Back in the 90's there was a movie called Free Willy. My niece was graduating from HS just a few months after the movie came out. Back then she was crazy into competition dancing and marine life. I wanted to give her something very special for her graduation gift, something that couldn't get lost, wouldn't get used up and eventually be thrown away or be tucked away in a box somewhere. I thought about it for weeks leading up to her final days of High School and the end of her 6-7 night and day dancing rehearsals. So I decided that I would take her on a Whale Watch trip. I made arrangements for her to get time off from her part time job and told her to pack her bags. It was a surprise, all expenses paid one week trip. She had no idea where we were going.
I had it all planned out; Cape Cod was our destination and we had one whole week to explore it all. Back then I had AAA, which provided me with more information than I could ever ask for. She kept on me about WHERE we were going and I kept her in suspense….for days. The morning of our departure I had put the packet of information under my seat of the car. A small cooler with snacks and lots of music. One disk was hidden, the soundtrack to Free Willy with Michael Jackson's song "Will You Be There" all set to play. So, we made a pee stop about half way and as we headed back on the road I said "Okay here" and gave her the packet from under my seat which had loads of pamphlets on Whale Watches. She sort of looked at me puzzled for a few seconds and then I as I pushed "play" on the car stereo I said listen to this song……her face got flushed a dark red and her eyes flooded with tears………"We're going on a Whale Watch?!"
Never as long as I live will I forget that moment. Or that week. Our venture out to sea was mildly clouded with her getting seasick, but we saw Whales. We took ferries to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, we ate tons of lobster and sat on the beaches. She filled an empty water bottle with sand from each beach we visited. How cute.
We had every Michael Jackson song with us. She danced to so much of his music. And Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" number they did won them 1st place in every competition it was entered in. But our/my most favorite song that he wrote is "Will You Be There".
Jennifer Hudson was amazing on stage the other day singing that song. Hearing his voice in the background at the end just brought chills and many tears. I am sad for the loss of such a gift to the world and I am sad thinking back to such wonderful, beautiful memories. Wishing I could relive that week over and over again.