Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Happy, Happy

For 20 years my parents have
celebrated my birthday by giving
me the gift of a trip somewhere with
my mom.  She does all of the leg
work -- research, reservations, etc.
and I show up for all of the fun.

{Yes, I'm totally spoiled!}

As I've written in the past, these
trips have grown in the same way my
children have, beginning with the
baby steps of long weekends away
 and progressing steadily to more
lengthy forays from the nest as
the years have unfolded.

Our travels have commenced in late
spring or early summer. We've been
to southern cities festooned in
azaleas and live oak; southwest
cities glittering under expansive
skies as blue as topaz; pacific
ports bedecked in sea-loving
gardens and hanging baskets; and
for the last few years, we've
cruised on ships sailing through 
sparkling seas.

Although Mom and I have seen many
grand sights over the years, it's
been the small things along the
way that have been deposited to
my memory bank.

Laughter.  Sunrises and sunsets.
Morning coffee savored together, on
porches and decks, at cafe tables
and on balconies.  The scent
of local flowers and local flavors.
And the warm smiles and hearts of 
so many lovely people that we've 
met along the way. 

This year's trip, in mid-June,
was no exception.

Sitting down to breakfast each
day in the expansive casual dining
room, we'd hear a sing-song,
accented voice calling out,

Happy, happy coffee! Who needs
more happy, happy coffee?

Pushing a trolley laden with
shiny silver carafes of coffee,
matching creamers, and packets of
sugar, Wilmar from the Philippines
dispensed equal parts refills and
smiles from 6-10am each morning.

Often, he sang a little tune, 
soft and low, such as You Are The
Sunshine of My Life or, on our last
morning, Leaving on a Jet Plane.

After our first day on the ship,
guests would greet Wilmar like a
cherished friend.

Happy-Happy! they'd call out,
waving, believing that to be his
actual name. 

Although Wilmar's work was humble,
he took his tasks very seriously,
treating everyone like VIPs who
required the utmost care and
consideration.  His personal mission
seemed be that every person would
leave that room with a smile, even
the most grumpy, non-morning types.

Mission accomplished.

Although we observed so many
beautiful natural wonders on this
trip, it's the memory of


and what I learned from him
that still lifts my heart.

The phrase Happy, happy coffee!
 will always transport me and my 
mom to a time and place that
brought us great joy together,
even once many of the other 
details of that trip have long

Let no one ever come to you
without leaving better or
happier. ~ Mother Teresa


(All photos of glorious
 Alaska, my own.)


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Love, love, love this, Suzanne. You are so blessed to have these special times. I love seeing the photos of you and your beautiful mother! xoxo

Mary Loging said...

What a rich history you have of traveling with your mom. Suzanne, you made me smile!

Latane Barton said...

I have to say that your post has left me 'happy, happy'. What a treasured time for mother and daughter. What beautiful photography. It was so refreshing and delightful. Keep those wonderful posts coming.

You may visit me at

Anonymous said...

Those photos are amazing. Enjoy your mom. I just lost mine. She would have loved to have done trips with just the two of us. I actually did with my dad, twice, but never with her. You are lucky to have her. Enjoy!!! It looks like you did!

Julie said...

Such precious moments...and the memories to always let you revisit. Love it. ♡ thanks for sharing. (Hug)

Julie said...

Such precious moments...and the memories to always let you revisit. Love it. ♡ thanks for sharing. (Hug)

Julie said...

Such precious moments...and the memories to always let you revisit. Love it. ♡ thanks for sharing. (Hug)

Dawn Y. said...

What a wonderful, wonderful tradition you and your mom share, Suzanne! So many precious memories, heartwarming stories, and gorgeous images! Happy! Happy! �� It was meant to be ~ in your year of #setittohappy. Cherish these moments! ��

Jeanie said...

I love everything about the post -- the photos are gorgeous and you both look so happy. But mostly, it reminds me of traveling to England with my mom the September after I graduated from college. It was our first solo trip together and our last, as not long after she returned, we learned of her cancer and she died a couple of years later. Trips after that one were pretty regional. To see a new and exciting place is always fun but as you mentioned, it is the small things that stick out the most -- talk times, laughing, finding a common thread we didn't realize or discovering something new together. I know you cherish these times for you are wise. One day they will be among the best memories of your life.

Lisa Ancona-Roach said...

Beautiful. Everything--you, your mom, Alaska, and Wilmar. Your mom is so special. I'm envious of the relationship you two have. So glad you are able to make such lovely memories. Happy, happy! <3

Bonnie said...

Oh, Suzanne, I love to see a new post from you. Your words immediately relax me, warm my heart and make me smile. You really should publish your stories. They are good, very good.
I lived in Alaska from 1986-1990 as my husband was in the army at Fort Wainwright. Your photos are beautiful. I'm amazed at your bear shot. We traveled in the summers in our motor home mostly fishing and camping. You saw places I didn't because Alaska is a big state. Someday, I'd love to do a trip like yours. The photo of you and your Mom is priceless. What lovely memories and special times.

Ella said...

I use to live in Alaska and you remind me of all the beauty and mystery of this unique state. So, magical that you can do this~ Love the photos and cheers, to happy, happy coffay-my accent. I am from New England~ I miss this great, magical place! I hope these memories fill you heart with cherished cheer. @>--------xo

Hayley Solano said...

This post took my breath away! What an absolutely special tradition. Your adventure looks like it was unforgettable. Thank you for sharing! I came across your lovely blog as I was a part of the Bella Grace Blog Hop as well, such a lovely publication isn't it? I hope you are having a wonderful summer! - Hayley | ♥