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Patricia Shipp Lieb; published by Twilight Times Books, Solstice Publishing, Xlibris Press and Amazon Kindle.

 I like lots of space; photography, writing, reading, diddling around on the computer, playing Poker, spending time with family and friends, walking on the beach, and hiking through the woods. Author of: The Adventures of a Squirrel Named Peanut, Twilight Times Books; My Eighteenth Birthday, 1960 suspense-adventure; Solstice; Danger In The Cliffs, Solstice; Saying I Love You, poetry on Amazon's Kindle; The original version of Murders In The Swampland is available in hard-back books from Xlibris.com; Murders in the Swampland (third edition, updated) true crime now on Amazon Kindle.   

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Cruise to Nowhere

This is how it was when Evelyn and I went on a Cruise To Nowhere. And you see, this was in 1989...

I'm enchanted by the sea. Stands to reason that when my reporter friend said, "Let's take a cruise to No Where," I jumped at the idea.

The adventure would be something to write about, no doubt. After all, we both needed story ideas. I was the crime beat and city government reporter and Evelyn covered schools for the Daily Sun-Journal in Brooksville, Florida.

So when she pulled up in my driveway in her little gray sports car and tooted the horn at 6 sharp on Saturday morning, I picked up my duffel bag, camera, purse and joined her for the three-hour drive from the West Coast to Port Canaveral.

We yacked about the fun we'd have lying on the sundeck, listening to island music, taking an occasional dip in the pool and drinking Bahamas Mamas. And men. We'd surely meet a couple nice guys to dine and wine with.

We were booked on a 10 a.m. cruise, so we figured we would get to the ship by 9:30--plenty of time to settle in before departing.

This we did. We had plenty time to board. It's a good thing we did have time to spare, because with the two of us reading cruise material rather than watching our steps, we had to backtrack a couple of times to get in the proper corridor leading aboard.

On the ship, we went straight to the sun deck, found loungers and plopped down. Here, we decided, we would spend the most of the next six hours.

We chatted with some people sunning next to us. They were here on vacation from Louisiana. They had their kids with them. It seemed children traveled free.

Yes. Free.

It seemed everybody had kids.

All the MEN had kids.

I heard someone say that breakfast was being served. So we left our duffle bags on the loungers and went to eat. I was intrigued by the watermelon display carved like a Florida 'gator.

With no air-conditioner working in the dinning room, Evelyn and I were both able to stick to our diets.

When the ship started to move, we were back on our loungers and sunning on the deck.

The sun was good and hot by the time water from the ocean was finally flooded into the pool.

Time for a dip, we both said looking at each other.

We stood at the pool edge, just about to take the plunge when a lady staffer called out.

"Everybody out of the water. Everybody out except the kids who want to play tag."

Everybody's kids jumped into the small swimming pool. Everybody's kids jumped in. Remember -- kids traveled free. Kids were everywhere.

I didn't really want to swim anyway. And the water splashed on me when the kids jumped in cooled me off. And, after all, who could ask for more than a salt-water shower?

Back to the loungers. Back to the sun. I broke out in a sweat. I sat up and looked at my arms. Among the crystal balls of water running off my stinging skin were patches of black stuff.

"I'd like to know what all this black crap is that's on me," I said to Evelyn.
She opened her eyes and took a peek. "It's soot," she said, glancing at a smokestack jutting up from the deck above us.

"We're breathing all that," she said with a straight face then....closed her eyes.

This called for a Bahama Mama. I ordered one from the waiter. He brought it. I took a tiny fan out and gave it to a kid that had been leaning against my lounger staring at me. I took a sip of the drink, then glanced down at it. A slightly yellow-tinted substance was spiraling up from the ice. So much for the Bahama Mama.

After a while we decided to take our chances in the casino. We played
quarters. All I can say is that it was a good thing we didn't have to buy

On the way to dinner, I stopped to take pictures of an older couple on
a dance floor doing the tango, or something close. The man was really doing his stuff. One-two-three, hip out. One-two-three, hip out.

In the dining room, I studied over the same watermelon alligator that I
had seen at breakfast. The alligator seemed to have aged years during the past few hours, with his skin much darker red and slightly wrinkled.

Once we had picked up our food from the buffet, we were seated at
the same table with the couple I had photographed dancing. (The two I
thought I had photographed dancing. I finally noticed I didn't have film in
my camera.)

They were funny. The woman ordered a "Stinger."

The French waiter couldn't understand her. He tried to repeat her
order, but failed. The waiter was a man, I think.

"I said I want a stinger, not a stinker," she said loudly, then laughed,
sounding as if she were from the cast of "Hee-Haw."

Needless to say, the chocolate mousse I had just dipped my spoon into didn't get eaten.

We headed back to the sundeck. Surely by now island music would be playing. We later decided the musicians had missed the boat. Or perhaps they knew about the broken airconditioner. Or the soot. Or maybe the children. Traveling free.

And then there was the floor show. When I say floor show, that is exactly what I mean. The room was full of people and I, among many, ended up sitting on the floor.

The lady singer fanned herself with the tail of the long, satin gown she
wore. "I came to Florida so I'd be warm. Now I'm trying to work my way back to Broadway."

But I don't think her fanning cooled her much. She kept wiping her neck with the back of her hand then showing us how the water would drip off her fingers. And I don't think it generated enough gust to blow her north. But one thing for sure, she exited the stage much faster than she had entered.

At almost 4 p.m., Evelyn and I decided we would go to the front of the boat and beat the crowd off. That was not a wise decision.

We stood in a line in a tight hallway near the front where nothing moved except the hot breaths of moaning cruisers. Women and men and their kids.

I nudged Evelyn. "Hey, it's hotter in here than I thought". In fact, the heat rays on my burning arm were sending smoke signals to my shoulder.

"I can't believe it is so hot.


Someone had put a burning cigarette in the metal container I was
leaning against.

Another 20 minutes and we were off the ship. The cruise to No Where was over.

And no where is exactly where I'd wished I'd gone.

I'll tell you about the gambling boat, which featured singer Bertie Higgins, we took out of Medira Beach another time. Pease stay tuned.
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