We had the distinct pleasure of meeting John and Eleanor Harley in person on October 31, 1998.
However, we'd "known" them long before that. We were Cyberfriends on the old Prodigy Classic Afloat Bulletin Board. We'd heard all about the spry, petite gal with a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye who could eat like a HORSE...two or three soups, salad, appetizer, entree, and a dessert or two.
When we first saw her, we refused to believe it, but she soon showed us that rumors about her appetite were NOT exaggerated. We would all sit there night after night and marvel at the fact that she could eat him under the table.
Eleanor was known far and wide as, "Soupy" or "The Soup Queen" because of her love of soups. The only two types she wouldn't eat were Consommés ("they're a waste of time!") and Clam Chowders.
We were lucky enough to sail with Eleanor and John again on the Zenith in October, 1999. We pulled several jokes on her, not the least of which was having our waiter serve her with a giant soup can that was as tall as she.
We also had Miroslav serve her our
mascot, "Charlie," the rubber chicken.
As a matter of fact, John and Eleanor
were the first extended family that our
Charlie ever had. Thanks to them, he
has been on more cruises than most people,
and has traveled all over the WORLD!
On of our fondest memories of Eleanor was the time we were up in the Fleet Bar on the Zenith in 1999 and her favorite bartender made her a "chicken" sandwich from one of the small rubber chicken keychains. She hopped right up on the bar stool and stood straight up looking down so she could get a good picture of it. Linda Coffman and I were watching her, and our hearts were in our mouths. She jumped on down just as spryly as she had jumped up, and the two of us almost fainted on the spot!
In April, 2000, when Michael and I were sailing from San Pedro aboard HAL's Rotterdam, John and Eleanor, as well as many other of our CACKLEr friends, came to see us off. We had a WONDERFUL weekend together.
Then came this March, when eighteen of us embarked upon the CCotC aboard HAL's Statendam on a round trip San Diego to Hawaii cruise. Little did we know that this would be the last time we'd see our dear friend, Eleanor. A mere three days after we returned from the cruise, she passed away from Heart Failure.
Eleanor Harley was, to us, one of the sweetest individuals we ever had the privilege of meeting. We know in our hearts that she shall be with us whenever we cruise from this day forward. John, please know that you and your family are not alone in your grief.
Eleanor, wherever you are, I think our buddy, bOB, said it best....every time we cruise from now on, the first toast shall be to you, forever our good friend and Soup Queen!
And John, as Michael said, God has another Angel in Heaven.