It all started as a joke.
It was a rare reunion when all of my siblings and their spouses boarded the Holland America Lines’ (HAL) MS Zuiderdam for a Caribbean cruise ten years ago. This cruise brought together long-separated family members from New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, California, and Oregon.
Of course, we joined all the
silly onboard games and entertainment activities on the Big Z.
Sister-in-law, Patty, and I donned
ridiculous giant raisin costumes and joined a few other foolish spontaneous nerds talented individuals in a wretched an unequaled rendition of the California Raisin’s, “I heard it on the grapevine.”
Not to be left out of the
hysteria fun, Brother Bill, wearing only a beach towel wrapped around his middle (okay, so the towel hid his bathing suit), joined an elderly ravishing group of beauties ladies singing, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair.” Turns out, Bro was the one they wanted to get rid of! At the end of the song, they had had enough of him, so they took their own towels and swatted him off the stage.
Some of this was just too funny for words. Really. You just had to be there.
But the piece de resistance was the build-a-ship contest.
For this contest, each team had to build a ship that would float in the ship’s swimming pool. We gathered stuff, and I mean stuff, from everywhere on the ship: plastic bags, wire hangers, empty wet-wipes tubs from the hand sanitizing station, and any other floatable items that we could finagle from the HAL crew. The competition was stiff, but we knew we had a winner. After all, we had two ex-Marines, Brother Bob and Brother Bill, to construct our
winning entry masterpiece.
The rules specified that you had to name your ship, make up a song, perform a skit, and do other
embarrassing funny things to make people laugh and cheer. The teams that got the loudest boos cheers got bonus points in the competition. We were all for that, because we were never known to be a quiet, normal family. Ha, far from it!
We decided to name our ship the Kroey Dam, a shortening of our German-Alsace-Lorraine-Swiss-French family name, Kroelinger. The Kroey Krewe cheer became “Caw, Caw, Caw.” And we sang a song that is way too
embarrassing long to print here.
We had it made in the shade. People (well, at least our family members) stomped, cawed, clapped, and yelled, making enough noise to awaken alert the captain at the helm that a winner would soon be chosen.
Here’s the Contest:
Test One. The Float Test. How long will the ship float?
Each team launched its
duct-taped mess ship in the pool. One by one, ships sank. Of course the Kroey Dam passed with flying colors, along with two other lucky abominations contraptions ships.
Test two. The weight test. How many cans of
beer soda pop can each ship carry without sinking? Can by can, the weight increased on each ship, until….
There was no joy in Kroey Ville that night. The mighty Kroey Dam sank at three six-packs, out-canned by one solitary
beer soda pop can.
At least we did get a consolation prize: a blue coffee mug with a big white Z on it. And people did laugh
at us.and cheer.
And that was the end of the Kroey Dam and its
infamous Krewe. We retired to the pool for the rest of the trip, cawing quietly to ourselves.
Little did we know that within a few years we would resurrect the Kroey Krewe for less than happy purposes.
When my younger brother Bob, aka Refrigerator Bob or Texas Bob, was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma, we rallied around him and fought back against cancer with him.
The Texas Krewe du Kroey formed to walk in an all-night American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Burleson, TX. In 2009, the NJ Krewe du Kroey formed, and we (well, some of us) walked all night in Ocean City, NJ. The following year, the South Carolina Krewe du Kroey team walked all night in Summerville, South Carolina. Daughter Lisa joined a Relay in Folsom, California.
We relay because we want to see a cure for cancer in our lifetimes. We relay for TX Bob, for 9-year-old great-niece Joanne King, for my late husband Victor Hall, for my brother-in-law Don Millward, for my nephew Darrell Varnam, and for other family members, friends, and associates who have fought bravely but lost their fight with cancer. We cannot forget them. So we relay each year to show our solidarity as family and friends in fighting against this truly evil disease.
If you have lost family members to cancer, Relay for Life provides a forum for you to remember, celebrate, and fight back. Consider joining a Relay for Life in your area.
- The Burleson, Tx Relay for Life April 13-14, 2012 Kerr Middle School 7 pm-7am
- Summerville, SC Relay for Life April 13-14 Summerville High School 7 pm-7am
- Ocean City, NJ Relay for Life June 22-23 Ocean City High School 7pm-7am
Watch this video to get a sense of what Relay for Life is about.
Have you participated in an ACC Relay for Life? What were some of your impressions?