Lin is my friend and I’ve often mentioned him in my posts. I’ve welcomed him here to be my first guest writer. His story touched my heart as did his personality. Lin may not see light but he exudes it. The only way to describe my own experience meeting him is to say that he had a “glowing aura” that attracted me to him. Please read on…
September 6,2010 was a day I had anticipated for nearly a year. My wife Sue had passed away 18 months earlier and I was doing something I thought I never would’ve been able to afford, and that was to take a cruise. Sue and I had always wanted to take a cruise but we never felt we could afford it or it was simply not a priority when we had the money. Usually money was spent on the house for things that were needed and not on huge vacations.
It all started when a friend called to say that he and his wife were leaving for a seven-day cruise to Mexico. I told him that sounded like fun and was a bit jealous then to my surprise he said it was really cheap and now that Carnival was sailing out of Charleston it would be quite easy for me. I challenged him to send me information and lo and behold, the next morning I booked my first five-day cruise to the Bahamas.
Some of my family and friends thought I had lost my mind when I told them I was taking a cruise 11 months later and I personally thought it was no big deal since I had gotten three guide dogs by myself, so as the time drew closer, I got very excited.
But, as the ship began to leave the port of Charleston, I also started to think I had lost my mind and really wondered what in the world I had gotten myself into and only after getting out to sea did I start to relax and enjoy the feel of the ship out on the open waters.
As I have already alluded to, I am blind and work a guide dog. My current dog is named Major and he’s a very large black Labrador and he loves attention. To say that he was the most popular guest on board is an understatement, but I also have to say that any time I needed or wanted to go anywhere all I had to do was to pick up the phone and call guest services. This is great for someone like me who has a handicap and they were always willing to do things cheerfully.
The highlight of the cruise was while we were docked in Freeport. While sitting out on Lido deck sipping a Diet Coke this very nice lady walked up and wanted to talk to Major. As she sat down I normally asked where she was from and learned that she was from Toronto, Canada but lived in Italy. Now I’m just a proud Southern boy and that really raised a question in my mind until she informed me that she was married and her husband was Italian and then to my surprise I found out that he was also the ship’s staff captain. After asking what the staff captain was, I found out that he was the second in command, imagine my surprise to be hanging out with a big wheel’s wife!
Leah has turned out to be a great friend and we spent the rest of the cruise hanging out together and she showed many parts of the ship that I might not have seen otherwise. We even shared a drink on the last day which would have been Sue’s birthday and toasted her memory, my new life and our new friendship.
I have been blessed by many things in my life and although Sue was taken from me far too early I feel lucky to have had the many years we shared together. In honour of her memory I have committed to raising $3,000. to name a new guide dog after her. So far I have raised $858.00. The deadline is end of March, 2011. If anyone wants to make a pledge here is the link: Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time
like dew on the tip of a leaf.
– Tagore –