Photos added: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruthdaniel ... 20/detail/
Friday, March 2nd, was another day at sea. We were heading back to the Bahamas. We got ready early today for the red badge autograph signing at 9 am – 11 am with the GVB guys and Bill & Gloria Gaither. I arrived on the Promenade deck 3 to get in line late at 8:50 am. The line snaked through the gift shops into the Ocean Atrium, near the Gaither bookstore. The rest of the Phelps phans were at the front of the line at 8:30 am. I was talking to someone in the line and heard someone whisper, “Hi!” I looked up and it was David walking quickly down the corridor on his way to the autograph table. A representative from Inspiration took our cameras, as we went behind the table to take pictures of us with each artist. A Holland America representative took a professional photo, also. Things we wanted autographed were passed from artist to artist. They had organized this session very well. I had my picture taken with Bill and Gloria. Bill patted my face and asked my name. Next were David & Mark. I said Hi to them. David said, “You were way back in line!” I agreed and asked him how his eye was doing, if he could see any better. He said, “It’s coming along, not there yet.” Michael and Wes were next. I told Michael my name and that I had been to several of his solo concerts. He was glad to hear that. Wes said, “It’s nice to see you again, Ruth.” I took a few pictures of all of these artists at the autograph table. Mark and David were constantly talking and laughing! I sat with my phriends for awhile talking about the GVB. Marcie English gave Gail her I Am a Promise CD back. Gail had asked Lori to get Grant and Coby to sign it. Marcie said that Lori was busy doing homework with the boys and that Michael hadn’t been feeling well this week. The autograph line was getting shorter by 10:15, so Gail decided to get back in line to get the rest of the GVB autographs on their newest CD. They finished signing early with nobody left in line by 10:30.
I was in line for the 10:45 am special red badge concert around 10 am, just before the doors were opened at 10:15. There was no priority, so I walked to the front and found a single third row seat on the left side. Rory told us that they have named our group the “Rowdy Reds” since we are louder than the other group! Ladye Love, Reggie, the Martins, The Hoppers and Gene all sang at this early concert! The Hoppers were excellent, as always. I was so pleased that they had joined the cruise! Rory told us that Gordon was going to sing a song that he had heard so much that he was tired of it. But he had never heard it sung the way the Gordon sings it. It was One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus! We have all heard this song over and over. Gordon made it a brand new song and had me & several in the audience in tears! Charlotte Ritchie sang with him and also sang Song About Heaven, which also made me cry. What an emotional time! After the concert, I tried to catch Charlotte, but she & Greg left in a hurry. I was able to say hi to Kim Hooper as she left the stage and tell her that I loved her voice.
After the early concert, I went to eat lunch in the Lido restaurant. I saw Sonya with her baby Ayden, when I went to get some iced tea. I told her that I was glad she brought Ayden with her. I found a table aft at the kids’ pool, where Bill Gaither’s grandkids were playing. I sat down to eat at a table with some ladies from Seattle. I met people from Norway, Ireland, Canada and all over the USA on the cruise! I dressed up again for the 3:45 pm concert. The red badge concert was before dinner tonight, since we spent the day at sea. The line for the concert was already long at 2:45 pm, when I showed up. Lee saw me and I lined up with her, Gail and Judy. I sat a few rows back from a pole on the left side, by myself. David was in the second row on the stage behind the pole. I leaned to my left to take pictures of him seated and to my right for photos of anyone at center stage.
Bill opened the concert at 3:55 pm with Jesus Hold My Hand and Majesty. Bill talked about not being able to see everyone like he used to be able to do. Gordon said, “What are you complaining about?” Gordon sang Gospel Ship at 4 pm. The GVB took the stage for Journey to the Sky! Mark and David lifted Wes up so high this time I thought his flip flops would come off of his feet! Bill said after Mark went off dancing to his own tune, “Mark never reached the age of accountability!” Wes led the GVB on The Love of God. The Hoppers took the stage a 4:15 pm singing Victory Shall Be Mine & I’ll Worship Only at the Feet of Jesus. Near 4:30 David started the beautiful All in All with the other GVB members to follow him. The Isaacs sang I Will Praise Him with no accompaniment. Gloria read a passage and Bill followed that with all the artists singing Yes, I Know. Mark walked to center stage, then Kim, Wes, Charlotte and finally Joyce all singing together! Russ sang When He Calls Me at 4:45. Kevin had been talking about all the geese following our cruise ship earlier in the week. Buddy Greene took the stage with Jeff Taylor doing classical harmonica music and classical accordion! Feathers came floating down from the ceiling. Kevin pretended to shoot at something and a rubber chicken fell on the floor (supposed to represent a rubber goose)! Ha! It was a day at sea and Kevin asked, “Did anybody get off the ship today?” That was funny! The Isaacs sang Love Lifted Me, Glory Land and I’ll Fly Away at 5 pm. Becky talked about John 9 (I was blind and now I see) and sang Waiting in the Water (Every Step I Take is a Step of Faith). David left the stage for a few minutes before this song and came back as the Isaacs sang it again a cappella. The GVB took the stage with Go Ask at 5:10 and Gene McDonald started singing The Lighthouse. Kim, Michael and Dean joined him. Charlotte, Becky and Sonya sang Go Rest High and the GVB finished with the fabulous These Are They featuring Michael and of course, David! Holy Highway ended the concert a little late, at 5:30, but we weren’t complaining. Charlotte signed her CD for me at the end. I told her I went to David’s Barn Bash and I would like her to be a guest again. She told me to ask David to invite her again, since she would love to do this! I told her that I loved Consider the Lilies and Song About Heaven that she had sung!
Our dinner was at 5:30 as usual, but since the concert went a little long, we arrived for dinner a little late. I think I ate a gourmet chicken dish tonight. All the food was delicious! We took our time and ate dessert tonight! Alison joined us again for dinner. She and Brenda were listening to the earlier blue badge concert and the GVB sang Let Freedom Ring at this concert! I have yet to hear this song live! Alison had been listening to the early concerts and eating dinner from the buffet at the Lido restaurant most of the week. As we left the Vista Dining Room, the blue badge group was lined up waiting to eat their dinner at 7:30 pm. We changed clothes and relaxed tonight, since the blue badge group had two concerts scheduled for the night. I went to join Brenda and Karen in Brenda’s room on deck 7. She and Ken had a verandah room with a balcony. We sat on the balcony in the middle of the ocean and talked. The Neptune Lounge is on deck 7, which is only available to those in suites or penthouse staterooms. We decided to take a look at the photo gallery and look for our photos with the GVB. Gail, Lee and Judy were in the photo gallery and found some of our pictures. I ended up buying an 8 X 10 of me, Wes & Michael, plus an 8 X 10 of our ship – the MS Westerdam – to add to a portfolio. We were tired, so we went back to our respective rooms. We turned the clocks back an hour back to eastern time, so I got to bed by 10 pm. Alison came back to the room at midnight and we talked until 1 am! It was like a slumber party! Alison & I got along great! I couldn’t have had a better roommate!