Not to be confused with the 1961 film, Splendor in the Grass, which was a romantic tale about urban gardening. (I think) No, my loyal landlubbers, this title refers to the name of the ship that I recently boarded, bound for the sunny islands of the Caribbean! Our ship was owned and operated by Regent Cruises, which provided an exquisite experience, both culturally, culinarily, and alcoholically. (Think free alcohol 24 hours a day!) I’d think about it myself, but I’ve still got a hangover.
On this particular outing, we managed to obtain a huge suite, which came with an indentured servant, I mean, butler. The gentleman catered to our every need, and being a good sport, I tried to take him home with me, but he would have no part of that. (I even offered to take the maid, but he still said no. So did my wife. Very insecure people.) My only problem, which was more or less semantic, was yelling “Man overboard!” if and when I saw someone fall off the ship. They never told us what to yell if we saw a woman fall into the water. (Hooray was out of the question!)
Our captain, whose name was Serena Melani, was the first female captain of a major cruise line, and she did a remarkable job. (Except for parallel parking in St. Lucia.) Under her command, we sailed to the ports of Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), San Juan, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, and St. Barts. The weather and the water were quite spectacular, and I got to snorkel or swim at every stop, which for me, made the voyage. (The wet T-shirt contest was a bust. Too many seniors.)
As usual, we made a ton of new friends… and garnered a bunch of new readers. Among our dear comrades, was the brilliant Brian Unger, the guest speaker of the cruise. Brian regaled us with some wonderfully informative lectures, and we enjoyed the pleasure of his company at several fine meals. We also met Dr. Tobin Grigsby, the famous Urologic Surgeon… and the inventor of the world-renowned WonderStick Ice Cream Cone. (Tobin “melted” our hearts, as did his beautiful companion, Nurse Tammy Farley.) All of us were guided (more or less) by a wonderful woman named Mary, a true gem from North Carolina, a passenger who has spent more than 600 days on cruise ships! (Yes, dear ones, that is two years! She must be wanted for something back in North Carolina!)
Now, for those of you who are still residing in Austin, please note that I will be speaking at the Lakeway Men’s Club on the morning of March 16th. (My semi-brilliant lecture will concern my latest historical masterpiece, GONE BEFORE GLORY.) We are expecting a full house, and I’m sure this will be another memorable event. (I should thank my “booking agent,” Mr. Loyd Smith, for setting this up. The man is simply incredible. I will also be speaking (on the same subject) at Brookdale Gaines Ranch in April, but I’m not sure of the exact date yet.
Speaking of books… I would like to mention that ALL royalties accrued for the next 6 months, will be donated to various Ukrainian relief efforts, so if you want to contribute, now’s your time to buy a great book and do something wonderful for others. (I will be happy to autograph any copies purchased during this period.) DYAKUYU!
For those of you who have inquired about the Los Angeles Book Fest, I’m afraid I had to cancel my plans to speak. Believe it or not, I have another big trip on the horizon. (I’m supposed to be going to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, during the first week of May.) I know what you’re thinking… great timing. Well, maybe not, but I’m sure our European friends could use a little laughter, so off I go!
In case you’re wondering, I did manage to consume a fair amount of rum down in the Caribbean, but I am now “on the wagon” for a couple of weeks. I’m not trying to brag, but I recently signed up something called the “February Challenge.” (NO alcohol on February 29, 30, or 31st!) It wasn’t easy, but I managed to stay strong.
Did you know that it’s impossible to lick your elbow?
Well, I must take my leave. I’m off to an art exhibit. (Some painter named Vincent van Gogh.) The paintings are only copies, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the display. By the way, did you know that van Gogh had a dizzy aunt? (Her name was Verti Gogh) He also had a brother who devoured prunes. (His name was Gotta Gogh) He also had a sister who loved disco music. (He name was Go Gogh)
All right, I know you’re smiling! THERE YA GOGH!
Love to all,