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David Lodge

Return to shore

Nothing could be more middle-class than a cruise ship vacation. The telltale signs are all present: the women for whom decollete ceased to be advisable some years previously, the teenage girls teetering on high heels while chewing gum, the men wearing their caps at table, the "formal" dinner nights (must wear shoes), and, in the casual dining area, the plate piled high from the third trip to the buffet.

Middle-class to the core, I enjoy it. So when Kathleen's parents decided to celebrate their turning eighty with a family cruise to Bermuda, twelve of us altogether, I signed up gladly.

Mind you, I didn't drop so much as a quarter in the casino and bid on none...