A Three-Hour Cruise: Passenger Hijinks and a Few More River Scenes

To continue my two-part series, “A Three Hour Cruise,” about the trip my beau and I took this past Wednesday, we spent an afternoon on a paddlewheel boat on the St. Johns River in Central Florida. It was a perfect Florida summer day, with cornflower blue skies, thick fluffy white clouds, and temperatures hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nature treated us to panoramas of thick green forests of trees along the river shore, gliding hawks, zippy dragonflies, sparkling waters, floating water lilies, water hyacinths, and the like.

We came to a river bend that brought a few more surprises and delights.

These bald cypress trees were striking:

Downriver was a cluster of pretty houses and docks:

We relished these scenes in between our lunch courses. Because this was a leisurely lunch cruise, we could afford to lollygag. On deck, we were lulled by the rhythmic “slosh-slosh-slosh-slosh” sound of the paddlewheel, and the gentle quietness of the shore. Inside the dining room, we were enjoying the camaraderie and hijinks of the group of church ministers and their wives from South Carolina. There were about eighteen of them, grouped together at the larger tables by the windows. My beau and I got a kick out of their impromptu dancing to the music, the laughing and kidding around, and overall jocularity. One of the ministers stopped to talk with my beau, and that’s how we found out where they were from and who they were. I was impressed at how nicely everyone was dressed, too, with hats, dressy casualwear, and pretty Afro chic skirts or sparkly sequin designs on blouses.

Next to us, were two ladies who seemed to be co-worker friends, because sometimes I caught some “office talk” between them.  One wore a sparkling green and blue blouse, the other a semi-sparkling white top.  For some reason, I was interested in what people were wearing.  You’re now probably wondering what we wore.  My beau wore his Panama hat, with a tan flowered shirt and green shorts.  I wore a straw hat with a black chiffon bow and a purple A-line dress.

There were some celebrations onboard, too. One of the waitresses got engaged the other day, so we all congratulated her. There was a lady dressed in a long skirt and pretty white top who was celebrating her eighty-seventh birthday, and then there was . . . ummmm . . . a couple who was celebrating their fifty-ninth anniversary, but as she said over the microphone, she was “here and he was at home.” I’m not sure exactly what to conclude there. They’re married that long because they don’t do things together? If so, why celebrate anniversaries? I’m perplexed. But then, as my beau said, she could have been the house comedienne, so just laugh and roll with it. Ha ha.

The live entertainment onboard was pleasant, with Jim Ventura playing guitar and singing, and when he wasn’t, there was music piped in. When we arrived onboard there was wild Dixieland Jazz playing. During our meal, there was calm music from the 1940s-50s. At the dessert course, the music livened up with peppy 1950s rock-and-roll.

Our meals were good, and fresh, too. The appetizer course was buffet style, and the rest was served. The Red Devil’s Food Cake was good (I didn’t like the frosting, though). In the South, this type of cake is called Red Velvet Cake. I go by what we called it in the Midwest, Red Devil’s Food Cake. The white chocolate curls dyed pink made it look festive.

I slinked over to take this shoreline picture when the table’s occupants went on deck for a while:

The light sconces in the dining room were pretty, even if a dangling glass drop was missing:

Would we do this again? Yes. My beau and I were talking about an evening cruise, but during the Holidays, just to mix it up a little.

Sounds good.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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