DH and I were lucky enough to take a Caribbean cruise for our 30th anniversary. The ship docked in the Virgin Islands. We arranged for a shore excursion, a catamaran sail out to a reef for snorkeling and diving. Since alcohol and water sports are a bad mix, there were only soft drinks available on the way out. On the way back the rum punch was poured with abandon, and one group in particular was making up for lost time.
DH was wearing his favourite hat, a well-broken-in Tilley that had once belonged to his father. It had great sentimental value. We were sitting in the bow when a gust of warm Caribbean wind flipped it off his head and drifted it back along the deck, just out of reach as he chased it down. One woman from the chug-a-lug group snatched it up and settled it on her head. DH arrived, smiling and thanking her for catching it. She refused to give it back! “What’s my reward?” she asked with a smirk. DH was too canny to go there, so he simply smiled and held out his hand. Reluctantly she handed it back, and he returned to the bow to sit with me.
When we arrived on shore, we got on an open air bus to go back to the city center. We sat in the last row but one, and – oh, goody! the hat catcher and her group sat immediately behind us. DH had his hat on his lap. Five minutes into the trip back, she reached over his shoulder, grabbed the hat, and jammed it back on her head. We were stunned! DH turned and said, with all the ice of his 56 Canadian winters, “Excuse me; I believe that’s my hat,” and held out his hand. Rather than returning it, she started a game of keep away, tossing the hat back and forth with her friends. DH snatched it out of the air and she lunged for it again. Before he could turn away, she hunched forward and heaved her many, many glasses of rum punch down her lap, her friends’ feet, and, of course, DH’s hat. What a class act!
I gingerly reached back, shook the hat into her lap, and placed it in a plastic bag so we could take it back to the ship and have it cleaned. Once back in our cabin and showered, we were sitting on our balcony when the ship’s whistle thundered across the bay signaling our imminent departure. Much to our amusement we spotted Miss Chug-a-lug’s friends, desperately legging it up the long empty quay toward the ship, humping and bumping the barely conscious Hat Chug girl along behind them as they tried not to be left behind. 0124-11