early 1960s. Stanford was 76 years old, but looked at least fifteen years younger. Over the years he did work in typesetting, copy editing and was even a track and field coach. I told him about my passion for the sport of running and my own experience as a distance runner. He mentioned how one of his six children was a track athlete and now a coach, while a grandson is now running competitively.

‘Are you going to sell your business and retire in the next few years?’ ‘No,’ he replied. Many family members work with me in the business. I will probably slow down sometime.’ Do you think? I guess that is what keeps him young.

We arrived in St. John and said our ‘goodbyes.’ Stanford disappeared into the crowd as he hurried to his church. Jill and I felt drawn to go to the Good Friday service, but he was gone and we had our own itinerary. That twenty minutes spent conversing with Stanford was a wonderfully random part of our cruise adventure.

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About garyscohen

Gary Cohen is an enthusiast for the sport of running including magazine/essay writing, blogging, interviews, coaching, public speaking, leading trail runs in Central Florida and announcing at track meets.
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