Reindeer Games


My oldest daughter, Aubrae and I lucked into a four day cruise with a travel group a few years ago, that was too good to pass up.  Neither of us had ever been on a cruise, so the only thing left to do was pack.  Five of us left from Wichita and met the group’s sixth friend in Florida, where she is now living.  Now, I am required by the laws imposed when traveling in groups, to leave all parties anonymous and allow everything that happened in the Bahamas to stay in the Bahamas, so I will assign new names to all involved.

Our trip began uneventfully, save a run in with the “LOUD” Family.  You may have met them in your travels.  At first glance this Father, Mother and two children appear innocent enough.  Well dressed and embellished with what seems to be all the electronic gadgetry necessary to keep the aforementioned children occupied while in the “friendly skies”.  But once the plane has rolled away from the loading area, and all of these wonderful electronic devices have been dutifully powered down, these children are left with nothing more entertaining that how far forward the chair in front of them springs when kicked repeatedly.  Although I had immense enjoyment watching “Blitzen’s” face as she looked pleadingly at me, her eyes begging me to make this child stop, I finally took pity and flipped around and asked this woman to control her child.  Her reply was priceless – “He’s only 11.” Really!  Later in the flight, just as most of our group was being lulled to sleep, the other brother turned up the volume on his IPad game to a level that caused the woman sitting next to “Comet” to come completely unglued.  Her disgusted tone did wonders in making me feel vindicated about my earlier attack on this child’s brother.

We arrived in Florida to balmy temperatures and high spirits. We waited at the airport for “Dasher” to arrive with the sleigh to wisk us off to a nearby hotel for the evening.  All us little reindeer organized the rolling suitcases into the rear of the VW station wagon and began loading ourselves into the sleigh before acknowledging what was obviously apparent to anyone passing by.  Six women were not going to fit in five seats, no matter how we arranged ourselves.  I am not sure how I ended up so lucky, but I got to view Florida backwards, ducking every time we thought a police car was nearby.

“Blitzen” and I had no frame of reference about what indulgences lay in store for us, although the name I have chosen for her is one that I feel was well earned, considering the only water she consumed on the trip was in the ice that cooled her tropical drinks.  In her defense, luscious concoctions were available at every turn and it’s not as if we had to perform brain surgery during the trip.

As far as our herd and our escapades on the trip, I will narrow down a tremendous amount of fun to the following cryptic comments.  “Dancer” kept us constantly in awe with her easygoing ways and her hairdo that many mentioned may have been affected by the high winds.  “Prancer” and I switched rooms, which kept the stateroom attendants wondering, but had the dinner table howling with stories, such as her “run in” with some Shriners. I was able to rise above “Dashers” inability to count and became a firm believer that what she lacked in vertical stature is dwarfed by her sweet and gentle nature.  Even though “Comet” was hell-bent on playing matchmaker for “Dasher”, we all decided that she should begin the next phase of her life as a travel agent, because she could not have outdone herself with this trip!

As the vacation came to a close and a long day of flying began its last leg, what are the odds that “Blitzen’s” chair bounces with a kick from the exact same 11 year old with just a bit more energy left in him after a weekend at DisneyWorld.  All I thought was, you can’t write this stuff.  No one would believe it!

The only excuses I need to make to the herd is that I was not being judgmental with every purchase they made on our voyage. My eyebrow was twitching because I had no idea how it was going to fit with me in the back of the sleigh!


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