Sunday Post 18: No Ketchup?

On our cruise two weeks ago our ship stopped in Haiti.  It wasn’t the Haiti I pictured in my mind.

The vessel pulled up to a brand new doc on an private beach on the Nortern Side of the Island.  As we meandered down the pier I fully expected Mr. Roarke and Tattoo to greet us with a lei and a mixed drink.

The beaches were white, the water was clear.  There was parasailing, a huge zip line, a market that was clean and well-kept.  Our kids spent an hour in the lagoon climbing up gigantic blow up slides and trampolines.  The grown ups lay single file on comfy beach chairs that were arranged by locals on staff.  We gave them a couple of dollars for their assistance.

At lunch, we stood in line for a Royal Caribbean feast:  grilled chicken, hamburgers on fresh made bread, several salads and corn on the cob.  All was good… until they ran out of ketchup.  How can you serve a hamburger with no ketchup?  As many times as they’ve served this meal over the past year, certainly they have a good read on how many packets of ketchup they need to serve the passengers.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.

I stood and waited – for ten or more minutes.

“It’s coming sir,” they promised.

“This is ridiculous,” I murmured under my breath.

This was ruining my lunch – I couldn’t believe they didn’t have ketchup.

Finally a brave gentleman stepped in front of the buffet line.

“We are out of ketchup.  I am very sorry.”

Unbelievable.  UN-BE-LIEVABLE!

I went to join the rest of our group.  I wasn’t the only one who craved the condiment, but clearly I was the most upset.

I had started on my oriental salad when Michelle walked over.

“Dad, do you see that boy over there?”


“He’s on the other side of the fence.  Why is he waving a plate in the air?”

I glanced up, intending to take only a slight break from my chicken.  About 100 yards away stood a dark-skinned boy, he looked about 8.  He was Michelle’s size. 

Royal Caribbean had done a good job of hiding the fencing and barbed wire that kept him out.  It was painted dark green and there was a large barricade and a paved road between the shelter where we sat and the 8 foot high fence.

As I froze and watched, this boy lifted his shirt and began rubbing his stomach with his right hand, his left still waving the plate in the air.

“Daddy, I think he’s hungry.  We need to help him.  Can I give him my food?”  Michelle was visible concerned, her eyes big – her desire to help immense.  But there wasn’t a way – the barricade too thick, a security guard policing the area.

He’d have been satisfied with a ketchupless hamburger.  Why wasn’t I?

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  1. Charlotte Gregory

     /  May 15, 2011

    Yes, most of us here in America suffer terribly from first world problems like no ketchup, or struggling to decide what color to paint our new kitchens. It’s all about perspective and mindfulness.

  2. Aunt Susan

     /  May 15, 2011

    Mindfulness, how nice that in your and your families grief you can see that others have problems as well. It is all in the perspective we have. More importantly I think that Michelle wanting to share means a whole lot more. She saw the need and wanted to reach out. Do not doubt that you are raising of very caring kids.

  3. Outstanding post. Perspective.

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