Our Inspiring Jubilee Cruise

Today I am awash with memories of our recent vacation celebrating our upcoming 50th anniversary. To begin to catch you up, I’d like to share an easy but tasty salad served to us last week in the dining room of our luxury cruise ship, the American Star.

—RuthAnn Ridley

Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad

 You will need:

Firm Goat Cheese, cut into ¾ inch cubes

Small cut of Watermelon, cut into ¾ inch cubes


A light salad dressing


Plating up:

On individual salad plates, place a small heap of dressed argula. Then, alternating watermelon and goat cheese, place cubes around the salad at fairly wide intervals. Voila! You have a masterpiece of taste and beauty.

Food for Thought:

We have just returned from a delight of a vacation, marked at every turn by Southern hospitality. We were served a beautiful salad or an exquisite soup and our choice of desserts such as Bourbon Pecan Pie or Orange Sour Cream Cake every day of our cruise. When I asked our young waiter if it would be at all possible to obtain the recipe for American Cruise Lines’ Charleston Shrimp Bisque, he was back with a copy of it in an instant. I can’t wait to try it.

Before the trip I had been ill and depressed, but the stimulus of the cruise and a ton of answered prayers gave me a new zest for life. Everywhere we turned there were new sights and sounds.

A pretty tour guide, dressed in a hooped skirt and shawl, did dramatic presentations and stories of the Gullahs who were slaves brought to America from Angola. Sometimes she burst into bird-like song. A tall, stalwart Gullah woman preached to us in a tiny Praise house, flinging her arms and banging on the wall, “You watch! I tell you freedom’s gonna come, but until it does, we free on the inside because of de Lord.” This was all done in the folksy Gullah language.

These inspire me

These inspire me

At Jekyll Island we visited the Turtle Rehabilitation Center where giant sea turtles are given a new chance at life. We watched therapists scrub years of barnacles and encrustations off the shell of a huge Loggerhead turtle.

In Savannah we were invited into the home and birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts—Juliette Gordon Low. It was furnished with authentic 19th century pieces and decorated with skillful portrait paintings of Juliette’s parents, husband and Juliette herself, beautiful, intelligent and poised.

St Simon’s Island was my favorite island out of the many we visited, and the most beautiful, with its forests of majestic Live Oaks hung with curtains of Spanish Moss. The highlight was a big-hearted welcome into the classic white steepled Christ Church, central to one of my favorite books, Beloved Invader by Eugenia Price. The church was built of durable heart pine and structured in the shape of a cross. It is still active, hosting two services every Sunday.

Undergirding everything was a spirit of hospitality that soothed our hearts. Our cruise director Chris was always available to answer any question we might have. He set up musical entertainment every night, and made us special margaritas from his own original mix.

Our guest lecturer, Sandy, lingered in the Chesapeake Lounge, which was full of couches and picture windows that looked out on the water. She was always reading a book, but emphasized that we were to interrupt her at any time. She wore a blonde plait and fashionable asymmetrical tops and was a wealth of historical and geographical information. And she was interested in YOU.

With Love

With Love

The wait staff wore sweet smiles and had an attitude that said, “If there is anything I can do for you—anything—please let me know!”

The crowning touch of our two week vacation was enjoying the hospitality of my sister and brother-in-law in their lovely St. Augustine Beach home: home cooked meals that hit the spot, a thrilling piano concert, a tour of historic churches and forts and the freedom of sitting on their lanai, looking out on roses and camellias and reveling in birdsong.

Walking on the beach

Walking on the beach

Another highlight of the trip was encountering a God-seeker who had prayed there would be someone on the cruise she could talk to about spiritual things. Since that had been my prayer also, it was a special blessing to connect and to be able to speak together about what was dearest to our hearts.

On this our Jubilee Vacation, God has smoothed the pathway before us at every turn. He has been our host. Praise his bountiful name.


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