February 14, 2005

Gary and I are home briefly from our honeymoon vacation.  We returned on Thursday evening, February 10, after a wonderful cruise to the western Caribbean for 7 days.  The ship, Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, carried 1,800 passengers (of which 40+ were members of our church in Collierville, TN) and had port calls at the island of Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman, British Virgin Islands; and Costa Maya, Mexico.  It sailed from New Orleans, where daughter Leianne lives with husband Mark, and children Amy (11) and Zack (9.9).  We went down to Louisiana a couple of days early, then sailed away on January 29, returning the following weekend, just in time for the final few days of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  The children are out of school during that week, so we stayed over to enjoy the festivities with them.  

The cruise was wonderful, needless to say.  Gary had never been out of the USA, therefore, never on a cruise, so I really enjoyed introducing him to the pleasures of being pampered on a truly splendid ship.  Grandeur of the Seas is probably the most beautiful vessel of the 8 or more I have been aboard.  Spending late January and early February in the Caribbean was also a wonderful treat.  The weather was warm and sunny every day we were away.  We had the special honor of being the “honeymooners of note" on the ship, having participated in a game show where we won over three other couples who had been married between 10 and 55 years.  The object of the game was to see which couple knew each other the best.  Wouldn’t you know that we, who have been together now only 7 months, would win over those with many more years together!!  The show was video taped and shown over the ship’s closed circuit TV, so nearly everyone on board eventually recognized us.  We also danced every evening to the ballroom dance music in the open atrium, as spectators watched from the railings on all five levels above the small dance floor, which brought us more notice.

Despite dancing and walking, the exercise of lifting fork to mouth at every delicious opportunity won out, and we both gained a few pounds that we now need to shed.  Not a fun prospect, as we plan to continue traveling again after this week at home.  There are the usual bills to pay, cars to have serviced, business (yes, even retirees still have business) matters to attend to; and, a few more dancing classes to take to build our skills.

Next week, we will be heading out to visit my long time friend, Kay Evans who was diagnosed with advanced colon and liver cancer in January.  Kay lives in the Atlanta area and needs our prayers for her recovery.  Then we want to go back to the Gulf coast to see friends and relatives along the panhandle of Florida, and down into the central part of the state.  Since neither of us has been to the Keys, we hope to have time enough for a drive down that far as well.

Our calendar for the year is filling with other trips in the planning stages.  Once I am free of duties on the Woodrun Property Owners Association board of directors next Sunday, we should be able to come and go at will, when the opportunities arise.  Our only other obligation is to assist with the Hardeman County Association for Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA), when they have the Spring tour of homes on April 30 and May 1, in Bolivar.

In May, we will be driving to the west coast to attend the Navy Nurse Corps Association’s board of directors meeting in San Diego, CA.  I have been on that board as vice president for three years now, and this will be the end of my term.  We will be visiting with any friends or relatives willing to see us along the way.  We’ve also been looking into an Alaska cruise, if the price is right, while we are out that way.

Then there are some reunions to attend for both sides of the family and high school/college gatherings this summer.  Those we will tie in with additional trips, mostly to the north and east, to see our children and grandchildren.  And, we will try to see a Broadway play in New York City, since the McClure children gave us a pair of tickets as a wedding present.

We are so happy that my mom, Becky Harding, is having a great time with my brother Stuart in St. Louis, MO, where she is staying at the Sunrise Assisted Living facility in Chesterfield.  We would not be able to go away if she was here in her home alone.  My dog, Woody, has gone to live with my grandchildren in Portsmouth, VA, so that also frees us for traveling.  Thanks to all the family who have contributed to this opportunity for us, and who have supported our desire to travel for awhile. 

We feel truly blessed to have found each other, and embrace the chance to realize dreams that we both thought would never come true.  Our newly combined family is very dear to us, and hopefully will become close to one another as we spend more times together.

Love to each of you from both of us.
Again, Happy Valentine’s Day

Bonnie & Gary

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