Today is our second sea day in a row and last day of our week and a half cruise. After Easter Sunday service we headed back to our room and prepared for the late morning activities. We both put on bathing suits as we packed our towels, sunscreen and books. Then I put on my running shoes. ‘Why are you going to run?’ asked Jill. After about one millisecond I replied, ‘That’s what I do.’ And so we were on our way to the thirteenth deck, one level above the pool. We set up to chairs and I decided to try running on the seventh deck. I heard it was less than three laps to the mile compared to nearly six laps to a mile on the twelfth deck jogger’s track.
I started my run on the seventh deck and there were many walkers strolling at a leisurely pace. I walked when I needed to get through crowded areas and also along the shuffleboard courts. ‘You’re supposed to run on the upper deck,’ I was told by one guest who must have been a Walmart security guard! But it was just way, way too difficult to run, so after a lap I took the elevator to deck twelve and the jogger’s track.
Ten laps there would even me out at two miles in total, so off I went. The basketball court at the stern had a few players and, with light winds, they had a chance to hit a few buckets. There weren’t many people walking which was good as I increased my pace each lap. ‘Hello, Gary,’ I heard from two teenage girls. They saw me sing with the ‘Fab Four’ early in the cruise and so I had a bit of notoriety. By the last couple of laps I was definitely under seven minute mile pace. ‘You’re fast,’ one of the girls said as I ran by at pretty strong effort. I walked it off, caught my breath and headed over to the two chairs Jill and I had prepared with beach towels. But first it was time for a dip in the pool.
The water felt great and I could taste the salt on my lips. I grazed an older gentleman as the water gently rocked to and fro with the boat and we struck up a conversation. He was from New Jersey and looked the part of a Mafioso. ‘It feels great in here after running,’ I said. ‘The only thing I ran was numbers!’ Yep, I was right. When he found out I was from Orlando, we were talking about everyone up north wanting to move south. Another guy, about thirty years old, said he was from Miami and joined the conversation. After ten minutes discussing the recession, rebound and increasing home prices in Florida, I was cooled off and rejoined Jill on the sun deck.
Actually I had a short stop poolside as my young ‘fans’ were there. ‘Are the two of you sisters? I asked. ‘Everyone thinks that, but we are just friends,’ one replied. They were Emma and Sarah from Pennsylvania and were high school seniors. Emma was going to go to Penn State. I wished them well and finally made it to the sun deck one level above the pool. Jill was reading and I joined her. My book of choice this trip has been ‘Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories,’ by Agatha Christie. It was my daughter, Monica’s, book during her teenage years and I picked it up for the trip.
Two couples were happy to find four lounge chairs available next to us and we struck up a conversation with them. Everyone enjoyed meeting new people. Butch and Denise and his friend, Al, and his wife were from Ontario and totally enjoying thawing out from a cold winter. Butch was enamored with Jill’s wedding ring. He thought it looked like a Super bowl ring, as others have before. Of course Jill said, ‘We call it the Super Bowl of love.’ We mentioned to Butch that two of the diamonds were originally in separate rings, one belonging to Jill’s grandmother and one to her great-grandmother.
Butch really liked that story and we talked about family heirlooms. He has a grandfather clock handed down to him, appropriately, by his grandfather. I mentioned having my grandpa’s last deer hunting license, his original union card from 1926 and my grandma’s cutting board. Jill also mentioned my having my grandma’s perfume bottle. It was nice reminiscing on the last day of our cruise. Thinking about the joys in the past, enjoying the present and planning for the future.