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4 years 273 days at Sea.

4 years. 273 days. That’s the length of time one couple has sailed across various oceans of the world with Princess Cruise(s).

I only know this, because of a bulletin that recognized them as distinguished on a recent trip.

I couldn’t process that milestone. 1,733 days at sea. 1,733 vacation days. 1,733 days passed willy-nilly with endless watermelon and copious entertainment. How?

I haven’t had anything last that long in my life, have you?

I mean, apart from marriage, education, and well, breathing. [I’ve been alive that long but not much else.]

The couple’s picture was prominently displayed on the cruise line’s bulletin and I wondered what brought them out on the waters so much. Why would they keep sailing? And how the heck did they pay for it?

Has anything ever drawn your attention for so long? Any passion? Any hobby?

I can safely say I lose interest in things longer than a Netflix season.

This couple obviously found something in those 4 (almost 5) years at sea. But what? Did they secretly know where sunken treasure was and didn’t want to tell anyone else? Their secret resting miles below the ocean’s surface.

Maybe love was prodding them out to nature as they aged. It seems they could almost name a ship after you, if you cruised for 5 years with the same company.

Obviously Princess Cruises thought them significant enough to print their picture. But what was their story? What prodded them to embark for an eternity? Was it a Melvillian fixation with marine life?

Remember that song from the 90s by the band Fastball called “The Way”? It was about an elderly couple (Lela & Raymond Howard) who wandered from home one day and tragically drove over a cliff. Authorities indicated that they left their belongings behind and suffered from forgetfulness in their final hours.

I sometimes wonder what grabs our interests and keeps us enthralled. Imagine that something lasting for 5 years.

What do you care enough about to pursue for 1,733 days?


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Stranger Things at a Stop Light


One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen occurred on my commute to work yesterday. Something I hadn’t seen before and the epitome of what many might call a Hallmark moment. But, for me it was something else. It didn’t come off as cheesy in the slightest.

It distracted my driving, but in a good way.

I was driving in the slow lane listening to Weezer, and the traffic was stop-and-go. And I was belting some lyrics from the white album, and I came to another red light and immediately looked in my mirrors to see if I’d been caught in any direction. Then I glanced left and the car next to me offered this aforementioned Hallmark moment.

It was a beat-up, rusted Buick with the front bumper held together by what looked like bungee cables.

Inside was a young couple who looked younger than my wife and I when we first got married (19 & 23). The young lady was in the passenger seat, and she was reading aloud from a book I couldn’t see too well – to her boyfriend, husband, fill-in-the-blank. (I’d like to say it was a Bible, but I couldn’t confirm the text.)

And what spoke volumes to me was their passion. She was reading and he was locked in with two hands on the wheel. (Imagine a young Johnny Cash with hair swiped to the side nodding and listening.) She would read, pause, and wait to see the man’s reaction. He, meanwhile, listened and encouraged.

The light turned and we all were set in motion again. As I turned Weezer down, in my rearview I saw the old Buick go left. I replayed the image in my mind, their passion-

It was 7am. The car wasn’t new. Their dress and style didn’t suggest wealth. And, they had what many call zest. I could see it all in that brief window of time stopped together.

[Imagine what an image of our grandparents joyriding around town might’ve looked like 50-60 years ago.]

This was something unexpected, and I got a better sense of what the word ‘contentment’ ought to mean.

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What it Means to You.


The Kentucky Derby has always been enshrouded in mystery for me. Words like Churchill Downs and Garland of Roses and Mint Juleps all have sounded mystical and awe-inspiring since I was a boy.

Reading stories like Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” and seeing images of horse & rider standing in winner’s circle talking to the media was exciting to say the least.

There’s always been a warm sentiment in the air in Kentucky (and around the nation) on that first Saturday in May. Whether it be the ever-warming Springtime temperatures or the sunshine that escapes just a little earlier in the morning and lasts a tad bit later into dusk, the human spirit comes alive and escapes a cocoon of sorts, I believe.

I have lots of memories tied to the timing of this event each year. And all of it has to do with life and very little to do with the race itself. Case-in-point: I’ve never been to a Kentucky Derby.

There I said it.

I lived in Kentucky most of my life (even just an hour away from Louisville at one point), and I’ve never been to the Derby. Sad, but true.

But, it’s the events that have surrounded the horse race that have made my attachment to this time of year so strong!

Friends getting married and having Kentucky Derby-themed weddings–thank you Rebecca DeSensi Sivori!–to hearing My Old Kentucky Home played at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, while THE RACE itself was happening just an hour away have had their lasting effects on me.

Seeing tall hats, seersucker suits, and smelling cigars permeating the air at Keeneland made me long to be at the race each Spring!

But the event that helped tie it all together was the 133rd Kentucky Derby – 2007. It stands alone in comparison to the others, says the guy who’s never been!



It was the day Queen Elizabeth II visited Churchill Downs.

…And May 5th was also the day my wife-to-be and I were on a trail at Dale Hollow State Park.

(I remember the rain, mud, and asking her to marry me.)

She was patient that day (and, thankfully, she still is even in 2015). The Derby was in the background, at the northern part of the state. We were traversing the backwoods of southern Kentucky, as the rain continually fell.

But, this memory, like so many other Derby-time memories stands out vividly. They seem to all possess a life-altering aspect somehow.

Warmer weather. Re-birth. Life. Engagement.

Maybe one day I’ll own up to the tragedy that is –> never pit-stopping in Louisville on the first Saturday in May. I’ve been told it’s unthinkable to have lived almost 3 decades in dear Bluegrass country and never seen the race in-person…Witnessed Calvin Borel’s magic…Met Michael Jordan. Etc.

But to all this I say, it’s    still    been    magical  — just from afar.

God has blessed us. Besides, I might wear that top hat yet.