Melody brings on faded Memories


“Your song leads you ever on.”

Yesterday when my Jackson friends, Carol Kirkland, Ann Barksdale, Margaret Vise, my room-mate, Edrie Royals, and I boarded our ship, I remembered these words from an almost forgotten tune.

Even though the four of us had all been sleep deprived since leaving home, we had done some sightseeing set up by Viking cruise line. We enjoyed a few pleasant hours in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, a city of elegant French-style boulevards and lush gardens, an animated and modern city. We had heard about and been made aware of some of the history and powerful influences of the old days.

A stop for lunch though, had been rather unpleasant; I’d been part and parcel of a small, uncomfortable confrontation with another tourist.

Shortly after lunch, even though I was still stewing over the fiasco, we did a little more sightseeing, then headed toward our ship, the Viking Jarl.

There were about 190 passengers, but I must say, getting onto our ship was a smooth process. We had been greeted by the crew who were very friendly and made us feel welcome. There were warm handshakes, and trays holding small glasses of champagne. It was more like a walk and shuffle, than the hustle and bustle of boarding an ocean liner.

As Edrie and I pulled our carry-on suitcases down the hall toward our room, I thought I heard a melody from some other time in my life.

“…silver stream, through all the lands you merry the heart,” the words fading as I stepped into our stateroom.


Our room was not as large as those on an ocean-going liner but it was clean and efficient. There was a place for everything, a closet and shelf space that seemed to be designed for two people (as long as each person didn’t bring too much). Twin beds were small but comfortable. Even though there was enough room for us to slide our suitcases under the bed-frame, the mattresses humped up a little bit when we did this. We had our own mini-fridge, and a small balcony, which would allow for a breath of fresh air and scenery-watching anytime we wished.

I wouldn’t exactly call it a five-star resort setting, but it was a comfortable place to nestle in and call home for a few days.

We were on a time frame for dinner, but when Edrie and I finished unpacking, she and I sat on the balcony and caught our breath for a minute. Almost in slow motion, we each took our showers, then went for a welcome aboard dinner. The atmosphere of the restaurant, with floor- to-ceiling windows was casual but elegant. We ate, visited and shared a few thoughts of the places we’d been and the things we’d seen with our old friends and new ones we had just met. We dined on a five course gourmet meal, the ship’s chef showcasing some of the areas regional specialties. After a delicious dinner my eyes were getting heavy and the pace of the last three days was catching up.

“I’m tired and worn out,” Ann Barksdale said. “We’ve had several long days, flying from Jackson to Bucharest.”

“I’m unpacked and about ready for some shut-eye.” Carol Kirkland leaned forward.

“These last days have been fun and informative, but tough,” Margaret Vise said.

I pushed my chair back. “Along those lines, I’ll propose a goodnight toast.” I stood and raised my coffee cup.

“We’ve crossed the ocean blue, I bid you ladies a fond adieu.”

“And me too. I’m right behind you,” Edrie’s voice echoed.

“A sinking sun was being chased by the moon,” I said as she and I left the dining room.


Once back in our room, although it didn’t take either of us long to settle in I didn’t drift into dreamland right away like I thought I would. I barely heard a fading melody, one that seemed to pulse in tune with my heartbeat. Then an image came to me of my next-door neighbor, Dr. Frank Collette, Frank Jr., as he was called back then. He and I were about eight years old and taking accordion lessons together. The two of us played the “Danube Waltz” several places around town, one of them I especially remember, the old Vet’s Home, out off of West Capitol.

And now, all these years later, I’m cruising the Danube, and once again hear a sentimental tune.

“Cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon

The birds above…”  were singing when I drifted off to dreamland.


Sunshine streaming across my face woke me; the accordion in my head no longer played an old tune. I drew in a deep breath, turned over, pulled the spread up, and closed my jet-lagged eyes. But before I got comfortable, an unwanted thought hit. You’re not home. You’d better check the time. I rose up and turned my head. Six o’clock. I would have just been crawling into bed back home in Jackson, Mississippi.

But now I was awake. Even though I was bone tired I wanted to see and do what I could, while I could. I would probably not pass this way again.    

Trying not to wake up my cruise mate, Edrie, I eased to the far end of the stateroom, and pulled aside the drape covering the sliding glass door.

Sparrow-colored water sparkling in the early morning sun slipped quietly beneath the ship.

Memories came in the deep silence of the river.

“The noise of your passing is a song from old times.”

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