On the yacht with Jackie M. June 24, 1998 (and more)

Hi, kids--and a big, warm, sunny kiss from Jacquelyn Michaels. Mwah! I'm sitting in Verlene's chair for the day (more of a throne, really, with all of these tassels) so she can catch her breath after her latest international adventure. This one happened to involve me, which makes me qualified to write about it--not that I've ever felt disqualified by inexperience.

For the second time, I was privileged to be included in Verlene's entourage on a trip home to La Isla Bonita--Barbados--where the sun never quits and neither does the barman. I'm finishing the last of my plantain chips with a mournful sigh as I write this, but my tan's still strong, and so are the memories.

With husbands in tow, Verlene and I met in Gotham for the second in her series of birthday parties. The trip, in case you spent spring under a rock, was to celebrate the sixth anniversary of Verlene's first twenty-ninth birthday. Or was it the sixteenth anniversary? I can't remember; I'm not much younger myself. Anyhoo, we met up with the vivacious and oversexed Alana Empty, our hostess for the evening (thanks, sistah!); actress T.J., now starring in a life of men and theater (or is it theatrical men?); and other strapping New Yorkers for a couple of hours in Margaritaville before heading back to Alana's. It was a quiet ride to JFK early the next morning. Dan and I blew kisses to Verlene and David as we stepped out of the Town Car and onto our separate flights. We regrouped that evening in Barbados, and after a night of rest we were herded into an airplane smaller than a Miata for the flight to St. Vincent. I've never been much on prayer, but I crossed myself like a busy street when that thing took off!

And my prayers were answered an hour later when I saw the boat that would be our home for the next week. As the Godzilla ads keep assuring us, size does matter, and that thing was HUGE! Sixty-five feet! All I can say is, there were seven of us on board for a week, and we made it through with nary a snit nor a snarl. It's amazing what good scenery can do for you. Or maybe it was all the drinks served up by lovely Paul, the Trinidadian mate, who tended bar with a heavy hand.

Regardless, the mood was magical as we sailed through the Grenadines from island to island, pausing to take in such sites as David Bowie's house on Mustique, where we rented a mule (it's not what you're thinking) and somehow managed to get lost on the island's only road. We snorkeled and lounged around like four indolent sun goddesses, growing darker by the day, and when the stars came out we put on our sarongs and feasted on lavish meals served up by Jan, the English cook (not an oxymoron after all!). Of her many creations, my favorite was the bread shaped like a turtle, complete with peppercorn eyes.

It was over all too soon, and we bid the crew adieu with tears in our dazzled eyes. Standing on another dock on another island, we wailed, gnashed our teeth, and vowed to return. And we shall! Do you hear me? We shall!

Back in Barbados, Verlene's delightful parents (and you thought she was hatched!) served a birthday tea poolside at their lavish hilltop home, where we were joined by V's charming cousin Veronica. (Does that family stick on a letter or what?) Verlene and David took off the following morning, but Dan and I stayed on to enjoy a few more days of leisure and pleasure. We were guided by Trevor and Andy, two charming friends of Verlene's from her days as a Barbados schoolgirl. Can't you just see her waiting for the bus, her hair sticking out in pigtails? The grind is all the more grinding when you've tasted the fruits of paradise, but I'm gradually readjusting, step by painful step. I hope next time some of you will join us on our travels, bringing our special, slightly skewed perspective to a new part of the world. Love and peace to all of you!

jacqui