On July 16, 2015, at 7:11 am, I emailed my grandmother:

Happy birthday to you...
in several months!
So it's a pretty big deal birthday coming up! How would you like to celebrate?
I was seven months early, so we had plenty of time to plan, and the email thread that morning lists a whole range of possible options: 
  • a tea for her friends at a local bed and breakfast
  • a catfish dinner for her friends
  • a Mississippi river cruise
  • a train trip to New Orleans and then a stay in the city where her mom grew up
  • a flower tour of Natchez and Mobile in the spring
  • a float down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
  • skydiving (what George HW Bush did for his 80th, apparently) 
  • a cruise to Antarctica
  • New York
  • Israel
  • a safari
  • renting a cabin in Fall Creek Falls
  • Ecuador
At 9:40 I threw out another option:

Bahamas? Maybe charter a sail boat and retrace your route? (with a captain, you would not be responsible for sailing) Oh I like this one!!
Thirty seven years ago, Nana and her father sailed his single-hulled ketch from Key Biscayne, Florida, to Nassau, Bahamas, back via Spanish Wells through the Abacos, then to Freeport and back to Fort Pierce, Florida. Maybe we could do something similar? But shorter. 

Nana responded: Check it out.

By 11 am I had talked to a few charter companies and my brother's family. Around 1 pm, Nana was sending me her boat preferences. At 3 she sent me a map of the islands she wanted to visit. 24 hours later I sent a full trip proposal with a charter, rates, route, and all the details. 

And so, by the end of July 2015, we had decided to take Nana to the Bahamas in February 2016 for her 80th birthday.