Thursday, January 8, 2009

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Something to Think About

The American republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

Alexis De Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

the Captain

I have never met one of my very best friends.

It is only in the days of the internet that such a statement not only DOESN’T sound ludicrous…it sounds downright normal.

I’ve wanted to write about my friend, whom I will cleverly call “the Captain”, for some time. But writing about family and friends is almost as hard as writing about oneself. But since I was able to accomplish that mission, here goes….

Way back last spring, I discovered Facebook. When I got back from the Asia trip with CruiseGran, I “friended” our table host, BIG, who was Crystal Serenity’s Chief Officer. One of BIG’s friends on Facebook was the former chief officer on Crystal Symphony. (are you following me?) And as CruiseGran was taking the family on Symphony for the trip ‘round the United Kingdom in the summer, I “friended” him. Little did I know at the time…..

Have I mentioned that I ADORE Facebook??

Moving right along. My friend just happens to be one of the most creative and imaginative people I’ve ever met. He’s got the eye of a professional photographer and has loved taking photos all his life. He started building a website for his photos when people barely knew what a website was. He had a dream to make a place were people who where passionate about the things HE was passionate about - ships, photography, aviation, travel, laughter- could gather and share things.

So he built this amazing site called Captain’s Voyage.

CV is a place one can get lost in for a very VERY long time. I know I did…and still do. I will have to write more about this fabulous site, the Forum and the people who hang out there later, but suffice it to say I have gotten to know some amazing people. My day is not complete without a few stops into CV’s forums along the way.

In the fall, the Captain decided to move from his residence in Thailand back to his native Norway. Not wanting to burden you with wwwaaayyy too much information, suffice to say that surviving two bouts of Dengue Fever in one year will cause a person to rethink living in a country prone to mosquito infestations. Now, if you know me, I’ve moved a great deal. So I have lots of experience in packing up one’s life. And I do love to pass along that experience to people, whether it is requested or not. So of course I counseled the Captain on all sorts of things…questions were answered, jokes were shared, and low and behold—a friendship was born.

Turns out, we’re a great deal alike. So much so, that we joke about being twins…except for the fact that …um…we were born on different sides of the pond and I’m –yikes!!- 12 years older. It’s also really eerie that he was onboard Symphony many times when my mom was a passenger…so he knew my family way before he knew me. Kismet? Fate? Destiny? Karma?

He’s just about the perfect friend—he can tell when I’m down and sends something to make me laugh. He congratulates my kids on achievements, and wishes them “good luck” before sporting events. He’s interested in my family and what goes on around Maison Cou Rouge. He likes redneck humor … (Grumpy Guy jokes he’s going to go squirrel hunting so the Captain can have a real redneck hat….) Hardly a day goes by that we don’t trade at least one email or SMS text. There’s something in my email first thing in the morning to make me smile or make me think. But he never offers advice unless it is requested (a lesson I could learn….) and is always quick with encouragement to learn a new skill or explore a new interest.

He’s thoughtful and polite—he welcomes all new members on CV Forum and replies to most posts with an interesting comment. He excels at “cat herding” all of the members of Captain’s Voyage—keeping us together and on-topic….most of the time. Through him, I’ve met so many wonderful, entertaining and kind people—a real online family.

The man NEVER complains—and with the looming fear of what his immune system ravaged by Dengue Fever brings, that says a lot. He’s in pain and doesn’t have the strength to do what most normal 36-year-olds can- how frustrating that must be, but you’d never be able to tell. And his New Year’s Resolution- to live to see next New Year’s Day- makes me want to cheer and cry at the same time.

One reason I was able to face my whole breast biopsy odyssey with the positive outlook I did was because I knew the Captain was at the other end of my computer …and he understood what it means to be scared, to face something potentially life threatening. He does it every day.

He’s going to be so embarrassed by this post…he’s that kind of guy. But the fact that this blog is updated more frequently is due to the persistent nudging of both the Captain and my brother Larry, with their sometimes GENTLE (??) reminders to get off my posterior and write.

So here’s hoping that when I put in my posts this summer about the family cruise around the Norwegian fjords, you will see lots of wonderful photos—photos of scenery, photos of my extended family from all over America, photos of me meeting my friends from Captains Voyage..but most especially there will be one photo I really want to share—a photo of me and just about the best friend anyone could ever hope to have… finally getting to meet face to face!!

The Captain when visiting his dad in Trondheim.

Come visit us all at Captain's Voyage! We'd love you as a member!