As I write this, most of you are in some way preparing for Phase II of the Holiday Season. Beginning just before Thanksgiving, small talk around offices and coffee shops seemed to center around where everybody was going for the holidays, how they would get there, and how many people would be gathered for dinner. Sadly, in many instances, the talk was almost one of regret over a familial obligation. A recent conversation on this topic gave me cause to reflect on holidays past, particularly Thanksgiving, and I realize that while I love my extended family dearly, the most memorable Thanksgiving ever was one when we were cruising.
We (which includes my wife and then 17-month-old daughter) were in St. Augustine, Florida. I distinctly remember the aroma of turkey wafting into the cockpit and my parents telling me how wonderful it was that Janet and I were fulfilling 'their' dream. While they were my boating inspiration, my parents never took the plunge to go cruising. My father, being the conservative man that he was, always wanted to make sure that there would be enough for them to live comfortably for the rest of their days. Years earlier he and I had discussed his retirement and he shared with me a plan, which based upon a certain sized nest egg, showed there being enough money for them to maintain their style of living until age 120! My father was 62 when he succumbed to cancer.
As I reflect back on that day, it was clear that even in their happiness for us, there was regret for not having taken the plunge themselves, and while we all hoped for the best regarding his diagnosis, I know that deep down inside he wished they were making the journey. That being said, that day was one of true thanks giving and happiness, the way the holidays ought to be. I will treasure that holiday on board forever and hope that each and every one of you have the opportunity to create your own special holiday memories.