Karl and I were "adopted" by the Atlanta Parrot Head
Club about 10 years ago when Karl signed up for the very first
Atlanta Parrot Head Club cruise (thanks, Andrea!). Just a couple
of months short of the final payment due date for the cruise,
Karl met me. This put him in an awkward position. Only knowing
me for a few short weeks, he was faced with the decision of
either leaving me behind and going alone on his first cruise
ever, or bunking with this chick he hardly knew who had only
heard 2-3 of Jimmy's songs anyway, and didn't have a clue what
a Parrot Head was. Long story short, I got to go with him and
figured out Jimmy had way more songs than I'd ever heard, had
great fans, lived in and wrote about some fantastic places,
and we shot about 15 rolls of film on our one week cruise! It
was definitely a "WOW!" experience! The great thing
is, after 10 years of cruising with the Atlanta PHC, it's still
a "WOW!" experience!
This year's cruise took us from the Port of Miami, FL to Half
Moon Cay, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, USVI;
and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands, BWI, aboard the
Carnival Triumph. In that one week, we raised over $56,800 for
breast cancer charities! This amazing group of about 450 Parrot
Heads has a tremendous amount of creativity and generosity.
In order to raise funds (and the eyebrows of the other passengers
aboard ship), we painted toenails--a different color for every
nail, and some with designs; shaved heads, mustaches and beards
(no backs/bellies, thanks); held silent and live auctions with
all kinds of items donated; held a 50/50 raffle; sold handmade
tote bags; and sold blinky-pins. For phun (as opposed to all
that "work"), we brought along some awesome musicians
to entertain us: Brent Burns, The Boat Drunks, Bob Karwin, and
Scotty Bryan. Prior to the cruise, we partied with Scotty and
his Drunken Monkey Band. Post-cruise, Don Middlebrook serenaded
us poolside in Miami. We also bar-crawled, held our own "toga
night," and held a cabin door decorating contest, which
really helps when you're impaired and need to find your cabin
somehow. We invaded the rear pool on the Lido deck all week
and our musicians played there, too. We held a grand party where
we "gypsies in the palace" raided Margaritaville in
Grand Turk and held a pool party in their 500,000-gallon pool,
complete with swim-up bar and cabanas. Near the end of the cruise,
our talented musicians really showed off by gathering at a Songwriter's
Showcase where they played their own music and told the stories
behind the songs. Brent and Bob also do a great comedy act...oh,
maybe it wasn't an act... Anyway, we all left the lounge with
big smiles and sore cheeks from all the laughter, and also left
in awe of these wonderful TropRock writers and musicians, some
of us picking up all the CDs we could afford with the few renegade
pesos we had left. Our "Wonder Why We Ever Go Home"
pajama party on the last night was filled with laughter, hugs,
and best wishes to all our new and old phriends.
We missed a few great phriends this time around who sailed
with us in past years, some of whom just couldn't come along
for whatever reason (job, finances, vacation time, family care...)
and some who had, sadly, passed away since the last cruise.
We remembered them in our thoughts and in memorials to those
who passed on. We tried our best to celebrate life. That's what
it's all about.
Fins up, y'all!