PEOPLE – not the magazine, but the real deal

“Be our guest” night at Disney’s Luminaire’s Dinning Room – David, Grace, Haley, Naomi, Rebekah, Craig, (David), Derek, Andrew, Drew, Hudson, Hannah

There’s only room for so many cruise stories and so many pictures of big boats, so I think today’s post will have to be a wrap on this Disney series. I’ll make this one about people, and people were the exact reason we steamed out of Port Canaveral in the first place.

The Disney Magic Cruise was the official “60th Anniversary Celebration” for my parents, Grace and David Maul. The actual date is May 24, and we’re going to celebrate with a small family dinner at our home. I plan to write more about the providence that guided two young Londoners from the 1948 meeting where David first heard Grace lift her voice in prayer (sight unseen) to today’s extended family based here in Florida. But in this post I’m simply going to share “formal night” from the cruise.

Andrew Maul and Naomi Campbell

DRESS UP: Personally, I’m not a big one for dressing up. But it is fun when we all do it together for a special occasion.

The setting was “Luminaires Restaurant,” themed from the dining scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and if there’s one thing Mickey Mouse and friends do well then it’s play dress-up and put on a show. It was all “be our guest” all evening long and we had a lot of fun.

Our children, Andrew and Naomi, have always made us smile. But what a treat to enjoy this time of our lives together! They’re both so genuinely happy, and fulfilled, and overflowing with authentic life. Andrew and Naomi make this world a better place by virtue of how they live their lives, and there’s little that could make us more satisfied as parents.

Naomi, David, and Craig Campbell

GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN: For my mum and dad, on their 60th, great-grandchildren are just icing on the cake. They have three. There’s our David Henry, of course, but then my niece Hannah and her husband Drew have Haley and Hudson.

My brother Geoff, bless his heart, hit the jackpot with his grandchildren and – as you can tell just by looking – there’s a great deal of his spirit in both of them. Haley is a bona-fide princess, and Hudson is completely at ease mixing his formal tuxedo with large amounts of messy chocolate.

Drew, Hudson, Haley and Hannah Roberts

Hannah and Drew live in Palmetto. She is a social worker and he is finishing specialized training as a medical technician.

My brother poured himself into Haley and Hudson over the final years of his life, and while his passing left a profound vacuum, his lovingly applied presence also left a legacy that is tangible and permanent.

That same evening I convened a family gathering at a quieter location in the ship. I asked everyone to share a favorite memory of Geoff so that he would be  a deliberate part of our conversation as we celebrated together. Haley honed in on a unique aspect of her grandfather’s personality when she said, “Pop-pop always told me we should have a ‘Plan-B’… and ‘Plan-C’… and ‘Plan-D’….”

David and Grace – still smooching after 60 years. Good for them!

MISSING PICTURE: It looks like no-one snapped a photo of Rebekah and me that evening other than the group shot above.

But I did make sure and catch this one (left) of the celebrated Diamond Anniversary Couple. We’ll make them do it again on May 24th, you can be sure.

But I can’t think of a better reason to get on a big boat, dress up, and celebrate together. Sixty years of committed, faithful love. Not 60-years of easy love; not we-never-had-to-try love; not life-is-a-bed-of-roses love. But faithful, committed love.

It’s the best love there is. – DEREK

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