After my transplant in 1999, Nat and I were determined to take a trip each year. We started by going to Mexico which was a huge experience for the two of us and one we’ll never forget. Having said that, we’ve done it once and will never go there again.
Our next trip in 2001 was a Caribbean cruise to several islands, which we had done before, but this time different ports of call and each one a real treat. With all cruises there’s onboard entertainment and this time we really lucked out. This cruise had originated from Britain and naturally, the majority of passengers were British, Scottish, Irish or Welsh and sprinkled in amongst them were a few Dutch, American and Canadians (us included).
The first night at our dining table we sat beside a couple from Dunferminline, Scotland, a hop, skip and a jump from where Nat was born in Cowdenbeath, Scotland. He was thrilled and they talked away throughout the entire meal. The entertainment that evening was a British singer – Paul Fredericks, with an opening act of a British comedian. Both were brilliant. The entire audience was in tears except for a few Americans and Dutch that weren’t familiar with British and Canadian ways. When Mr. Fredericks began his show, Nat was in awe. This man had powerful vocal chords, was very handsome, had a great stage presence and a repertoire that was extremely varied and familiar with everyone in the audience. We didn’t want the show to stop, it was that entertaining, including his jokes and little stories. We loved it so much we went back for the second show he was putting on.
After the show, the audience was given a chance to meet Mr. Fredericks, buy his 2 CDs and get his autograph. Naturally, Nat and I bought two, got them signed and were thrilled. We sailed home happy and content.
It goes without saying that Nat listened to those two CDs every chance he got within the next couple of years. However, it wasn’t long before the CDs started to skip a bit, and then suddenly they were skipping a lot and then not playing at all. We were certain it wasn’t our CD player and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t play anymore. After some investigation we took the CDs to a well-known local record shop wherein the owner looked at the CDs and immediately knew what the problem was. They had been self-burned. He could tell this because the back of the CDs were blue in colour. If they had been professionally burned they would have been clear or silver in colour. He advised that if we could lift off whatever songs we could into a computer we might be able to play at least those. Naturally it was too late by now, as neither one would play at all. Nat was heart broken.
Not being deterred and after a little passage of time, Nat began to do some research and started googling “Paul Fredericks“. At first he didn’t have any luck but after some perseverance a web site soon began to show up. It was a little amateurish at first but after a few months it had been reworked and looked pretty slick. Nat emailed Mr. Fredericks through the web site but to no avail. He wasn’t getting any response at all. He stored away the two CDs thinking he couldn’t just get rid of them.
Several years had now passed and every now and again he’d try that email address, but still to no avail. With more determination he tried again earlier this year. He had found the web site but with a different URL and what to his surprise he received an answer. He was thrilled, and couldn’t believe his luck. He corresponded back and forth and let Mr. Fredericks know that he wanted to repurchase these CDs and if he had any more he would buy those, too. With luck on his side and having found out that another English gentleman was in the same pursuit as us, Mr. Fredericks sent us the names and list of songs on each of his (now) 3 CDs, had us set up a PayPal account and the CDs would be on their way. He emailed us each time to let us know what was happening and finally we received the email that the CDs were in the mail. We received them yesterday and I can’t begin to describe the look on Nat’s face. He couldn’t believe it. Without flinching an eyelid the CDs began to play and I could hear them from the office.
Strange as it may seem, once I heard Paul Fredericks’ voice emanating throughout the house I was suddenly taken back to that cruise. To the wonderful time we had, to the gorgeous Islands we had visited and to the entertainment and ambience aboard that ship. One of our best trips ever (except for England and Scotland, of course) and I couldn’t help but smile. Nat was now in his glory and we were both remembering some great times. The moral of this story, as you can tell, is never give up. It was with dogged determination and a passion for a singer that Nat finally got what he wanted and the time it took to get them, was well worth it.