We just went on a sea cruise.  Eight days and nights on a really big ship.  Nothing at all like the folks on Gilligan’s Island.

There were a whole lot of different people.  Really different people.  The Captain took us to the South Caribbean.  A lot of sun.  A lot of water.  A lot of swimming suits.  A whole lot of tattoos.

I had no idea.  I am still in shock.  I saw mothers, brothers, sisters, and fathers inked.  I saw their aunts and uncles and cousins with tattoos.  Even the grandkids had tattoos. OH, and more grand mothers are inked than I ever dreamed about.

Now, for the record, I’m not one to condemn, I am just thinking out loud.  Let me try to explain. 

When I grew up, the only tattoos I saw were on the arms and shoulders of men who had been to war.  My Dad worked on drilling rigs.  He worked with rough necks and rig hands.  Tough. They had just fought a war.  They carried the ink that went to war.

Danny’s father was a retired Marine Sergeant.  He had a big, bad USMC Bulldog on his shoulder.  He fought on Iwo Jima.  We kids thought that was “John Wayne cool.”

Edwin went to Viet Nam.  He came back and his arm tattoo said “Death before Dishonor.”  Jerry served in the Navy.  He had an anchor on one arm and a shark on the other.  Joe had a three masted sailing ship on his arm. 

Times have changed.

Today, I live in a college town.  There are  three tattoo studios  in town.  They are on the main streets, not hidden away in the warehouse district.

Every day, I see someone with something on their arm, ankle, leg, foot etc.  The waitress.  Yep.  The clerk at the Convenience store.  Yep.  The librarian.  Yep!  The loan manager at the bank.  Yep again.  Even the pharmacist. 

I know what you’re thinking.  It’s a personal expression. I know!  I try not to be a dinosaur.  Sometimes I am.

But, all these tattoos I see are in mostly highly visible places. Even my daughters in law, have tattoos. That’s cool.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and both he and Mrs. Claus have ink.

Back to the vacation ship, way out at sea.

I was not ready to see what I saw on that sea cruise. 

Think vacation, think casual. Think little bitty swimming suits.  Think young and old. Think after a few days at sea, a lot of clothing is left in the room, people get comfortable.  There’s not a lot left to one’s imagination.

A whole lot of skin.  A whole lot of tattoos. Tattoos of every description.  Big tattoos.  Little scribblings on a rib cage or ankle. Tattoos everywhere.  Tattoos even in places that were certainly never meant to be tattooed and, for sure, I didn’t want or need to see.

One girl was wearing a thong bikini.  She was inked from her navel to her knees, front and back.  I kept thinking about my dear little grandmother in Franklin County.  What would she say?

Maybe I am a dinosaur.

Please feel free to share.  I encourage and welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at  Please follow my blog at

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