On Gotcha Moments

It’s Valentine’ Day, so I suddenly changed my posting plans. Instead of telling a story about how we met or how lucky I am, here’s a story about us as a couple. After all, because we don’t have kids, we’ve spent a lot of time together.

Many people enjoy those gotcha moments, especially when they involve humor. On the other hand, being on the other end is another story. We had a first cruise to the Caribbean in early November, which was our fourth cruise … and this is a story of a gotcha moment.

Our common cruise itinerary includes going to “the show” after dinner. The first night show had only one performance, and that’s where the ship introduces the cruise director to the passengers – and it was there that we learned Mr. Ricky Mathews is one live wire. As my wife said after the cruise, “I can’t remember any of the other cruise directors, but I think we will remember him.”

We had two close encounters with Ricky on the 7-day journey, but I’ll start with the second – so keep in mind, we have been around him at that point – plus I imagine cruise director’s make it a point to know what is going on with the passengers.

The center of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas is the Centrum – an area with a small stage for music, a bar, a small dance floor, and plenty of places to sit. It is also open all the way to deck 11, so an elevator lobby on every floor also allows guests to look down to see whatever was happening.

This particular night was a formal night, and I think it was before dinner. Two of the ship’s singers did a 15-minute show on songs from a decade (I think the 70s). Instead of being on the stage, the singers sang from the dance floor and encouraged people to dance around them.

My wife and I were innocently standing off to the side watching and enjoying the show without any intention of dancing – well, until Ricky walks over, grabs each of us by the hand, and pulls us onto the floor with others. (I think he knew we were ballroom dancers.) So we broke into a ballroom hustle, outshined everybody on the floor, and even both singers said something about us over the speakers. Plus, they said something to us (which was nice). Over the next several days, someone recognizes us elsewhere (elevator, on deck, or at the theater) and says, “Oh, you are the dancers.”

However, what about the first encounter with Cruise Director Ricky Mathews? It was the first cruise (at-sea) day, and we attended what the ship billed as a dance activity in the upper lounge. We should have known better seeing that Ricky was in charge of this event. It started with about 15 people, but a few dropped out. We were innocently learning a simple hip-hop line dance.

At the end of the session, dear ol’ Ricky said, “Now that you know the dance, meet in the Centrum tomorrow night at 8 to perform in front of the ship.” As my wife and I frowned at each other thinking “He’s got to be kidding”, so we forgot about it.

The next day after dinner, we were doing the familiar stroll from the main dining room to the theater through the Centrum. My wife looks at me and then reminds me that tonight performance night while pointing out the other couples who were waiting around. Along comes Ricky, who shuffles us into a private room to practice, and then gives us Gotta Dance basketball jerseys.

Onto the Centrum dance floor we go, he tells the audience about the Gotta Dance Foundation, we introduce ourselves (I’m Frank from Cincinnati – and yes, everyone got cheers), and then we did the following routine (no … this is not us) … but I doubt if we will ever see anyone from that ship again.

This spring will be our 35th anniversary. We’ve endured and through my tough times, she has stood by me – and for that, I am thankful. So to the one who occasionally comments here as The Right Angle, I say, “I love you and I look forward the days to come.”

Centrum picture is from Ginger’s Blog, which has other good images of the Centrum. Now here’s the Gotta Dance routine from the senior dancers of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Enjoy!