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Cayamo Cruise - Part 3 - On the Ship Again

Apr 13, 2008
Kimmy Sophia Brown

Who would think that one cruise could provide so much fodder for inspiration, but it did! Dinners were the main place we were really able to share a lot of fun with our fellow cruisers. Every night, after watching the early headline performance from about 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., we went to the Pacific Dining room for dinner. They had stuff like salmon, steak, lobster, pasta, filet mignon - and hors d’oeuvres such as asparagus soup or tiger shrimp or Caesar salad. They had deadly desserts like baked Alaska and WARM MELTING CHOCOLATE CAKE which is actually chocolate cake that hasn’t finished baking, in a tiny little ceramic dish. It comes accompanied by a little scoop of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate wafer stabbed in it. Genevieve actually ordered it every night. After the first night I couldn’t take it, it was too overwhelming! I was far more disciplined, and had mere chocolate layer cake instead.

They had something called “open seating” which means you could sit down at any table where there was space. One night we met two fun friends named Bonnie and Carol. We called them Bonnie and Clyde. I was amazed at how knowledgeable they were about many of the performers, and how many concerts they had attended before the cruise. They went to see some of the people on the ship we didn’t know as much about, such as Clay Cooke who played with Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain and Ari Hest. 

There were two guys from North Carolina, the box-making Randy and the banking Earl. They were old friends and had attended many music festivals together. Randy was a veritable Wikipedia/Britannica of performers and music festivals. He’d been to the Merlefest in North Carolina, named for the deceased son of Doc Watson; the Galax Bluegrass Festival in Virginia; and many others. He had seen Emmylou back when she performed on the back of a flatbed truck when she was knee high to a grasshopper. He loved Chet Atkins. He’d describe an event he had attended and then point to his arm and say, “I got the chills!” He recommended various artists and wrote them down for me, such as the guitarist, Tommy Emmanuelle, whom I already love. It was cool to mix and match and shake and bake our favorite artists.

I wish I’d spent more time talking with other participants. There was too much to do and not enough time. We met two different women on the cruise who had brought their deceased husband’s ashes to scatter in the oceans and on the islands. We met a guy who creates documentaries for Public Radio. We talked to artists and fans. We met a lady recovering from a series of strokes who was a huge music fan. She brought a cousin along who wasn’t a fan so she could have a companion on the trip, but who spent most of her time in the casino. Still, the lady who had the stroke could come because of her cousin. You might say, with no disrespect intended but only irony; different strokes for different folks.

After Genevieve and I saw the amazing band, Gaelic Storm, I lapsed into my Irish brogue which I can maintain a few sentences at a time. “Darlin’, let’s go have cup o’ tea.” According to my son, Ranin, the key to Irish pronunciation is to say the word, “poTAYto”, and then you can find the accent. Gen and I looked at each other frequently and said, “poTAYto”. 

Most of the employees on the ship were from Indonesia, the Philippines, or places like Estonia or Bosnia. I wondered how they found their way to their jobs. Largely, they were nice, hard working folks. They must miss their families and their culture. And yet, as Kristina told us, that is what they chose and so they are making the best of it.

Now that we’re landlubbers again, I’m longing for the boat - for the wide, sunny sea, and the coming together of hundreds of people living for and loving the music.

If God told me I could design my own private heaven, part of it would be something like the cruise. Musical events would take place all hours of the day or night, along with amazing food, and lots of talk and laughter about the music. The only difference I would make would be to let the entire crew of the ship enjoy themselves too. Everything would be magical and no one would have to clean up after anyone and all the food would appear just like a Star Trek replicator.

All I can say now is, God bless all the pea pickin’ fingers and vocal cords of the musicians on the cruise. I hope I get to hear them again. I hope I get to meet them someday. I’d like to be friends with all of them. I’d like to help their careers and their lives. I’d like to do something for them, because their music has done so much for me.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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