My parents are not “Hey, please make a big fuss in a public way over us on this special occasion” kind of people. They’d rather celebrate milestones and markers with family and friends while enjoying good food and conversation. So it was fitting, then, that for their 50th anniversary rather than a big ‘to do’ they chose something else: A big trip with the family – kids, spouses, grandkids (including those recently married into the last grouping) – to Alaska.
We have been back home for less than four days (at time of writing), and I still can’t quite believe it happened. It was a wonderful experience, and I am ever so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.
We sailed on the Ruby Princess – a lovely ship with a crew of some 1,100 and passenger numbers in the 3,000 range. After trekking around parts of Europe by land a couple of years ago, it was a particular delight to board the ship in Seattle, WA and unpack our suitcases, not having to bother with them again until Seattle was again on the horizon. And the crew on the ship did a wonderful job of looking after everyone, making sure we made it off board to see the sights and embark on an adventure or two, and that we then again made it back on board before setting sail again. We were greeted with smiles, good food, and cozy rooms (and oh-so-comfy beds!).
Stops were made in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan on the Alaskan side of things. And we sailed through Glacier National Park – even seeing (and hearing!) a glacier drop chunks of ice, known as calving. We had a brief stop in Victoria, BC as well before returning to Seattle. There was so much to take in! Amongst our group, we enjoyed whale and bird watching, dog sledding, a lumberjack show, glass blowing, a train ride, zip lining, and rock climbing. Leisurely strolls were taken. Books were read. Games were played. Movies watched. Stories learned about and from those we met along the way. And memories were made. We all arrived at our various abodes tired but happy late the night of September 2nd. And it was worth every hiccup and misstep and frustration – the good definitely outweighed the frictions that come when travelling with a larger group of people of various ages and temperaments.
“Thank you” doesn’t seem enough for this wonderful experience, Mom and Dad. Nor does “happy anniversary” seem to cover all you have both experienced in 50 years of marriage. But each expression is heartfelt, I believe, from every one of us who was on this trip with you and celebrating this anniversary milestone. So, thank you, Mom and Dad, for such a wonderful time and experience on this trip. And, although we’re a week and a half past the actual date I’ll still say it once more: Happy anniversary. Love you both more than various combinations of 26 letters can say.