OUR STORY

CRUISING THE HIGH SEAS - LAUGHING THROUGH THE TEARS

Page 63

on the Baltic Sea. Poland was a surprise, everybody was driving new cars and there were car dealerships from every auto manufacturer we had ever heard of and several we hadn’t. The highlight was a three day stay in Saint Petersburg. It is a great city and marked the first time I had been to Russia, although Francine went several times to Moscow. The Hermitage Museum, which was the old Summer Palace for the Czars, was much more than we had expected and our expectations were high before we went. Charlie and Jean had already booked the cruise when we decided to go. They had a balcony on their cabin so we got a cheaper cabin and would have happy hour everyday on their balcony before dinner. Every country we visited was a treat. We had never seen so many blonde people as we did in Norway and Sweden.

Every cruise was a delight and each one had an interesting story. I will not try to tell them all. I do want to mention a place Francine and I both loved, Grand Cayman Island. We flew down several times and stopped there on cruises six or seven times. It got to feel like returning home, each time we returned. We loved to go snorkeling there as it is one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. We had booked a cruise that stopped there the spring before Francine died. She was looking forward to seeing a friend she had meet at Cancer Wellfit in Macon the year before who had a shop on Grand Cayman close to where the cruise ship docked. But Francine became to ill to go.

Laughing Through The Tears

Francine and I always tried to find something to laugh about everyday. This was almost our creed. I contribute much of our ability to cope with life’s problems to this. In the final months of her life, while she was in the hospice, we talked about this need to laugh and every day we made a point in doing so. Even in her most depressed state she could still manage a smile and a chuckle.

We were probably the most compatible in this regard. We both had a good sense of humor and enjoyed the same movies, television shows, plays, having to do with humor. We both enjoyed the humor in our children and our grandchildren. From Michael’s, “rat’s ass”, to Anthony’s “ I don’t say bastard, I say bustard”. From Vickie’s “ Michael’s hand is on my side of the car seat”, to William’s “I’m sulking in the next room”.

Also we tried to look on the bright side of every situation. If things were real bad one of us would say “someday we will look back on this and still cry”. Then we would laugh at that.

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