Since I, however, usually take my holiday with a view toward smoking and drinking, I wasn’t holding out much hope for this excursion that my wife, Ellen, had planned in favor of my daughters, Grace and Abigail, and their friend Arianne. With the kids in tow, I assumed a general health program would be the better course. In fact, I had so despaired of pursuing my usual high jinks that I left the States having packed no cigars.
On arrival, my instincts seemed spot on. Guests roamed the grounds in tidy little family units, earnestly on their way to avail themselves of cones from the cotton candy machine or to catch the next performance by the characters from Sesame Street who moved about en masque. When we returned to our suite each night we were greeted by a little dog fashioned from towels to amuse the kids. This was going to be a trying week.
But once again I had foolishly underestimated Ellen. First, of all, the all-inclusive policy of Beaches extended to the many bars (even the swim-up type) and to the well-thought-out wine program. But furthermore, my lovely wife had arranged for butler service in our suite. Our man Dwayne, it develops, might have been Jeeves himself in his constant anticipation of my needs. Not only did coolers of beer mysteriously arrive at our poolside cabana, but he somehow divined that a bottle of bourbon and plenty of soda water would be necessary provisions for our room.
Yet I still had one problem. I was jonesing for a smoke and I’d left those burners at home.
Photo by Arianne Norman
I sent the kid’s packing to X-Box land and repaired to the patio sans relations. As I torched up my fumer, I reflected to myself, “The secret to a well-planned family vacation is the illusion of togetherness.”