On Monday, The Duck and I waited for almost four hours to get our passports reissued. We had let them expire ... by some 15 years, thus we couldn't renew them via the mail. The passports are needed for our cruise to Alaska in August. We fly into Vancouver, B. C., Canada ... only after passing through customs do we head to our ship. I have wanted to take a cruise ... anywhere ... for more years than I can remember. The Duck's usual response was "your next husband will have to take you on a cruise!" One of my lady-friends has gone on 11 cruises ... with her second husband ... this tidbit of news had absolutely no effect on The Duck. He will not be intimidated ... I simply gave up mentioning cruises. Over the years he has surprised me with a TWO new cars, a diamond ring in a Cracker Jacks box, a month long tour of Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England and Normandy, France ... and too many others 'things' to mention. He has been my rock, my safe harbor, my best friend and my lover for almost 46 years ... a cruise just wasn't that important.
The Duck has also been my 'caregiver' for the past two years plus ... through all the shoulder and back surgeries, the asthma attacks, the dental surgeries. So I was more than a bit surprised when last summer he announced "we're going to take a cruise next summer ... to Alaska." After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked what had happened to change his mind? He replied, "our bucket list." We have lost some dear friends and neighbors over the past few years ... there are more aches and pains these days ... we're not getting any younger ... life is short!
The cruise is just one item on 'the list' ... The Duck is reading "Atlas Shrugged" ... he is not a 'reader', so tackling 1168 pages is quite a feat. Sometime this year, he will fly in a P-51 (the WWII Mustang) ... we will return to Italy when we feel it is safe to travel abroad again. We're looking at a condo in Branson ... it's closer to family, only a day's drive and if The Duck wants to, he can play golf every day. My list is a little less clear ... I want to finish my 'book' ... the one I've been writing for almost 20 years, about my hospice patients. I want to take our grandchildren to Disney World ... while I'm still able to ride the rides!!! I want to finish the 'Grandmother' books for each grandchild, filled with stories from my life, a legacy I hope for them. I'd like to learn how to fly The Duck's plane ... well, to be honest, no I don't want to learn how to fly it ... I want to learn how to LAND it ... safely ... in one piece!
Okay ... I have digressed quite long enough ... we've booked the cruise and we were taking care of business Monday, getting the darn passports. Our little burg is the only post office in the area where you don't need to have an appointment to take care of passports. You must make an appointment at the post office 10 miles away ... the first available date is the end of May! We got to the post office by 9:00 AM ... the office for passports doesn't open until 9:30 ... there were a dozen or more people AHEAD of us. The Duck dropped me off in order to get our names on the list, while he tried to find a parking place. By the time he got inside, I had learned that you must have copies of your birth certificates and the application ... the postal office's copy machine was out of order. The Duck drove home to make the copies, I waited in line. When he returned, we had only six others in front of us ... then we discovered you needed a copy of both the front and back of your driver's driver's license with the application. The Duck drove home again ... this was not helping my case for a cruise.
There were several rumblings among the waiting folk about the inefficiency of the postal system ... only one lone soul working at the passport office ... the copy machine not working ... The Duck muttered "THIS is what the book I'm reading is about!" I tried sitting on a window ledge ... too much hung over the ledge! I tried to text on my phone and then I struck up a conversation with another woman waiting. She was in a wheelchair, reading her Kindle ... she and her husband were going to London to visit their son and his family. We talked about books ... she was reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the third time. We talked about always finding something 'new' when we reread a book. We talked about traveling ... about hospice ... about children ... the time passed. She even turned and waved to us when they were finally finished. The Duck has often said of me "you're the only one I know that can have a meaningful conversation ... with a lamppost!" The Duck is a self admitted 'introvert' but the woman's husband asked him when was the last time he was in Creede (Colorado) The name Creede was on The Duck's hat. The couple used to camp there often, the woman had been going out there since she was a year old child ... small world. The time passed. We were behind only three people now... and the woman at the desk took a break!
Three and one half hours after arriving at the post office, we were able to compete the applications, it will take 5-6 weeks for us to get them returned. We don't leave on the cruise until mid-August but we are still talking to each other ... even after The Duck learned there are TWO formal nights included on our itinerary ... a suit and tie ...NOT something The Duck cares to wear these days ... but he's doing it ... it's on the 'list' and he's doing it for me!