Monday, September 14, 2009

I found a true hero

Current Project:Christmas Redemption
Status: Chapter two
As writers we are always asked where we get our inspiration or ideas for stories. I can whole-heartedly say from the world around me.

My recent cruise gave me a myriad of ideas and views into different relationships. It also gave me an even firmer belief in the power of love and romance watching couples who have been married 50+ years.

One such couple were high school sweethearts. When they talked about how they met and even about the pet racoon that they had stuffed and to his "addiction" at purchasing anything that was a good deal, you saw the warmth and love they shared.

Getting out into an environment you don't usually travel in can open your eyes and ears to so many treasures that can be used in your stories. It was for me anyway.

Our first evening on the cruise we arived at the formal dining room and found we were seated at a table for two. We enjoyed sitting by ourselves but heard all the people around us getting to know one another at the larger tables. When a steward came by and asked if we'd like to be seated at a larger table the rest of the voyage we said yes.

The second night we joined a couple from North Carolina, he is a retired fireman and she is a pharmacist and a couple from Alabama, he is a retired carpenter and campaign manager for Ronald Reagan, she is a retired county employee. These two couples were a delight to visit with and see their interactions. We, of course, exchanged addresses and they took one of my bookmarks and said they would definitely be ordering my books!

Several tables at a formal dining room on a cruise ship are designated to a waiter and his assistant. These two wait on you every night of the cruise. The night we joined the group table I was given the wrong order. I tried to endure and not say anyting but it was lamb. My family raised sheep when I was growing up and I spent many hours inside a large wool sack stomping wool. To me all lamb tastes like wool. So I gave my meat to my dh and the waiter asked me what was wrong. I told him I hadn't ordered lamb and he offered to get me a new plate and apologized over and over the rest of the night. I told him I was fine, I didn't need to eat that much anyway. (Did I tell you they way over stuff you on cruises?)

The next morning in the breakfast buffet line, the waiter, dimples, large smile, and twinkling eyes, came up behind me and offered to carry my tray and get me something to drink. All the time apologizing for the mix up the night before. That night when we arrived at the formal dining room, he held my chair, placed my napkin in my lap and said, "Patricia, I will be more careful with your dinner tonight." I told him it was okay. We had a wonderful dinner, he offered to bring me two desserts and folded my napkin into a tuxedo. The next day as I was eating lunch, he came to the table and offered to bring me cheesecake from the dessert counter (he remembered that was what I'd orderd the last two nights at dinner)

The third night he enthralled the whole table with magic tricks. They were much better than the magician at the theatre.

The second fomal night I asked him where he was from and why he was working on the cruise ship. He is from India a small province that was once owned by Portugal (he has a Portugese last name) and then was taken over by the British. He told me about his son and wife. Tears glistened in his eyes. His son was four months old, and he had only seen him in a photo. He would finally get to hold him when the boy was eight months old. I asked him why he was on the ship. He said by working for the cruiseline it gave him higher credentials when he applied to work at the high end hotels in India. He was far from home and the ones he loved to further his career and make a better life for his family. Hearing the pride in his voice when he talked of his family and a better life and seeing his charisma and interaction with all the people he came in contact with, I can see him one day running a highend hotel and his staff and clientele all loving him. He was the epitome of a true hero. And not just because he catered to me- it was because of his love of his family and his conviction to giving them a better life. And the sacrifice he's made to do that.

I have a photo but I'm on someone else's computer without access. When I get to my duaghter's house or at the airport, I'll try to add the photo.

Have you met someone in your travels who inspired you as a hero or heroine?


Alice Sharpe said...

Paty -- It sounds as though you're getting a lot of of your travels and that's what it's all about. Good for you.

I often find on trips that I identify more with the caterers, musicians etc. than I do the fellow travelers/ party guests. For one thing, in the past, I did most of this traveling as my husband's wife and so all I had in common with anyone at the parties would be him or gender. But the caterers, for instance, were working and if I hung around them, I got to learn a little bit about what their job was like and that was way more interesting than polite chit-chat with strangers.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation -- we'll miss you on Thursday.

Helen Hardt said...

Ugh, I can't eat lamb, either. Sounds like you had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, fun post, Paty!

Yum, lamb. That sucks you don't like it. Indian food recipes use lamb a lot of different ways. Geez, now I'm getting hungry for Indian food!

I just love Indian people. They have such an interesting culture, and yeah, they love to please people. It's how they're brought up.

There's a cute movie called "Outsourced" that has a lot of the Indian culture in it and it shows how different theirs is from ours.

They're such a kind and adaptable people. Even though they've had many outside influences 'invade' their country, they keep their rich beliefs and pass them down generation after generation. I love their dances, music, food and how they believe we humans should treat others. It's a fun culture to study. :) I'm doing a lousy job of describing what I'm talking about, but they're just so interesting to me.

Your waiter sounds like a wonderful man. I hope he gets to go home soon so he can be with his family. Family is sooo important to them.

Have a fun and safe rest of your trip!

Genene Valleau said...

Hi, Paty! What wonderful stories you are discovering on your cruise!

I don't travel much, but prefer to stay home with my crew of doggies. However, even with my limited exposure to the world, I come across "ordinary" people who act heroically. Just wish I could remember an example to share!

Thank you for sharing pieces of your trip with us. I have been enjoying your adventures!

Kendra said...

What a great story, Paty!
2 years back when MWRWA hosted a workshop with speakers (your SIL, I believe was one) I was inspired by Jennifer, the forensics nurse. I used a forensic nurse in the next book I wrote. I'd loved her personality.

Paty Jager said...

I put up the photo of Alfred and me.

Lisa Leoni said...

Sounds like a fun trip!!! I'm glad you had a great time :) Love the photo.

Anonymous said...

Aw, great pic! Thanks for sharing!

Paty Jager said...

Okay, made it through all my e-mails that had piled up.

Alice, This trip did more for my powers of watching than for relaxing. LOL My dh and figured out we are not the relaxing type. We both felt caged on the ship.

Helen, I new there was a reason we got along! LOL

Piper, this trip was filled with people of all Nationalities between the crew and the guests. So I acquired lots of information.

Genene, I'm glad you could travel by ship with me.

Kendra, Yep, that was my SIL. That lady was a fantastic person to use as a heroine.

Lisa, It was fun for the most part.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Sounds like you had a good trip, Paty. Even if you didn't "relax" it sounds like you enjoyed yourself.

Great picture!