Many years ago, my husband and I had the good fortune to visit our 50th state. Just the two of us. I hated flying and hated leaving our children even more, but Mr. H. convinced me it was the opportunity of a lifetime so I bolstered my courage, packed my bags, found a reputable babysitter (mother-in-law), kissed my young children good-bye and headed out for what was to be a memorable experience.
And what a wonderful trip it was! From the moment we stepped off the plane to the lively sound of ukulele music and were greeted by a beautiful young girl who placed leis around our necks, it was sheer pleasure for the next week.
I remember many things about the experience, but one of the most significant memories is that, when we got to our hotel room, we had a very important message waiting. Our first grandchild had been born while we were en route.
Why did you go on a long trip when you were expecting your first grandchild? You ask. Well, as anyone knows, a long trip like that is usually planned many months in advance. I certainly had second thoughts about going, but it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and our son and daughter-in-law encouraged us to go assuring us that we’d almost certainly be back home before the baby was born. But it was not to be. Little Matthew made his appearance as soon as we were out of town. However, once assured that mother and baby were fine, we gave them our love, wished them well and settled in to enjoy ourselves by the deep blue waters of Hawaii.
And enjoy ourselves we did!
We stayed at The Sheraton Waikiki in a beautiful room decorated with cheerful colors and designs, some of which I copied later in my own home decorating. And of course, our balcony overlooked the blue Pacific!
Each night, after a long day of sight-seeing, beach walking and a wonderful meal, stress melted away completely and we drifted off quickly to the sound of foamy waves breaking on the seashore. We slept like babies and awoke to the joyful voices of early risers already on the beach. We felt rested and ready for another busy day.
But first: Breakfast. Like everything else in Hawaii, breakfast was leisurely. With pineapple so plentiful, there was an abundance of it on the buffet table, along with every other fruit you could think of. This was wonderful for a fruit lover like me. After sating ourselves with the sweet, juicy produce, we’d have bacon, eggs, waffles, or whatever else we had a taste for on any given morning. Finishing with plenty of coffee, we were finally ready for another day of sight-seeing.
We saw everything one would expect to see on such a trip: Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Dole Plantation, to name only a few. Dole Plantation was a haven for Pineapple lovers. The grounds were vast and well manicured, featuring the world’s largest maze. There was also Pineapple ice cream, taffy, jam and clothing and other commodities for the whole family.
And I must not forget the big feast... the Luau! Such a spread I’d never seen before, or since. There was the customary roast pig, which had been cooked all day in an underground imu which is opened as part of the evening's entertainment. Other traditional foods included poke (raw seasoned seafood), lomilomi salmon (salmon with tomatoes and onions), chicken luau (chicken with spinach, onions and garlic), chicken long rice, sweet potato, haupia (coconut pudding), kulolo (taro pudding) and, poi (made from the pounded root of the taro plant). After dinner, we were mesmerized by dancers and singers performing both traditional and modern Hawaiian songs and hulas. It was an unforgettable evening!
We ate dinner most evenings at restaurants located on the beach. I thought it strange that these restaurants had no walls, which emulated having dinner on the beach. There was only one thing wrong with that: it allowed birds to fly in and out at will. No one else seemed to mind, but I, terrified of birds all my life, was most uncomfortable with this arrangement! However, I managed to overcome it somewhat, and today, when I relive the memory of that trip, birds flying around overhead while I ate is not the first thing that comes to mind. But it’s close.
When it was time to say goodbye to this lovely paradise, there was a little sadness, but I was ready to go – not because I was tired of being there, but because I couldn’t wait to meet our new grandson!
You may want to check out another post about Hawaii... here.