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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman

Charlie ~ Chicken of the Sea

by Linda Coffman

Which came first... the chicken or the egg?

Our tour guide in Istanbul returned to the bus chuckling. He confided that several of his guide-buddies were discussing a book they plan to write. With a dozen American travel writers in his entourage, our guide had everyone's immediate attention. "What about?" we wanted to know. Oh... all about their zaniest experiences leading tours.

Like what? Well, there was a retired American who carried an ostrich egg with him wherever he traveled. Our guide laughed. "Can you imagine that?" he asked.

From within my tote bag came a muffled cackle. It wasn't an egg, ostrich or otherwise... It was Charlie. Charlie is a chicken. A rubber chicken.

Travels with Charlie

According to Charlie's adoptive "mom" -- Judi Drews, "Several years ago, Michael did a favor for his sister who was out at the University of Wyoming.  When she asked what he'd like in return, he said either a batch of brownies or a rubber chicken.  Well, as luck would have it, she went to a Math Conference that weekend, and lo and behold, they had a rubber chicken for sale. That's how we got Charlie."

"He started traveling with Michael on his business trips.  Then he started traveling with us on our vacations.  In November, we decided to 'share the wealth.'  He started broadening his horizons by sailing with John and Eleanor Harley, and the rest, as they say, is history!"

Charlie on the High Seas

Charlie was seriously bitten by the cruise bug last year during that introductory Mexican Riviera cruise on Carnival's Elation. It was during that voyage that Judi and Michael Drews (photo-right) introduced Charlie to online friends Jacki and Mike Dalton, John and Eleanor Harley, and Bob and Sheryl Hoover.

Charlie's life has been a whirlwind ever since... From Atlantic to Pacific, from the North Sea to the Aegean, Charlie's been a globe trotting Chicken of the Sea.

To get his feet wet a second time, Charlie accompanied John and Eleanor on a short cruise on their favorite ship, Royal Caribbean International's Viking Serenade.

Next, Charlie was thrilled with a round-trip Aloha cruise to Hawaii on Holland America Line's Statendam with Jacki and Mike (photo-left) and an adorable grass skirt going-away outfit.

Tossing a lei to sea -- and watching it drift back toward Diamond Head -- insured Charlie of a return visit to the Islands some day. We've all offered to take him!

But in the meantime, it was off to sea yet again with those cruise-a-holics, John and Eleanor. The Harleys had a notable mission, to sail on the final cruise of Royal Caribbean International's Song of America. They sailed on the ship's maiden voyage with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter -- this time they took Charlie to transit the Panama Canal with them. Do you suppose Charlie is a Democrat?

No matter... along the way Charlie got the royal (if not presidential) treatment and Eleanor treated him to even more spiffy duds -- a new sombrero and serape in Mexico. (photo-right)

Time for Charlie to do some land-cruising to Las Vegas with the Drews, Daltons, and Hoovers. Bob Hoover has yet to be entrusted to take Charlie away on a cruise... but it won't be long!

A pressing Dilemma

What's a chicken to do when there are TWO cruises to choose between?

continued on Page Two -- Charlie's Decision