Wednesday, January 12, 2011


“And now approaching on your right was the vacation home of Al Capone…” The Captain’s voice sent us shuffling from railing to railing. His spotlight would shine and we would gawk at the mansions of the rich and famous. (Or infamous in the above mentioned example.)

“And on the left is the slip where Johnny Depp moored his boat just last week. And that boat house just ahead on the left; a mere $35,000 per month just to park your boat under that roof.”

As we floated the canal our ooows and ahhhs must have sounded like a group watching Fourth of July fireworks. Boats twice as big as my house and ten times more expensive were docked in front of houses, or I should say mansions. Both lit in Christmas grandeur, making the evening cruise all the more awe inspiring.

I wondered why out of all the houses and all the boats only one had actually displayed what the displays were really all about; a Nativity depicting the Christ Child. I also felt a bit sorry for these poor folks who spent millions to have a place on the canal only to become center ring to this floating circus.

“And now if you’ll look at this empty lot on our right, do you see the large wooden play gym?” The owners of the adjacent house purchased this empty lot for 3.2 million to have this play gym built for their kids to play on. Only thing is, we’ve never seen any kids out there… Ever.” The Captain laughed, and so did most of the folks on the boat. I didn’t.

I thought. I wonder why? Were the kids just spoiled rich kids and they didn’t want to play outside? Or maybe something happened. Maybe we should pray for and not laugh at, them.

“Here we are folks; Jungle Island.”
We ate a wonderful meal and watched hilarious entertainers. One guy juggled sharp swords, bowling pins and bowling balls.

Our boat ride back to the bus was more of the same spotlighting. But for the most part we were too full and too tired to shuffle. We just sat and talked and enjoyed the cruise.

It was my daughter and I and about fifty other friends from our little village. We loaded the bus and settled in for a two hour trip back to our little RV Park. The tour guide talked and played games and BINGO. We sat in the back seat. I watched it all.

I watched how these folks talked with one another. I marveled at the abundance of laughter and the smiles all around. Eyes sparkled like the twinkling Christmas lights on the million dollar mansions.

Upon arrival we unloaded, like sand through an hour glass. Since we were in back, we waited. I stared out the window and wondered if my daughter thought less of me after seeing all those big fancy houses and then coming home to, well… to this. The entire park cost less than one of those mansions.

And then I noticed the folks walking home. Arm in arm. Smiling faces. And this thought occurred to me: The wealthiest folks we met tonight were right here on this bus.

They may not live in big fancy houses – they live in homes. And the only mansion they may ever have is the one “just over the hill top”, but with that, they’ve got it all.


a sojourner said...

i grew up poor and never knew the fact. it's like that verse about where our treasure truly is. fortunately, "we" know where and in Whom the real treasure is.

Ann Kroeker said...

Love joining you on this tour...and appreciating the simple things, arm in arm. That's how we live the best life even if we never live "the good life."

Anonymous said...

Growing up we lost our huge house to a fire and ended up moving into a trailer. We were then labeled poor white trailer trash. I was always ashamed of it and never wanted anyone to come over.
Now as an adult, I have been blessed with a good life, thanks to God and he has blessed us with far more than I could have ever imagined. I also know that living in America we are indeed very rich and don't ever realize it.
Money and things don't matter, time well spent with your family is what's most important. Sounds like you had a great time with her and one she will not forget.