It was with some depredation that we placed ‘Catsie’ in her cathouse and left Mickey, our Jack Russell Terrier, behind in the care of Grandson Paul Swinney. Both animals seemed to know that we were preparing to depart for somewhere for they trailed us closely as we gathered things from various drawers and hangers and made zipping noises with our luggage; all our actions were different somehow and the two sensed that a separation was pending and the silence they knew would surely follow was to be dreaded.
Dark took its time arriving and we clung to our pets as if we were leaving them forever. Guilt feelings were in the air while we waited for our friends Richard and Barbara Locke to arrive for the ride to the Sacramento Airport. Once beyond the gate to our home on Awesome Hill, we focused our conversations on the adventure ahead. Our thoughts, however, were on Catsie and Mickey and the memory of them left behind were with us the entire vacation.
Jet Blue was on time and we boarded for a non-stop flight to New York. We had aisle seats and flew in relative comfort; as much as can be had; both of us managing to get a couple hours of sleep. The sun was well up as the blinds were lifted inside the aircraft. In the distance were the harbour, the beautiful Statue of Liberty, and the skyline of New York. We searched for a glimpse of the Queen Mary 2 as we glided near the city and touched down at JFK.
With bags in hand we looked for our ground transportation person, spotted her with her luggage cart, and moved in her direction. Once outside we had only minutes to wait for the vehicle to arrive and begin the 35 minute ride from the airport to the Brooklyn Pier. We seven passengers craned our necks as if there were a contest among us to be the first to sight the grandest ship on the Seven Seas - the Queen Mary 2. There it lay dwarfing the dock and the buildings in the area. It was a grand ship to see from a distance; marvellous lines, a colour mix of black, red, and white, tall and long, and waiting just for Freda and me. Our waiting in the Cunard terminal for whatever business had to be conducted was short and comfortable. We visited, chatted with others, and made use of our time by watching the efficiency of staff and ship’s crew. Then the gate was opened and we filed in orderly fashion to the check-in counters, cleared them in minutes, and headed for the three level gangway.