I wore a white sundress with yellow daisies and half a head of braided cornrows because they charged per braid. We were married on a cruise ship, docked in the port of Saint Thomas. In the sea glass morning hours before we got married, we snorkeled. Getting married? The best snorkeling ever? We can do it all. Carpe diem.
One of our ports of call had Sea-Doos available for hourly rent, and there was just enough time to ride one before the ship left. The cliché is that time flies when you’re having fun, but it grows thrusters when you’re riding Sea-Doos in the Caribbean. May I remind you that the ship waits for no one?
Panic. Us on the sidewalk, as little puddles of sea water gathered around our bare feet, all testifying to our romp on the waves. Taxi after taxi went by without stopping, the drivers shaking their heads at the two messes who would not be wrecking their cabs. Exquisite panic.
Finally, a taxi stopped, and we were directed onto the tarp in the way back seat. Smart guy. A fare’s a fare. Except, we weren’t. We had spent our cash on the Sea-Doos, and realized too late the cabbie didn’t take credit. More panic. Furtive whispering. Also the realization that Bob had left his shoes in the phone booth. With no shoes and no cash, we hurtled toward the moment we’d have to deal with the fallout from our stupidity youthful spontaneity.
But no! Thanks to the kindness of strangers we escaped the retribution for our little carpe diem. They paid our fare, and we paid them back once on board. Whew! Dodged that bullet.
The last night of any cruise is different. All luggage, except toiletries and the next day’s outfit, is placed outside the room by midnight. While we sleep, our goods get sniffed and searched by the customs department. Then after disembarkation and a customs turn of our own, we are reunited with our luggage. It’s a process that works swimmingly.
So long as one doesn’t pack one’s jeans in the luggage.
If one were to pack his jeans in the luggage, that would be very unlucky, as the ship’s stores cannot be opened while the ship is at port. The luggage is long gone into America, and one is left with whatever is in the cabin.
If one were to walk through customs wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes on his lower half, shod in his only pair of shoes, black dress loafers and white tube socks, it would be a long walk, indeed.
Critical fact #1: We shared a waist size in those early days of our marriage.
Critical fact #2: Ship cabins have everything one needs to survive the walk through customs.
Critical fact #3: We are a resourceful couple.
Picture this: Half my hair in cornrows, with a sunburn on my face and a sleep deprivation hangover, with dainty sneakers on my feet, I sauntered off our cruise ship and through customs — wearing our pillow cases tied around my waist. Like a skirt. Like, I meant to do that. Bob wore my jeans.
That was how we walked into America as husband and wife. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Or seize whatever’s available. And if you walk with a swagger, no one will notice the pillow cases.
— Kelly Griffiths
Kelly Griffiths, soccer, swimming and homeschool mom, lives in her van all over Northeast Ohio. Kelly is recently returned from a 20-year writing hiatus, taken so she wouldn’t kill her flow-interrupting children. Kelly’s pure thoughts can be found here. Her skeletons, here.