South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 10, 2020
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June 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 12
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Publisher’s Note

"Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
a tale of a fateful trip.
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship."

Theme song from Gilligan’s Island

Okay, for the record, the ship was anything but tiny. But, other than that, our family’s recent outing aboard the high seas had all the makings of a sitcom. Or at least a good reality TV show.

It all started nine months ago as a germ of an idea, hatched by the fertile minds of my wife Carol and her sister Bobbi (who I still lust for on a daily basis, but don’t tell her I said that). With another song, "We Are Family," lilting through their blonde brains, this dynamic duo decided to secretly gather their clan together—four generations worth!—to celebrate their dad’s 80th birthday.

So, with more intrigue than that needed to construct the plot of Mission Impossible III, the plan led six of us—Ralph and Vivian (a.k.a., mom and dad, the unsuspecting couple), Bobbi and Bob, and Carol and me—to Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, for a 3-day weekend cruise. To have gotten this far was already a minor miracle, since the closest Vivian usually gets to a body of water is the bathtub. (Although, to her credit, later in the cruise Vivian was lured onto a tender – albeit the wine and two lifejackets probably helped persuade her.)

In a scene reminiscent of the old This is Your Life TV series, as we waited to board the cruise ship, from behind numerous pillars at the port terminal emerged the rest of the cruisers: the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann …. Whoops, sorry—wrong cruise again. The people who were there included family members spanning four generations: Ralph’s brother Jack, sister-in-law Karen and their son Jim and his family, Marybeth and sons Matt and Jacob; Bob and Bobbi’s crew, Ali, Jamie and Michael; and our sons Drew and Josh, daughter-in-law Kristen and—I’ll pause just a moment to let the imaginary trumpets sound—granddaughter Mackenzie, (the new Princess of the Seas who, at 14 months already has learned to cruise with the best of them.)

Like the Griswolds of the sea (remember the berets Clark bought everyone in European Vacation?), we donned baseball caps heralding Ralph’s big day. We ate, we sunned, we ate, we laughed, we ate … and we developed a family closeness we never thought possible. This was do in part because, in the interest of economy, we decided to sleep three to a cabin. Although I selflessly offered to accommodate Bobbi with Carol and me, we ended up with son Drew. If indeed three is company, 20 or more can be a bit of a crowd, especially when they decide that our cabin was the ideal family gathering spot to order room service. At such close quarters, even eating snack foods becomes an acquired art; days later, I am still finding nacho residue in my suitcase and shoes.

One highlight during a weekend that featured many had to be the discovery of a hidden talent (and I use that word loosely) within my nephew Michael, the Harvard-trained doctor who is supposed to improve the family lineage. But watching his Karaoke rendition of "Jump" has forced us all to consider pinning our collective hopes on Mackenzie instead! (I am, however, hedging my bets. Drew captured Michael’s performance on video, so there just may be some free healthcare in my future.)

Unlike the crew of the S.S. Minnow, we made it back home safe and on time. Ralph had a birthday to remember, and we all collected memories to last a lifetime.

Charles Felix, Publisher

You can reach Charles Felix at sflahospitalnews@aol.com.
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