I was not surprised when Ms. Kinney told me she wanted to bring her husband of 30 years along on her trip to Morocco.
It was, however, a surprise that he was 93 and able to travel well. My father would have not wanted to go anywhere at 90; he was quite content to stay at home.
Bob Kinney, on the other hand, was ready to go. Each morning in Morocco Bob showed up for breakfast bright eyed. I would ask him, “How are you?” and he would say, “I’m fine! Just happy to be alive! You know, I never expected to live this long.”
I asked him, do you have a motto? He replied with certainty, “Do it now.” That’s different than “Just Do It,” I thought. “Do It Now” means that we have no time to waste on not doing, on complaining or sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. He seemed to understand the “go with the flow” mentality that my guests must slip into, once they realize that I am absolutely in charge not only of our itinerary, but also of their relaxing.
Bob was born in Maine and still speaks of it fondly. He wasn’t drafted into the war, as he was better suited to run a certain food company called “General Mills.” He would have liked to go straight into officer’s training, but stayed home instead to his company like a tight ship. “You must put the responsibility of the product into the hands of the workers. This way, you will always have them listening and working on your behalf, because they feel invested in the success of the company.” Bob was in charge of 120,000 employees.
It was with that same spirit and dedication that he accompanied his wife Margee, equally adventurous and enthusiastic about everything, on this fall’s program to Morocco. Bob’s other motto was, “Say YES to everything.” Even riding up to 6,000 ft, to the Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains, on the back of a mule. I was more reluctant at first, having had folks 10 years his junior not comfortable with such a thing. Bob is not a jock, but he has a lot of joie di vivre.
He stayed well the whole trip and delighted us all. On our final night, he was even up dancing alongside the belly dancers. I asked, “Okay Bob, which was more exciting: the mule ride up and down the steep slopes or belly dancing with those lovely women?” He looked at me shyly and said, “The belly dancers for sure!”
I’m printing tee shirts that say, “Be like Bob.” Happy to be alive. We should all take that as our motto for living a long life.
Giving thanks for all that we encounter and for the incredibly inspiring people I get to meet on my trips.
Here’s a toast: Crumbs on tongues! Sips on lips! Wild Adventures at home and on trips!
With love and wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving,