St. Petersburg never ceases to impress me. The downtown activities here are nonstop. There seems to be a happening just about every weekend. There are always concerts, festivals, parades and even a Grand Prix. This weekend was the lighting of the Christmas tree and a lighted boat parade.
Allow me to digress here for a paragraph. Cindy has always loved Christmas. In all the years we have known each other, she has never failed to want a real Christmas tree. She likes to hear Christmas music and loves to search out Christmas lights. When we moved into our house, many years ago, it was mid December. Our furniture had just arrived and we were up to our ears in boxes. That didn’t stop her from going out and buying a tree and finding the moving box with the decorations. That year we truly had the Charlie Brown Christmas tree as it was the weekend before Christmas and the pickings were slim. But, it was a tree and Cindy was happy. I was not much of a Christmas enthusiast when we met. But, over the years Cindy has changed me. Her infectious spirit has rubbed off and I too now enjoy the festivities of Christmas. In fact, Christmas tree weekend at our house was planned around October. Cindy teases me about being grumpy when we put up the tree, but the truth is it makes her so happy and that is really what I like to see. I also hate shopping. However, I have grown thanks to Cindy. I really enjoy the buying and giving of gifts.
So, meanwhile, back in St Pete: We walked down the waterfront to see the boat parade and the city tree. Thousands of people lined the waterfront as boats decorated with Christmas lights motored in and out of the Vinoy Basin. We have watched boat parades in other cities and most are a little hokey. Usually there are one or two boats that go all out and the rest of the boats have a strand of lights at best. Not in St Pete. The parade was lead off by the Coastguard and continued for about an hour. Boat after boat passed each with dazzling displays. Some even had music and lighted animation synced. The boaters of St. Pete went all out. After the parade we took time to stroll around the waterfront. Santa Claus was there and so was an ice skating rink. Yep! Ice skating in Florida.
I surprised Cindy by giving her a tree ornament. Our hope is to collect an ornament for the tree from wherever we find ourselves at Christmas during the next few years of our sailing adventure. But back at the boat, there was panic. Cindy purchased a small Christmas tree last year. There was no way a Christmas was going to escape her without a tree, even on a boat. Our only problem was we couldn’t find it. We both thought we’d stowed it in the forward cabin under a berth. We looked everywhere we could think of and there was no tree to be found. Cream Puff has a huge stowage locker in the cockpit (big enough for two people to lie down in). This is where we keep our spare parts for the various systems on the boat. Everything in this locker is cataloged, inventoried and sorted into large plastic totes labeled one through eight. We both feared that the tree was somehow put into one of these totes. Since the tree was not an inventoried item, we didn’t know where to start. Getting into some of these totes means pulling them all out. This is a big ordeal and not a task I was happy about.
Yesterday, I was lazing about sneakingly getting away from the long list of stuff we have to do to prepare Cream Puff when Cindy opened the dreaded locker in the continued hunt for the tree. Oh no, I thought. My lazy day is about to turn into a work day involving a lot of heavy lifting. I’m not fond of heavy lifting. Of the eight totes, only one is accessible without being lifted from the locker. Cindy opened it up and lying on top in clear sight and easy reach was the small box with the tree. Her face lit up as she announced she found the tree. It was a Christmas miracle.