My brother-in-law, Mike Reed has proven himself to be such a great addition to our family over the years. When we first met Mike, I wasn’t sure he stood much a very good chance against all of our teasing, but he is a really good sport, and he is also, a great teaser in his own right. When we first met him, he might have been a little overwhelmed by our large group of full on teasers, but that only lasted for about ten minutes….then he was right there with us.
Mike and my sister, Caryl are such good friends. They have the same goals and dreams. Right now they are working on their retirement plans. I always knew that Caryl loved horses, and wanted to have some of her own, but I didn’t know that Mike shared that dream with her. Nevertheless, they do share this dream, and since their purchase of a ranch outside of Casper, they have been working to fix it up. Mike is very handy as a carpenter, and I think Caryl must be too, or else she is a good assistant, which would be more like what I would be. Their retirement is down the road a little way yet, but by the time they are ready, their home on the ranch will be built. There is already a house there, but they are renting it out for now. Time will tell what they decide to do with that house later on. Mike has many talents. He could easily be a handyman. In fact, it seems like every time they come down, we have some project for him to do at our parents’ house, where our sister, Cheryl lives.
Of course, I think that the thing that Mike is most looking forward to in retirement, is the same as most of us are…relaxing. Mike likes to fish, hunt, and to travel. He has taken a couple of trips to Alaska to go Carabou hunting. He uses the meat from the hunting to make the most amazing jerky ever. And like most of us who have done it, taking a cruise is a wonderful way to spend a vacation. I think that once you have done it, it’s real easy to get hooked on it…as Mike and Caryl will certainly tell you. They have traveled, to many places, including Japan, the Bahamas, and most recently a cruise from Baltimore to the Caribbean. I think they are in pre-retirement mode…but then aren’t we all. Well Mike, with each birthday, you are a little bit closer…good news!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
For as long as she could remember, my daughter, Amy has wanted to swim, interact, or at the very least, touch a dolphin. I think she was beginning to think that her lifelong dream would never come to pass. Then, she and her husband, Travis decided to take a very special family vacation, before their children, Shai and Caalab were completely grown up. They settled on a Caribbean cruise. At first they were going to keep it a secret so the kids would find out when they pulled up to the dock, but the excitement got to be too much for them and they found themselves wanting the kids to share in the excitement of planning the trip. Shai and Caalab were beyond excited about the trip, and over time it became all they talked about. Finally the day arrived, and they were off on the trip of a lifetime.
Their trip would take them to a private island in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. They would get to go parasailing in the Bahamas, which was a little un-nerving for Shai…but then I’m not sure how I would feel about it either. Jamaica was the part of the trip that Travis, Shai, and Caalab were most looking forward to. They were going to see the home and grave of one of their favorite singers, Bob Marley. Jamaica was a little surprising for them too, because there are two sides to Jamaica…the rich and the very poor…still, the visit to Bob Marley’s place was the highlight of the trip for Travis and the kids. In Grand Cayman, they took a ship wreck tour, and found out what can happen when an anchor misses the shelf it is supposed to land on. The fish they saw through the glass bottom boat were amazingly beautiful, and the ship wrecks were sad, broken pieces of what used to be a ship.
Finally, came the day when Amy’s wish would come true. Their ship arrived in Cozumel at 10:00 in the morning…to pouring rain!! They all wondered if they would be able to spend their time with the dolphins. Travis and Caalab were trying to figure out a way to force the issue, in the event that they said it was cancelled. Thankfully the rain quit, and they headed into the pool area. After a little training, they were able to interact with the dolphins. For Amy this part of the trip was the end all/beat all best part. I don’t know if she ever truly believed that her dream would come true, but in the end, not only did she get to interact with the dolphins, but one named Diego even gave her a kiss. Travis was a little jealous, but since Diego wasn’t coming home with them, he figured that one little kiss wouldn’t hurt anything.