In January my father-in-law decided to take us--Tim, me, and Tim's sister, Stephanie--on an Alaskan cruise. Dear LeRoy has been a widower since a year ago April, and he wanted to "spend our inheritance" on something he could enjoy with us. We agreed this was a good plan. The travel agency booked us to leave in May, on my birthday.
At that time my life was consumed with the upcoming trial of our priest. Dreaming about a trip to the northern land--backdrop to stories I read and reread in childhood, where I'd always wished to go--remained a bright window during dark months. I didn't always believe I would survive (emotionally, at least) the painful inferno of our church's situation, but of course I knew life would continue and May would arrive...
During the one week our priest spent in jail, I phoned James to update him. He gave me the news that he and Kimi were having marriage problems. My tattered heart sank in flames again.
Since then they've separated. We all miss her terribly, no one moreso than our son. They hit a rough patch of circumstances, a severe test for any couple, let alone one just past their first anniversary.
At some point James recognized he had to move back to Eugene. A friend had a room. Settling in, he asked his granddad what it would cost to join us on the cruise, now a month away. LeRoy called the travel agent and without blinking paid for another ticket. He even upgraded the five of us to staterooms on the verandah deck. Wowza.
My brother Richard and his beloved Manny hosted Tim, James, and me overnight before the ship left. I loved seeing the two of them, of course. But one of the best parts was spending time with their sweet pooch, Sammy.
The week before our journey's start, my throat began feeling sore. Despite determined attempts at denial I had to admit I'd gotten the virus that's been going around, complete with laryngitis. Cough drops lined my purse and every pocket, and I would live on the most medicine-y provisions for the week ahead. (It's possible Tim appreciated my reduced talkativeness.)
Nothing could thwart the great gift of this adventure.