The story below is fiction. It may also contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive, or are too young to read it, please leave.

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Dedication: To other authors of gay stories. There is much work and sweat that goes into writing. Some stories are successful and some are not. Nonetheless, it takes effort and imagination and more than a little guts to ‘show your stuff’.

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Chapter Thirty-one

Palm Beach Florida airport

The GV’s wheels touched down at 12:30 A.M. The night air in Palm Beach was cool, but not cold. The luggage was quickly unloaded and whisked to a waiting limo. 20 minutes after landing the black Cadillac pulled to the curb at the marina. Notified by telephone of the jet’s arrival, Captain Henri Larson, his son Hans, and Tim Harris, Ron’s ward and Hans’ boyfriend waited as the large vehicle stopped and the trunk released. From the rear curbside door Ron emerged first, followed by Matt.

“Henri!” Ron and Matt both said in greeting, before grasping Henri’s outstretched hand and pulling him into a group hug.

“It’s so good to see you again,” Matt said.

“We’ve all missed you too,” Henri said smiling.

Ron turned to the boys. “Hans, how you’ve grown. I’m pleased that you waited up for us.” He wrapped his arms around the boy, giving him the famous Turner hug. Then pulling Tim into a duplicate embrace, he said with a broad smile, “Tim, my boy, I’ve missed you terribly. Captain Henri tells me that you’re doing very well. I’m so proud of you. We’ll take some time to bring each other up to date over the next few days.

“I’m really happy to see you too,” Tim said grinning with a tear starting to form in his eye.

Tyler and Dan stepped out of the limo. Captain Larson greeted them as they appeared.

“Tyler, Dan, let me offer our congratulations on your union. I wish we’d had more time at Christmas to become better acquainted. I’m hoping that we’ll have an opportunity to chat over the next week or so, but I know it will be a bit difficult with you being on the PT I after tomorrow.”

“Henri, It’s good to be here.” Tyler responded. “I can’t wait to see the PT II and tomorrow the PT I. You can be sure we’ll find the time somehow for our chat.”

“Boys let’s get the luggage,” Henri ordered, “and get these men on board. We’re ready to cast off as soon as we’re all aboard.”

Ron tipped the limo driver who had unloaded the luggage and placed it on the walk. The limo soon vanished down the drive as the five men and two boys each grabbed baggage pieces and began walking down the ramp toward the pier where the PT II waited for their arrival.

The white yacht was a blaze of light as they approached.

“Holy Smoke,” Tyler gasped. “This thing is huge!”

“Wow,” Dan joined in. “I’ve never seen anything this beautiful.”

Ron smiled. “She’s a beaut, for sure,” he agreed. “But compared to the Sojourn, she’s a puddle jumper. The PT I is nearly as large, but is laid-out differently.”

“Where is the PT I?” Dan asked.

“She just finished a charter and will meet us in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow,” Matt replied. She will be your and Dan’s private yacht for the next few days, until the Sojourn leaves Nassau. Then the others whom we originally planned to cruise with will join you on the ‘I,’ and us on the ‘II’. The itinerary is for us to do some island hopping, and visiting several of the islands of the Bahamas. We’ll only have a few days, but it will be far longer than we had the last time we were here.”

“She is absolutely stunning, Ron,” Tyler said as they stepped aboard the luxurious ship.

“Yes, I’m duly proud of her. The PT I is as nice and has been impeccably maintained.”

“Let’s put our things in our staterooms,” Matt suggested, “then meet on the rear deck on the level right above us now. If we hurry we can watch the yacht’s departure. In a half hour or so there won’t be as much to see.”

“I’ll delay casting off for 10 minutes,” Henri offered. “Then later I’d be happy to conduct a tour for our newest visitors,” indicating Tyler and Dan,” that is if you’re not too tired.”

“I’ll save you the trouble,” Ron offered. “I’m sure your talents are better utilized on the bridge. Besides, I think we’re all pretty tired, so after a cocktail or two, we’ll take the short tour and retire.”

“That would be appreciated,” Henri responded. “It’s going to be about four hours of night sailing for us, though we’re more than ready and are delighted that you’re aboard. You can sleep in, in the morning if you’d like as we’ll be in Fort Lauderdale by first light, and should be moored long before you rise.”

A steward took the luggage that Henri had carried and the captain excused himself to tend to the final preparation for cast-off. The steward then led Ron and Matt to the Master Stateroom, while Lars and Tim escorted Tyler and Dan to the VIP Stateroom.

Once alone in their rooms, each couple joined their partner in a welcoming kiss. Tyler and Dan did a quick tour of their suite and after a moment to get settled in their rooms, each couple left for their rendezvous on the rear deck. When they had departed from their rooms, stewards quickly entered, unpacked their things and turned down the beds, ready for their return.”

Ron and Matt had arrived and just finished ordering drinks from the steward when Dan and Tyler appeared.”

“I ordered for you,” Matt informed the new arrivals. “I hope you wanted ‘the usual.’”

“Thanks Matt. Yes, that will be fine,” Tyler said as he and Dan took seats at the round table where Ron and Matt were waiting.

“If you’d like to watch the departure,” Ron suggested, “step over to the port side rail. It’s a sight to see this beauty maneuver in these tight quarters.”

“I just can’t get over this ship,” Tyler said. “You could easily live here and quickly degenerate into a complete wastrel. It is just too elegant!”

“Quit drooling,” Dan said laughing. “Let’s watch this puppy cast off.”

The two men stood and walked to the port rail. Ron and Matt picked up their drinks and followed.

Two of the crew were on the pier and upon orders from the bridge, unhooked the mooring lines from the dock and rushed aboard, just before the gangway began to withdraw into the ship and the metal half-door closed over the boarding opening. The engines could be heard but only slightly as the stern began to move away from the pier. The churning of the bow thruster being activated produced a new sound as it pushed the bow end of the yacht away from the pier as well.

The large yacht began backing very slowly until the stern was even with the end of the dock. Then the engines stopped allowing the ship to continue drifting backward on its own momentum while the bow thrusters’ props pushed the nose of the luxury yacht around toward the ship channel. As the ship approached the proper position for forward motion, the thrashing of the thrusters stopped and the slight throb of the main engines could be heard anew. Waves caused by the bow slowly cutting though the glassy water radiated away from the sides of the ship and could be seen very well as they reflected the ship’s lights. After maneuvering the yacht though the buoy-lighted channel, the engines could be heard more distinctly from their RPMs increasing and in reaction, the ship smoothly began to pick-up speed, entering the coastal waterway before heading out to sea.

The men resumed their seats and finished their drinks. Ron then led the other three on a quick tour of the passenger areas of the ship so that later Tyler and Dan could find their way alone. A quick stop at the bridge had Tyler gawking as he surveyed the state-of-the-art navigation equipment. Ending the tour on the open top deck, the three men watched the lights of the homes and land facilities slide past.

“What time is it? Tyler asked.

“Here it’s about 2:30 AM,” Ron reported. “That’s 11:30 PM Las Vegas time.

“I think we’d better call it a night,” Dan suggested.

Matt nodded in agreement.

“Yes, that’s probably wise,” Ron echoed their sentiment. “We’ll see you in the morning. If you get up before we do, give our stateroom a call, and we’ll join you for breakfast.”

“Likewise,” Tyler replied.

“I’ll probably wake up early,” Dan commented. “This is all so exciting, I probably won’t sleep a wink.”

“I’ve got something that should calm your anxiety,” Tyler said, taking Dan’s hand and rubbing it over his crotch.”

“Get a room!” Matt said grinning.

“My thoughts exactly,” Tyler responded as he stood and turned toward the stairway, offering Dan his hand.

                                    *                      *                      *

Aboard the PT II, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In spite of their prolonged lovemaking the night before, Dan’s eyes were open at first light. He looked at the muscular form of his lover and, soon for their entire world to see, his partner. Tyler’s body alone was enough to give a statue a hard-on, but inside of that powerful body was high intellect, great humor, and a truly loving heart. Dan still could not believe his luck in Tyler’s love for him. He knew how Matt had to feel when Ron and he became committed to each other.

Dan could see the brotherly resemblance between Tyler and Ron too. The physical proportions were different, but there was no doubt in Dan’s mind that they were brothers. Not only did they bear a familial likeness, their attitudes were similar. It brought to mind the debate about hereditary and environmental influences. Dan had no conclusions he could offer about that issue, but the resemblances and similarities were there even though the two brothers had been raised in different households.

Then there was their wealth. It was amazing how little the massive holdings belonging to the two men affected them. Sure, there were gorgeous surroundings and expensive toys, but both men were unmoved and unspoiled by either their money or power. The only time Ron seemed to exercise the power that massive wealth offered was when opposition raised its head to try to thwart Ron’s goals or attempts were made to hurt those he loved. Both brothers reflected the other’s best qualities.

Then there was Matt who was a great friend, unlike any Dan had ever known. His devotion to Ron was unquestionable and was returned in kind by Ron, yet they both had time for others. It was a love and outreach that Dan had only seen closely in one other couple, that of Bryan and Alan in New York. Dan felt a special kinship with Matt, whose modest background, like his own, had been uprooted by the love of a handsome and powerful man. Matt was a great example to follow because he had made the transition from a humble student to a wealthy and powerful man without losing the wonderful characteristics that made him so unique, fun and a joy to be around. Dan thanked God that the three men who had accepted him into their family were such admirable men. He was truly blessed.

As Dan’s thoughts continued to dwell on his great fortune in finding Tyler, he suddenly realized that there was no sound of engines, nor the gentle motion of travel. They had to be in Fort Lauderdale. The excitement of the day ahead drove the tiredness due to lack of sleep from his mind. He slipped carefully out of bed and donned a white, thick, terrycloth robe that was emblazoned with an embroidered “PT-II”. Stepping to a window, he pulled aside the vertical blinds and looked out on the port where they lay moored. The rising sun bathed the beautiful surroundings of structures, framed in the blue of the sky and sea. It was breathtaking!

He quickly stepped into the bath, noiselessly closing the door leading to the sleeping area of the suite. 15 minutes later, his morning ablutions complete and dressed in slacks, deck shoes and a polo shirt, he emerged from the room, finding Tyler still sleeping heavily.

Making certain he had the door card in his pocket, he slipped from the stateroom and headed for the top observation deck. There high above the water, he could get a panoramic view of the surroundings. Much to his surprise, he was greeted by a steward who offered him coffee and a sweet roll to tide him over until breakfast. Accepting the offer graciously, he took a seat and as he sipped the hot beverage, sat back and enjoyed the cool, salty air of their destination.

An hour later, Matt appeared, finding Dan with his eyes closed, enjoying the ambience of their surroundings.

“ ‘Morning, Dan,” Matt said in greeting.

Dan’s eyes opened and he smiled as he saw his friend approach.

“Good Morning,” he responded. “I woke up early and was so ‘pumped’ that I couldn’t go back to sleep.”

“I feel the excitement too,” Matt agreed. “Ron is on the second deck calling Tyler. One of the stewards told us you were up here. I came up to ask if you’d like to join us.”

“Thanks, I’d love to,” Dan said accepting the invitation.

Rising from his chair, he said with a smile, “Lead on, MacDuff.”

The two friends headed for the stairway leading to the deck below.

                                    *                      *                      *
20 minutes later

“Glad you could make it, sleepyhead,” Ron said greeting his brother as Tyler stepped through the sliding glass doors separating the rear exterior deck from the second deck salon.

“Good morning to you too, asshole,” Tyler said in jest.

“Glad to see you’re in fine spirits,” Ron rejoined. “Breakfast was just brought out, and we were about to begin. Your timing is perfect.”

“Good,” Tyler responded. “I’m so hungry, I could eat the north end of a southbound skunk.”

“I doubt you’ll find any skunk here,” Matt chuckled lifting the cover from a heated pan of scrambled eggs. Taking a large spoon and piling it high, he deposited its heaping contents on his plate.”

“Morning Love,” Dan offered. “I woke up early and couldn’t sleep.”

“Yes, I noticed you were missing when the phone woke me,” Tyler replied, with a faked glare at Ron “Been up long?”

“Yeah, about two hours and a half, I guess. It is a beautiful day and I couldn’t wait to get outside.”

The men finished filling their plates and sat down at a round table.

“When does the first plane of guests arrive?” Tyler asked.

“Around noon, I believe,” Ron responded. “I think the two planes left some time ago from Las Vegas. One of them is making stops in St. Louis and Atlanta and will arrive two hours later than the first, which is coming non-stop. The plane from New York is scheduled to arrive an hour after the first from Las Vegas. Jan and Sarah are meeting the planes and are handling the ground transportation to the Sojourn.”

“Where is the Sojourn?” Dan asked.

“Not far, about a mile away,” Ron said. “We’ll go over around 12 o’clock and greet the guests as they board the ship. There will be a buffet lunch there, and we’ll spend the afternoon welcoming our guests and enjoying the ship as everyone gets settled.”

Captain Larson joined the men as they continued eating.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” he said as he approached the table.

“Morning Henri,” they all responded, with Ron adding, “Won’t you join us?”

“Just for coffee,” he replied as he pulled up a chair. A steward soon appeared with a cup and a silver pot. “I’ve been asked to inform you about the evening’s activities.”

“What activities?” Matt asked. “I understood that we were sailing to the Bahamas.”

“Yes, that’s true.” Henri answered. “But there will be a bachelor party aboard the Sojourn as we begin our travel, and you’ll be flown back to the two yachts when it’s over.”

“That’s kinda unique,” Tyler said grinning. “The first double wedding where four grooms all go to the Bachelor Party.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Dan admitted. “I wonder if they’ll have any strippers?”

“One can only hope,” Matt replied with a grin.

                                    *                      *                      *

Noon, aboard the Sojourn

The limo that brought the four men to the huge ship, hurried away from unloading its passengers, headed for the airport to help in transporting the guests who would be arriving soon. A uniformed officer welcomed the foursome as they watched the limo leave.

“Gentlemen, my name is Peter, I’m the Chief Purser of the Sojourn. I’d like to welcome you. You are, I presume the Turners, Mr. Davidson and Mr. Barnes?”

“Yes,” Ron replied. “I’m Ron Turner and this is my partner, Matt Davidson. That husky fellow there is my brother Tyler, and his partner Dan Barnes.”

“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Peter said smiling. “If you’ll follow me, the Captain is waiting to welcome you aboard.”

“Lead the way,” Ron requested.

Moments later, the five men crossed the boarding ramp to the ship. Waiting inside as they entered the ship, the Captain stepped forward.

“Captain,” Peter said. “I’d like you to meet our honored guests, Mr. Ron Turner, Mr. Matt Davidson, Mr. Tyler Turner, and Mr. Dan Barnes. Gentlemen, I present Captain Cardone.”

“A pleasure Captain,” Ron said offering his hand.

“Likewise,” the captain responded. After shaking Ron’s hand, he moved around greeting each of the newcomers.

“Now I’d be pleased to take you around for a quick tour of the main deck,” the captain suggested. “Then Peter will show you to the Grand Suite, which is reserved for your use anytime you’re on board. The guests will be arriving in about 30 minutes, so we’ll make the tour brief. Feel free, to wander the ship at any time, and if you have any wants or needs, any of our staff on duty will be glad to attend to them.”

“Thank you Captain Cardone,” Ron added.

“Please follow me,” the captain said as he turned toward the atrium, the central multi-story space in the middle of the ship. Entering the huge area, they looked up and could see the upper deck and huge skylight towering above. The captain paused, and began to speak.

“Because the ship’s capacity is over 1400, the lowest deck of staterooms will not be used. On all the decks above that, only the outside rooms will be utilized, having been reserved for your party. All the best rooms are ready for your guests with the largest reserved for special guests that Margaret has identified. Most of the facilities normally used on one of our cruises, will be open for your group’s use. The casino will be open in the afternoon the day after your ceremony, and that night there will also be an after-dinner show. The main dining room will be open for dining throughout the trip, but the buffet will be open only for breakfast and lunch. We hope your guests enjoy their stay with us.”

15 minutes later the tour was over and the four men were given electronic lock cards to the Grand Suite by Peter as he led them to their private hide-away.

“Please make your stay here brief,” he asked as he prepared to leave the suite. “We’ve been informed that the first of the guests are in transit from the airport and are expected momentarily. Please meet them with the captain where you boarded.”

“We’ll be down shortly,” Ron said as the other three men explored the spacious suite and private balcony.”

He closed the door and turned to the others.

“This is pretty nice digs,” Tyler commented. “It’s not the VIP cabin on the PT II but it’s reasonably close. Hell, there’s even a hot tub on the balcony.”

“Well, I’d suggest that if anyone has to tinkle or whatever, they’d best get with it,” Ron said. “The guests are coming and we need to be down there to greet them. After all, we’re the hosts of this shindig.”

Five minutes later, they left the suite, making their way to the boarding area where Captain Cardone waited with a full retinue of staff ready to assist the boarding passengers.

As on a regular cruise, each of the guests had to obtain their plastic card that identified them for the duration of the trip, and take care of handling the items required by customs before they boarded. Soon they began to trickle onto the ship.

The four men took their places. Matt was happy to see that the contingent from Thornton arrived first. Ron, Matt, Tyler and Dan welcomed the small troop of boys, their house parents, Leonard, his wife and Frances Peale, Leonard’s secretary with her husband Jerry. Next came the initial contingent from Ron’s office. Will Nugent and his wife, Margaret Hunsaker and her husband, Mr. Peterson and his wife, as well as all the company heads and their spouses or partners. Mabel Kendrick as well as Petey and George, who were understandably excited. Tony, Robert and Jeffrey followed Tony’s mother and little brothers. Ron and Matt’s household friends came next. Dorothy Simms and her husband, entered with Mary Butler and George Parker who were welcomed as the friends they truly were.

The friends from Las Vegas kept coming, and soon were joined by the New York bunch. Alan Kent and Bryan Adams were accompanied by Alan’s son Rich, and his boyfriend Brandt. Bryan’s father, Richard Adams, his mother and brother, with his girlfriend completed Alex and Bryan’s family. Next came Jack Smith, the deceased Ted Thornton’s partner with his current partner Lonnie Austin, Bryan’s friend. From the Friendship Trust came Sam Bjornson and Tom Cordero, who had been on Ron and Matt’s last cruise. Staffers and executives from the New York office of The Friendship Trust, Aztec-Turner Security, and Construction Leasing filed in. Matt, Ron, Tyler and Dan soon gave up trying to remember all the names of the newest people they were meeting.

The second planeload from Las Vegas arrived, with many of Ron’s old friends and business associates, as well as staff from St. Louis, San Diego, and Atlanta. Most of the crews from the PT I and II also arrived, as well as Ron’s aircraft crews. Executives from some of Ron’s companies’ customers, Ron’s attorney, and several elected officials also came aboard as guests. There was a small contingent from UMC led by Paul McInerny the administrator and his wife, likewise from Friday’s Tires headed by Ken Friday and his wife, with Jarod Simpson, David Simms and Pete Sigler. Even Anna Rice the Director of the Las Vegas Youth Shelter, and her husband boarded with Beverly Comstock, the Deputy Director, and her husband. Ron could not believe that there were so many people, and that only about 10% were new staffers or people that Ron didn’t know.

After nearly three hours the last of the guests, Scott Telford who had just arrived from Antigua with his younger partner from Connecticut, came aboard. Seeing no one else approaching, Matt suggested that the four men retire to their stateroom and catch a little rest before mingling with the crowd. They all agreed and left the boarding area.

Thirty minutes later, after being stopped by several of the guests, they made it to their room. After skinning down to their shorts and plopping down, exhausted, on the two queen-size beds, all four men were quickly asleep next to their intended.

An hour passed when a light knock was heard at the door. Matt, who had awakened minutes before, got up quickly, slipped on a cabin robe, and went to the door. Opening it, he saw Alan and Bryan standing there smiling, each with a bottle of chilled champagne in his hand.

“We thought we’d come by, if you’re not ‘indisposed,’ Bryan said winking.

“Come in, come in,” Matt responded, giving each of their visitors a hug.

Ron heard the exchange, and had risen to don a similar robe, taking two more to the bed where Tyler and Dan were starting to stir.

“Wake up, sleepyheads,” Ron said grinning. “We have company!”

In minutes hugs were exchanged with the newcomers, and the six men went out on the balcony in time to see the large ship prepare to cast off. The wine was quickly opened and glasses produced and filled.

“I’d like to propose a toast to the four of you on your commitment,” Alan said raising his glass, clinking his against the others, then taking a sip.

“Thanks Alan, and you too Bryan,” Ron responded. It’s been an exciting time since I first met Bryan. It seems that since that time, wonderful things have happened to the six of us. My mind is full of the joys and, of course, some sorrows that have transpired during our friendship. I’d like to toast our friendship.”

“Hear, hear,” Tyler said raising his glass to the others’.

“Who would have dreamed,” Bryan said, “what has happened. And to think that I almost left before our first lunch.”

“How did you guys meet?” Dan asked.

“It was on the internet,” Bryan answered. “We met in a gay chat room, but before long we were privately IMing, getting to know each other and becoming real friends. After a year, Ron came to New York and invited me to lunch. He had told me he was an older guy, and I was upset because he had lied to me.”

“Yes, what he said is all true,” Ron recounted. “When I first went to the chat room, I thought, ‘gosh, I can be anybody I want to be.’ I really didn’t want to ‘hook-up’ with anyone as much as watch and participate in the exchanges, so I told everyone I was in my 60’s knowing they would leave me alone. I hadn’t counted on Bryan though. We became friends in spite of ‘my age’. I’m sure he didn’t feel threatened.”

The champagne glasses were refilled as Ron continued.

“It was through Bryan that I met Alan, and Matt was working in the hotel where I was staying. On my second trip to New York, I wasn’t sure if my motive was to come to visit again with my new friends, or to see the handsome stud I came to quickly love. As it turned out, I did both, binding my friendship with Bryan and Alan and falling in love with Matt. What could be better?”

“Over the next several weeks I made weekly trips to New York and invited Bryan and Alan to Las Vegas. It was the beginning of several adventures, which would take the rest of the evening to tell. Suffice it to say that a great many of our guest here tonight are here because of our friendship and our adventures.”

“I’m sorry we missed that part,” Tyler said. “I can only tell you that since Ron and I found each other, I’ve marveled at the great life, the wonderful people he loves and the generosity in his heart. I’d like to raise a toast in honor of Ron Turner, my brother and friend, the love of Matt’s life, and a true friend to us all.”

Glasses were again raised, and the bubbly consumed as Ron fidgeted self-consciously.

“I’m the newest member of this group,” Dan then said, “and I’d like to say how proud I am to be with such a fine group of guys. First, Tyler’s brother Ron and his love, my great friend Matt. Now there’s Alan and Bryan, as fine an example of two good hearts as you will ever find. Most of all, for me, there is Tyler. I say this proudly, that I love you Tyler, with all my heart and I’m forever grateful that you feel the same toward me. I guess it’s my turn to offer a toast. I’m going to offer it to ‘love’ the emotion that lifts our spirits to heaven.”

The final toast was acclaimed and executed, leaving each of the participants a bit on the tipsy side.

Alan then said “I guess now that we’re getting a little bombed, I can remember why we came here instead of just going on to the main deck. Dinner will start in about 15 minutes, so we probably need to get down there soon.”

“I hadn’t really thought of that,” Ron admitted. “But of course, you’re right. It’s going to be a long night, and we need a good meal if we’re to survive it. When is the bachelor party we heard about?”

“It starts at 10, and will last until midnight.” Bryan said, “ It’s adult men only, and I’m sure some of the straight guys there will be just a little shocked, but they wouldn’t be here if they were not accepting of our lifestyle. I helped plan it so you know that it’s gonna be fun.”

“I’ll not argue with that,” Ron said grinning. “If anybody knows how to have fun it’s Bryan. We’ll we’d better get going if we’re not going to be late to dinner.”

“We’ll see you at dinner,” Alan said. “Come on Bryan, you don’t want to sit here gawking while these guys get dressed.”

“Says who?” Bryan replied with a grin.

                                    *                      *                      *
Dinner aboard the Sojourn

Ron, Matt, Tyler and Dan were seated next to the Captain, Alan and Bryan, as well as dignitaries and close friends at the head table. When everyone was seated, Captain Cardone rose from his chair and tapped his water glass with his knife. Others echoed the sound and soon the room quieted.

“On behalf of Ethan West, the owner of Compass Cruise Line and myself, I’d like to welcome you all aboard. It is our job to make this short journey one of pleasant memories as well as a celebration for our most honored couples seated beside me. Ron Turner has asked for the privilege of offering a word of thanks before we eat. Ron?”

Ron stood. Many of the more knowing in the audience groaned, much to the surprise of the captain, crew and other guests. Ron just grinned.

“Tonight I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a bit different than what you expect, so please bear with me.”

“In the day’s when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water on the table in front of him.”

“ ‘How much is an ice cream sundae?’ he asked.

“ ‘Fifty cents,” replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.”

“ ‘Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?’ he inquired. By then more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.”

“ ‘Thirty-five cents,’ she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins.”

“ ‘I’ll have the plain ice cream,’ he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.”

“When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.”

“There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels, and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.”

A total hush fell over the room.

“In the midst of the splendor of this ship, lets take a moment to remember those who serve. Now, a word of advice my friends,” Ron concluded. ‘Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”

“Now if you’ll join me, I’d like to offer a word of thanks for our meal…”