I had the privilege of booking a Caribbean cruise on Holland America’s new ship, the Rotterdam in March, 2022. Although I was thrilled to enjoy all the amenities the newest in Holland’s fleet of majestic vessels had to offer, nothing could compare to the thoughtful and dazzling gift the casino bestowed upon me on the sixth evening of the voyage.
For as I entered into the cabin, I was surprised — nay, shocked — to discover a royal blue, finely crafted tube upon my tightly made bed, laid with obvious care and precision. I reached out gingerly and felt the heft of the tube grace my palm, like a slim and elegant branch of a Japanese cherry tree (but blue). I slowly slid the two sections of the tube apart. Huzzah! Of all the contents I could have imagined (a quill from the black tailed Godwit, sacred bird of Holland; a tightly rolled map of the Netherlands; a sheath of gilded chocolates from the farthest reaches of the Europe), nothing could have prepared me for what I discovered. It was, after all, a flag.
But this was no ordinary flag. Oh, no. It was the VIP (very important persons) flag of the Holland America’s Player’s Club. I held it with a sense of fear and awe. Was I worthy of this great honor? I reverently fingered the fine nylon. Approximately the length of a gentleman’s arm (or that of a tall woman) and the width of one cubit (the distance from the tip of one’s middle finger to the elbow).