Pam and I created an extra bank account which we called the “Petticoat Lane” account which was to be used exclusively for travel.  When this account showed signs of health we decided on a trip to Peurta Vaillarta, Mexico.  As told earlier in this narrative I had at one time previously visited Mexico but it was for only 48 hours and certainly not to a resort.  That was when I was on the “around South America'' trip in a Hercules aircraft and stopped at  Mexico City after leaving Lima Peru.
This time the company I had was much more pleasurable. Pam and I booked a one week holiday to Puerto Vallarta in Feb. of 2017 and yes the weather was great and so good to get away from the snow and cold of Manitoba in the dead of winter.  We stayed at a beautiful resort called Riu Palace which certainly lived up to its name. It was beautiful, large and spacious.  We didn’t have a suite but our room was huge, on the fourth floor and with a large deck to sit and enjoy the splendid view.   There was of course a lovely large swimming pool which Pam and I frequented every day.

I have to tell you there was a huge beautiful bathtub in the bathroom (where else would it be?) and because I had always loved baths but had only showers since moving out of my house,  I decided to have a bath.  I enjoyed it so much; laying back and relaxing,  but… then it was time to get out.  I could not.  As much as I tried I couldn’t do it.  I had to shout for Pam to come rescue me and even then it was so difficult she almost had to phone for an assist.  Yes, that was the last time in a bathtub.

Pam spent lots of time in the pool while I spent lounging in their deck chairs and enjoying their Pina Coladas while watching Pam in the pool.  Yes my bathing suit did get wet but only because Pam dipped it in the pool before we left. Ha  Ha. . Not like me at all as I used to love swimming but I think the reason was that subconsciously I was turned off by having a bad dizzy spell while I was in the pool at Rick and Sue’s house. If it had not been for Pam hanging onto me and helping me out, it might have been very serious.

The trip was “inclusive” so all food and drink was plentiful and for the taking.  The main dining room fed just about everything one could imagine so we enjoyed our breakfasts and lunches there but for supper we went to a different “Specialty” restaurant every night.  The service was splendid and the food was never to be forgotten.

The final day there, we went on a bus tour of the city and surrounding countryside.  We visited a couple cathedrals, some flea markets and many points of interest in the city.  Finally, a trip out of the city and up a (so called) mountain where we were treated to a lovely meal at an outdoor restaurant and then walking distance to a tequila factory.  After a tour of the factory,  back on the bus.

After we were all seated the tour guide announced the tour was over and it’s now time to return to the Palace. He said we could nap or sightsee whichever was our pleasure, then the bus pulled out.  I leaned over to Pam and whispered, “wouldn’t it be awful if the bus broke down and they would have to send another bus out to rescue us.”  We were down into the city, stopped at a red light and when we started again; thrunk! It felt and sounded like the bottom fell from the bus.  Of course , after a lengthy wait we were “rescued”.  I never did tell the driver or the tour guide about my “prediction” for fear they would have me burned at the stake. HaHa.

All too soon we were back in Manitoba. It was not easy leaving the airport terminal in Winnipeg, waiting for a taxi and the temperature was approximately -25 Celsius. I had been talking on the phone occasionally to Bill Gilmour in Ottawa and during our conversation he informed me that he was going to the Black Watch mini reunion in September.  It didn’t take a lot of persuading for Pam and I to agree that we would go, so we flew to Fredericton, New Brunswick and found our hotel in Oromocto.

We had rented a car to get around and I could not believe how much the place had changed. We enjoyed teaming up with Bill and his female friend and of course enjoyed the reunion as a whole. One afternoon we went into Fredericton to the hospital as Pam was not feeling well. She did not get to see anyone as the lineup was too long so the next morning we went to the hospital in Oromocto.  Again in spite of it being Sunday morning the place was packed and no one was being looked at so we jumped in our little car and drove to Nova Scotia.

The next morning I went to McDonald’s because I expected to see Lew MacNaughton and some Black Watch friends. I was lucky; they were there. I spent an hour or so with them which of course I enjoyed very much. We then went to a nursing home to visit with my favorite cousin Mary. That was the first time I had seen Mary since 1999 and of course it was a pleasure to see her again.

We left right after that for Halifax and checked into a beautiful hotel right in downtown Halifax and stayed there for four days. It was then I had the pleasure of meeting Pam’s grandson (Jacqui and Don’s son), Scott and his family, Evelyn and the two children James and Leah. Scott was then training to be a general surgeon specializing in Oncology.  He has since gone with his family to Australia where they stayed for a couple years then had a really lucky break by having a placement at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg as well as an associate professorship at the University of Manitoba.

I also met for the first time Zoe and her boyfriend Chris. We had a meal with them down on the waterfront and it was wonderful. I should tell you that she is Richard‘s daughter therefore of course Pam‘s granddaughter. She and Chris were both students at Dalhousie University. Zoe has since graduated and she and Chris married in the summer of 2019.  We enjoyed Halifax very much and even had a tour of the city and out into the harbor.

On the way home we had a layover at Pearson Airport in Toronto so it was possible for Pam‘s daughter Alison(Ali) to come to the airport to visit with us. That was my first meeting with Ali, another of Pam's many offspring.  That left only one of her eight children that I had not yet met and that was Debi who lives well outside Toronto. More on the two Toronto daughters later.

I believe it was the second trip  to  Alberta that Pam and I were able to visit my favorite granddaughter, Kyla and her wonderful family.  They had recently moved from within the town of St. Paul to just outside the community.  Their new place is fabulous, a perfect place to raise a family and know Kyla and Danny, a bunch of dogs; ha ha. I believe it was the first time that Pam and I had the great pleasure of meeting Kyla's third child, a beautiful daughter they named "Kaynee." It's  hard to express just how special this child is.  She has the sunniest disposition of a child I had ever seen.  She was/is so cute in looks and personality and is a joy.
Since that move there has been big changes in the family,  the town and the province.

For the past several years Danny held  a very responsible job of superintendent of a mega construction project many hours from home which necessitated too much time at the site and not enough time at home with his family. I have to say that Danny is an excellent husband and father and although he suffered a huge reduction in salary, he applied for, and was accepted as Superintendent for the Municipality of St. Paul.  Danny was also the driving force behind a first class Skate Park in St Paul and also owns and runs a beautiful shop which deals in quality clothing, gifts and much more.  He is a driving force in St. Paul and it is my prediction that sometime in the future he will be mayor of that community.  That is if he leans to politics at all.  That I do not know.

I should mention here that well before Danny's move to the Municipality,  the bottom, so to speak, of the oil industry in Alberta fell out.   Thousands in the oil patch were laid off and unfortunately Andrew was among them.  Although I said "unfortunately, that is not entirely true because the Municipality found themselves in need of a surveyor, heard they had one living right in St Paul and hired Andy.  Again there was a significant loss of wages but Andy has been very happy with his new job and since then has been promoted and I believe is in charge of the work-force and, funny thing, the hiring and firing.  The reason I say a funny thing is because Josh, although he stayed working on the pipeline, was getting significantly less work and finally bit the bullet, left the oil industry and was hired by the Municipality as surveyor.

I should mention that Azen, whom, since almost a baby, has been unofficially adopted as Josh's son.  Azen is now considered one of the family and for me? another great grandchild. Last year Azen successfully completed a year at a military academy in Ontario and is now completing high school in St Paul.

I'm not sure of the time-line but many years back after Heather and Ken left Owl's Eye and moved to Olds,  Ken was laid off from his job as poultry specialist in Alberta and found it necessary to move to Kenora, BC to work for Clearbrook Grain and Milling also as their poultry specialist... Heather remained in Olds and it was a rough time for them with either Ken travelling back to Olds or Heather travelling to Kelowna when possible.  After three years Ken resigned from the Kelowna job and moved back home to Olds to travel for Master Feeds in Edmonton, working then for another four years and then retiring from the workforce. More big changes for the Petterson's; Heather retired from her Dialysis tech position at the Olds hospital  and, mainly because they are such devoted and wonderful grandparents, sold their house in Olds and moved to a beautiful home in Mundare, a much smaller community located between Edmonton and St Paul.  Now they are only a one hour drive from their grandchildren,

3514 is a number I will probably always remember;  why?  because it was the number of our stateroom aboard the Carribean Cruise ship , “Jewel Of The Sea ''.  It was March of 2018 that Sue and Rick planned this wonderful 16 day cruise to the Caribbean.  They invited Pam and me to go along and of course we accepted.  When we told Heather and Donna about it, they thought it was a great idea and decided to join the party, then it was the same with Philip and Niall so we ended up with a party of eight.

We all made our own way to San Diego, the Port of departure and all met there at a Holiday Inn where we stayed for two full days before boarding this beautiful ship.  We had a wonderful time cruising around San Diego on bus tours and a huge amount of walking. Yes, of course I had my walker.  At this point I have come to depend on it very much.

We enjoyed San Diego but oddly, when I think of it, the time I remember best and enjoyed most is when the eight of us hiked a considerable distance the last evening there to a fish restaurant.  It was a hugely popular place and we had to wait a long time in a line just to get in.  I don’t remember what I ordered, probably fish and chips which I always enjoy but it was just the fact that we were together and had a wonderful time.

The next day saw the long drawn out process of boarding the “Jewel” and the beginning of our sixteen day adventure. During the voyage we all did our own thing during the day and gathered together for our supper meal.  Speaking of meals, our breakfast and lunch were always in a huge buffet called the “Windjammer”.  This place had just about everything one could ask. Very often we would meet Heather and Donna and discuss our plans for the day.

Pam and I spent much of the time at the swimming pool on the 12th deck.  This time I did get my swimming trunks wet, even going in the pool twice in the sixteen days.  Pam was in the pool much of the time and I just enjoyed one of my favorite past-times,  “people watching”, especially poolside.

Pam and I both  being avid readers did of course take our books along with us and enjoyed relaxing and reading in our cabin, always mindful of the time as there was always other things to do, a movie in the very small theatre, trivia games in the bar area, or even just relaxing on a deck chair and of course, people watching.
Speaking of theatres, the main one on the ship was called the Coral Theatre and was ample sized , I would guess had a thousand capacity.

Each evening our family of eight would meet in the main dining room for our supper. We had the same table with the same two waiters every meal.  I’m sorry that their names escape me but they were just excellent, gave us the very best service possible and were so friendly that when the voyage was over, it was so darned hard to say goodbye.  The food was very good with a varied menu each night and although there was a wide choice of desserts, the apple pie and ice cream was so good I favoured it almost every night.

Very soon after our meal was finished most of us would head to the  Coral theatre where live acts were performed every night.  The singers and dancers were very professional and enjoyed it very much, but it wasn’t  singing and dancing every night. I recall one night it was a professional pick-pocket doing his thing with Rick being up on the stage with him.  It was hilarious! One evening they did a take-off show modelled on the television program,“The Newlywed Game” Three couples were on the stage. One couple married over 50 years, the second couple married over 25 years and the third couple married less than five years, unbelievably when they asked for a show of hands for the couple of less than five years, only one couple raised their hands.  Pam and me!  Yes, we ended up being one of the three couples on the stage.  What can I say?  It was embarrassing but very funny and we provided good entertainment for all.

Naturally as with most Cruise Lines, Destination Stops were provided and with our sixteen day cruise there were five stops. Pam and I took advantage of each and every one of them. The first was Cabo San Lucas, then Puerto Vallarta, both in Mexico. From there we landed and spent the day in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colon in Panama and Cartagena in Columbia. Of course the purpose of the trip, passage through the Panama Canal was educational as well as unforgettable.

Sadly our very much enjoyed cruise came to an end landing at Miami, Florida where we spent an enjoyable two days before flying out of Fort Lauderdale so thankful we were able to experience this wonderful cruise before the coronavirus pandemic reared its ugly head.

Don Roy Welcome
Narrative I
Narrative II
 Narrative III
 Narrative IV
Narrative V
Narrative VI
Narrative VII
Narrative VIII
Narrative IX
Narrative X
Photo Album I
Photo Album II
Photo Album III
Photo Album IV
Photo Album V
Photo Album VI
Photo Album VII
Photo Album VIII
Photo Album IX
Photo Album X
A Lifetime of Piping
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