As we sat down to supper the night that my husband, Michael, gave us the news, I could tell he had a special announcement for us. There was a twinkle in his eyes as we said grace, and he was rushing us through the prayer so fast that we could barely keep up. We had hardly spoken the word “Amen” when he began to speak.
“Okay, everyone, listen. I’ve got some really exciting news to tell you!” Then he paused, deciding he would keep us in suspense.
“What is it, Dad?” inquired twelve-year-old Sarah.
“Well. . . we’re going on vacation. . . to a very special place.”
“Ooh, Daddy,” gushed ten-year-old Stephanie, “are we going to the cabin again — the one where your boat got blown away?”
“Nope,” laughed Mike,”that’s not it.”
“Are we going to see the mountain where the presidents are?” guessed Sarah.”
“Mount Rushmore? Nope. That’s not it, either.”
Everyone became silent, out of guesses as to where it might be.
“Okay, dear,” I said, “we give up. Why don’t you tell us, for goodness’ sake?”
“Alright. We’re going to some place that you’ve always wanted to go, some place that they call the happiest place on earth.”
“Where, Daddy? Where?” Stephanie was pulling at her father’s arm.
I gasped, looking at my husband with wonder. “Are you kidding? Disneyworld? We’re going to Disneyworld?”
“Yep, Disneyworld.” He grinned at me, nodding his head.
By now both the girls were out of their chairs, jumping up and down with excitement. My husband told us the story. His sister Diane had won four tickets for a trip to Disneyworld with all the accommodations which she had no use for. She offered them to Mike. He offered to buy them at half-price (which is a steal, to say the least). He couldn’t say no to such a fortuitous deal that practically fell into his lap.
Disneyworld! It was the place where I had dreamed of going to as a young girl and I had always longed to bring our children there, but we could never afford it. Now fate was handing us the chance to make my dreams come true at last. It was July and our vacation was scheduled for November. As a matter of fact, we would be in Florida on Thanksgiving Day. But we were comforted by the fact that the hurricane season would be over by then. Our son Joe, was in college, so he didn’t want to take the time off to come with us.
The months flew by, and before long we were on the airplane, landing in Orlando, Florida. We had been fortunate with our plane tickets, also. We actually were supposed to land in Texas and then take another flight to Florida, but the airline made a mistake with our seating assignments by not giving us four seats together. When I telephoned to confirm our flight, I discovered the error and complained about the mix-up, at which time they ended up giving us a direct flight to Orlando, and not only that, we were given first-class tickets and landed twelve hours sooner than we would have originally. So Providence was on our side from the beginning.
After we rented a car and checked into our hotel room, we decided we would spend the rest of the day just relaxing by the pool at the hotel. The next day we decided to go to see the Magic Kingdom first.
“Look, girls,” I pointed out, as we came closer to the amusement park. “We’ll have to take the big paddle boat across the lake to the Magic Kingdom, or we can take the monorail that goes over the tracks high above the trees. Which one should we take?”
“The paddle boat,” shouted Stephanie.
“The train,” shouted Sarah.
“Well, Mom, I guess it’s up to you,” said my husband, as we were pulling into the parking lot.
I knew which one I wanted to take. The big paddle boat was painted white, and it looked just like the river boat right out of the movie Showboat.
“Let’s take the paddle boat.”
“Mom wants to take the paddle boat, girls, so that’s what we’ll do.”
We parked the car and walked over to where we had to pay for the park tickets. We had already bought four-day passes for a discount price at the hotel, so we showed our passes there and were each given bracelets to wear. Then we went to the dock and waited with all the other tourists for the paddle boat to come and pick us up.
When it finally arrived, the girls were so excited they could barely contain themselves.
“It’s a double-decker, Mom. Can we go on the top deck, please?” begged Sarah, pulling at my arm.
“Sure, Honey, I think we could manage that. What do you think, dear?” I looked at my husband, expecting a positive answer.
“Yep, let’s go.
I grabbed Stephanie’s hand, not wanting her to get lost in the crowd, and began to climb the steps to the top deck. We had no sooner arrived on the second deck when the whistle blew and the paddle boat began to move through the water toward the other side of the lake where the Magic Kingdom was located.
After five minutes of traveling on the water, the Magic Kingdom came into view and it was so beautiful. It was even more beautiful than I had ever imagined it would be. Then some music began to play from some hidden speakers located all around us. After a few bars, I recognized the tune immediately and a lump formed in my throat, while tears threatened to spill from my eyes. The music was “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
In that moment, I thought, “I finally made it here. My childhood dream has come true at last, and I’m able to share it with my daughters, and I know they’ll remember it forever.”
I was so happy. All I wanted to do was relish the experience because I knew that this particular moment in time would never return again and I would never feel exactly the same way again. For very seldom is one able to experience their dream vacation of a lifetime — even though it happens forty years later than it was wished for — and sometimes dreams really do come true.
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind
She brings to those to love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true
(Lyrics by Ned Washington)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” ~ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
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That Unforgettable Journey