Saturday, May 24, 2008

40th Anniversary Trip to Hawaii

The planning of our trip to Kauai began when Lucy Madilynn McGehee was three weeks old. Dick and I were in California helping Kerri after Lucy’s birth. One day when Mark was also visiting, Ron and Kerri asked us to come into Lucy’s nursery for a minute. Well, Lucy was lying there in her crib all decked out in a Hawaiian outfit complete with sunglasses and was the cutest thing we’d ever seen. We were making a big fuss over her when Kerri said, “you didn’t even notice the envelope”. We looked and in the corner of her crib was a big manila envelope with our names on it. I opened it and inside was a note saying that we were all going to Hawaii on April 27th to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary and all the arrangements had been made. There were also pages with pictures of Kauai and the condo where we would be staying. Of course Dick and I were overwhelmed and touched that they had planned such a special celebration and we would have some truly wonderful to look forward to in the spring. At the time Mark was planning to go with us but as it turned out he had to work so couldn’t go. So this is the story of our trip.

After a night of very little sleep, the alarm sounded at 5:50 and I struggled out of bed, went into the kitchen to start my coffee pot so it could be brewing while I drenched my face in cold water to try and wake up enough to find my clothes which I had laid out the night before. I thought I had better pick out clothes when I was alert and wide awake instead of taking a chance on wearing mismatched clothes. That would never do for a southern lady. So I managed to get dressed and make my way back into the kitchen as Dick was crawling out of bed and wishing he could stay there for a few more hours.

When I got back to the kitchen I could hear the coffee pot brewing but there was no coffee in the pot. After checking to make certain there was coffee and water in the pot, I realized that for some reason this was morning for it to stop working. Since I really needed that added caffeine jolt I decided to pull out the larger coffee pot from the pantry and make coffee in it. That took some added time which I didn’t have, but I really needed the coffee. While the coffee was brewing I grabbed my handful of pills and vitamins that I swallow each morning and proceeded to drop the first one on the floor where it went rolling in some corner never to be seen again. I wasn’t about to get down on my hands and knees at 6:15 in the morning and look for a tiny white pill which matched the white tiles on the floor. So I just grabbed another pill out of the bottle and swallowed. While the coffee was brewing I put on my makeup, jewelry, and was ready to go. I poured a mug of coffee, heated a croissant, and took them upstairs to check email and turn off my computer. As you can imagine there were only advertising messages at that hour so I deleted them and shut down the computer.

Our plan was to leave at 7:15 and as we are always punctual, Dick had the bags loaded and we were in the car right on time. We were driving to Social Circle to a friend’s house who was going to drive us to the airport and keep Dick’s new Navigator. That arrangement had worked for us in the past and certainly was easier than us having to park and check in. Much nicer to be dropped off at the gate and then picked up upon our return.

Thankfully we had no problem checking in and only a little snag at security. I had put all my bottles, gels, medicine inhalers, and sprays in a plastic bag which was what I thought I was supposed to do. When the bag went through the conveyor belt the lady called me over and said next time to just put liquids and gels in a smaller bag and the medicines didn’t have to go in a bag. How was I to know that??? At least we didn’t have a broken bottle of Benadyl like we did on our last trip

Since we always arrive 2 hours before our flight, we had time to kill at the gate so Dick sat down and went to sleep and I walked around and purchased a turkey sandwich to eat during the flight. The flight was on time so we were seated and as the plane backed out; all of a sudden the lights went out. The flight attendant announced that there were some mechanical problems and we would have to pull back up to the gate while the mechanics checked the problem. So we sat for 45 minutes and waited. Of course Dick put his head down and slept (amazing that he can sleep on planes but not in a bed) and worked the Delta crossword puzzle. Finally the lights came on and we took off. The movie shown was “P. S. I Love You” starring Hillary Swank. Her Irish husband died and left notes which she received on a regular basis telling her what he wanted her to do to continue without him. It wasn’t the best or worst movie I’ve ever seen and it helped pass two hours of the flight. After it was over I took out my laptop and started typing this epistle until we were told to stow all electronic equipment and prepare for landing. Now mind you I had not closed my eyes or slept at all so was beginning to feel the effects of being sleep deprived. Dick on the other hand had slept for most of the trip.

We called Kerri when we landed at around 2:00 P.M. and Ron was there to pick us up at the baggage claim area. Thankfully our bags arrived with no delays and we were soon on the way to check into our hotel. Since Kerri had planned to have friends over that evening we decided to go our hotel and rest before going to their condo. We were staying at the Embassy Suites on the first floor which I prefer since I’m not fond of elevators. Unfortunately for us, our room was right in the front facing the drive up for people checking into the hotel so there was constant traffic noise not to mention noise from planes flying over since we were next to the airport. Every time I would doze off, either a plane or car would wake me up. So needless to say when Ron picked us up at 5:30 I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed.

It was only a short drive to their condo and we were anxious to see Lucy and of course her mother, but Lucy got the first hugs. She was smiling and happy as usual so I forgot all about being tired. Kerri was busy getting ready for company. They have a club room in their complex so they were setting that up to eat which worked out very well as they expected about 20 people. The meal consisted of appetizers, pizza, and cookies and there was enough left over for everyone to take some pizza home with them. The purpose of the gathering was to pray for my lung mass and heart valve leakage and most of the people were from Kerri’s church, but also included several women from other churches who just wanted to come and pray for me which I thought was very special and thoughtful. So after dinner we had prayer time and I felt very blessed to have these Christian people praying for my healing, peace, and freedom from fear and worry. One more good thing was that I knew all these people would be continuing to pray for me during the next weeks and months.

I had thought it would be an early evening as Ron and Kerri were leaving at 6:A.M. the next morning to fly to Oklahoma and Dick and I were taking Lucy back to our hotel room to baby sit until they returned on Sat. (That was Thurs. night), but by the time everyone left it was almost 11:00. Dick and I helped them clean up a little and then grabbed Lucy and all her belongings and drove Ron’s car back to our hotel. We were totally exhausted as it was after 2:00 A.M. our time and we had been up since 5:30; almost 24 hours. Kerri had made a point of telling me how good Lucy was and how she slept all night usually from 8 P.M. to 8 A.M. She was of course was off her schedule and probably over stimulated from all the evening’s activities, so she didn’t want to just be put in bed and expected to go right to sleep. Finally with the addition of a pacifier she dropped off to sleep and Dick and I fell into bed hoping for several hours of uninterrupted sleep. Well that was not to be. Lucy woke up 4 times and cried for short time before going back to sleep. Well each time Dick or I would get up and check on her but we were both awake. Then the planes flew over all night and early the next morning, the activity at the front of the hotel began so at around 7, I just decided to get up and go partake of the free breakfast and much needed coffee. I brought my plate back to the room in case Lucy woke up and wanted her breakfast. She actually slept until around 8:30 at which time I changed her and gave her the bottle that Kerri had provided. She had just been introduced to rice cereal that week so I mixed up a small bowl and tried to feed her. She was more interested in grabbing the spoon and chewing on it than eating the cereal although she managed to swallow most of it. The rest went all over her and me.

Soon Dick was awake and we packed our belongings and loaded Lucy in the car and headed back over to Kerri and Ron’s condo where we would spend Friday and Saturday nights before leaving for Hawaii on Sunday. As you may imagine, there was still much clean up to do from the previous night’s party because Kerri and Ron had to pack and leave at 4:30 to fly to Oklahoma. So that day was spent cleaning, washing clothes, and playing with Lucy. You can imagine which one was the most fun. I also managed to take a long nap in the afternoon. Even with the nap I was dragging and was in bed at 9:00, Thankfully Lucy only woke up once and immediately went back to sleep. Can’t say the same for Dick as he was awake most of the night watching television.

Kerri and Ron’s plane was delayed so they didn’t get home until around 2 Saturday afternoon. Ron’s parents came over around 1 and as usual his mom brought enough food for an army and avocados and tangerines out of their garden. I guess they didn’t realize we were leaving the next day and couldn’t eat all that food. Plus Dick and I had already eaten lunch (I’m on the 3 meals a day southern schedule and I eat at 12 noon) so weren’t particularly hungry at 3 when they sat down to eat. Ron’s mom must have made 6 different Korean dishes and even with Dick helping the 4 of them eat, there was enough left over for several days. They visited for awhile and played with Lucy and then I packaged up what I thought would keep in the freezer and stored it for Kerri and Ron to eat when they got home from Hawaii. With their busy travel schedule Kerri doesn’t have much time to cook, but fortunately for them they are surrounded by markets with wonderful homemade food.

Since Ron’s dad has almost completed medical school to learn Korean medicine and acupuncture I asked him to bring his needles and practice on my digestive system. Now I think my family thought I was brave or crazy but nothing else had helped with the problem and I thought this couldn’t hurt (well maybe it hurts a little physically). Besides Ron’s dad needed someone to practice his skills on. To his credit he called his supervising doctor and got specific instructions before inserting any needles. He only used 6 needles and I’ve had acupuncture before and the doctor has used 20 needles so that didn’t seem so bad. After about 15 minutes he removed the needles and unfortunately I didn’t feel any different, but I knew that it takes more than one treatment to really get results. But Ron’s dad got some practice and the family got to watch the whole procedure and interjected many unhelpful comments along the way.

Kerri had to do a show in Long Beach that night so Ron went with her and Dick and I babysat again. She asked if I wanted to go, but truthfully I was still tired and knew we had to get up very early the next morning so I declined and let Ron go instead. Once again I was in bed by 9:30 and sound asleep when they arrived home around 11 and started packing for the trip. I slept right through most of the noise.

The next morning we were up and out of the door by 7:00 for the short taxi ride to the airport. Ron had called for a van and even with the van, it was so crowded that Ron had to sit on a suitcase in the door which I’m sure is illegal and definitely unsafe but we didn’t have a choice. Dick sat in the front seat and held the stroller in his lap. Do you get the idea that we don’t travel light??? When we pulled up to the Hawaiian Airline curbside, we noticed there were no people which seemed strange, but when we walked up to checked in the bellman pointed to a sign that said there was a $2.00 charge per bag to check in curbside. Upon seeing the long lines inside Dick decided to pay the charge for our bags.

Lucy was an angel the whole time and just sat in her car seat and smiled at everyone. She wasn’t particularly happy when they had to take her out to go through security and then strap her back in. They checked the car seat thoroughly; I guess in case we were smuggling drugs or illegal fruit into Hawaii.

The trip to Honolulu took 5/1/2 hours so I rented a DVD player and Kerri and I watched two movies. They tried to show “P.S. I Love You” on the overhead screen but the projector broke so they couldn’t show it. I’m sure some of the people were upset but since I had already seen it, it didn’t bother me. Of course Lucy kept us busy when she was awake so we took turns holding her and keeping her occupied so she wouldn’t cry. She was very good except when she was hungry or wet and then she let everyone know about it. Ron and Dick were able to sleep quite a bit of the time, but Kerri and I stayed awake the whole flight. I will say that they served an adequate meal and snacks which Delta doesn’t do anymore.

We arrived in Honolulu and then had to wait for a bus to take us to the connecting flight to Kauai. We were all glad to be out the plane and able to walk around and stretch our legs before boarding the little plane for the 30 minute ride to Kauai. By the time we arrived in Kauai we were all tired, but had to wait for Ron to go and pick up the rental car before we could leave. He pulled up in this big Dodge (couldn’t get a Ford) that looked a hearse, and even though it had plenty of room in the back we still all had to hold a piece of luggage in our laps. Fortunately it wasn’t a long ride to our condo. It was only 2:00 P.M. Hawaii time and our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so the bellmen were kind enough to unload our luggage and store it while we went in search of a grocery store to buy some basis supplies. Since Kerri and Ron had been there twice before they were familiar with the shopping area so we found the store without any problems and proceeded to fill up a basket and I don’t even want to remember how much money we spent.

By the time we finished shopping it was after 3 and we headed back to the condo where our room was ready. Kerri and I walked up first with Lucy and upon seeing that the master bedroom had a king size bed and huge bathroom with two sinks, and a large TV Kerri suggested that she and Ron get that room so Lucy’s bed would fit more easily. The other bed room had twin beds and the bath was not connected so we had to walk out through the kitchen/living room area to get to it. It had a shower and the washer/dryer in it. Being the sweet thoughtful mother that I am, I said okay you take the master bed room and Dad and I will take the smaller room even though we were there to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

We unpacked our bags and got settled in and by then it was time for dinner. I also noticed that our bedroom seemed unusually hotter than the rest of the condo so asked Dick to check the vents to see if cool air was coming out. He climbed up on the bed and said that only lukewarm air was blowing even though we had turned the thermostat down to 65 degrees. So I called the desk and they immediately sent a repair man up to look at it. He said he replaced a part and it began blowing out cold air. With that settled, it was time for dinner so we found a nice restaurant close by and we all enjoyed a nice seafood dinner. Kerri and Ron started off with Poki which I learned was raw tuna marinated in some sauce which they thought was great and made me kind of ill to look at. How did I raise a child who would like to eat raw fish?

We returned to the condo and since we were all exhausted decided to go to bed early and hopefully get a good night’s rest. That wasn’t to be as around 2:00A.M. I woke up burning up and realized the room was stiffly hot. Dick was awake and probably hadn’t ever gone to sleep so he climbed up on his bed and felt the vent to see if any cool air was coming out. It wasn’t. Now you would think we could just open the window since we were in Hawaii but the way the curtains and sliding glass doors were configured, the curtains would have to be completely open to open the doors and that would let in outside lights and morning light as well outside noises in the morning. Since Dick usually sleeps late that would interrupt his sleep. So instead we opened the door to the living room and I turned that AC down in hopes some of the cool air would get into our bedroom. The next morning I was up and calling the desk to get the mechanic to come look at the vent. To their credit they sent someone over immediately who worked on the unit and said it was repaired and we could only hope that it was fixed. It did work after that, but the next night the unit in Kerri and Ron’s bedroom stopped working so they had a warm room for one night. The repair man was back the next morning to fix their unit. We were getting very friendly with the repair man and asked if he might want to just sleep on our couch so he would be available night and day.

Monday morning Dick and I accompanied Ron and Kerri to our first and hopefully last time share meeting. It was two hours spent with the very friendly agent trying to sell Kerri and Ron more points and convince Dick and me that we needed to buy into the program.

Since we had to take Lucy I was eager to volunteer to take her for a stroll every time she made a sound so I missed a good deal of the presentation; thank goodness. After the time was up, we were presented with some coupons for meals at very nice restaurants and even some cash to do with what we chose so I guess it was worthwhile in some respects. Not enough to go to another one any time soon.
After the meeting we were all still jet lagged so returned to our condo and took a nap. Later we walked down to the pool area and beach just to look around. The beach closest to our condo was very rocky and the surf was strong so we wouldn’t be able to venture out into the water at that location. After our exploration it was time for dinner at another great restaurant where the same protocol from the previous night was followed with Kerri eating Poki and then seafood and the rest of us trying seafood dishes. They have different seafood than we have in the states and most of it was quite good.

FLASH!!!! LUCY CRAWLS FOR THE FIRST TIME AND GRANDPARENTS WITNESS THE FEAT. Lucy had been scooting and rolling around in order to get where she wanted to go for quite some time, but not actually up on all fours crawling. Well we had put a big blanket on the sitting room floor so she could play and then that day Dick and I were playing with her and all of a sudden she just started crawling all by herself. We called Kerri and Ron and they had to come in to see for themselves as they thought we might have just thought she was crawling. But sure enough she started across the floor on all fours and after that there was no stopping her progress. We had to watch her every second because she would be gone and under a table or off the blanket in the blink of any eye. We also had to be sure there was nothing on the floor for her to pick up because everything she touched went straight in her mouth. Wow what fun being a grandparent and seeing such marvelous accomplishments. I know you’re thinking that all babies crawl and so what, but Lucy was only 6 months old and we thought it was quite impressive.

The next morning since I was the first one awake, I make coffee and sat out on our balcony watching the workmen clean the pool. It was a very beautiful time of day right after sunrise and very few people were up so it was very peaceful and relaxing. I watched a woman going from trash can to trash can and I thought she was cleaning them and then realized she was just trying to see what she could find because every now and then she would take something out and put in a bag she was carrying. As that was my every morning routine, I saw her going through the trash cans every day as well. I wondered if she found anything worthwhile. Seemed to me it would only have been left over food stuffs since it was around the pool area. Guess you never know though what you might find. There were also chickens and a rooster roaming around the grounds looking for food. I felt like I was back in the country growing up in Alabama.

Soon Lucy was awake and Kerri brought her out in her stroller to sit with Nana and have a conversation about the beautiful scenery. She was very happy just to sit there and smile and listen and was very attentive for about 20 minutes and then it was time to get out of the stroller, go inside, and play. So Nana played with her while mommy and daddy slept.

After awhile everyone was up and we were ready to start the day by taking a driving tour of the island. Kerri and Ron wanted us to visit a light house and then the Princeville Resort which was probably the plushest place to stay on the island. When we reached the light house Lucy was hungry so Kerri stayed in the car and fed her while Dick, Ron, and I walked up the hill. We stopped at the gate to pay the $5 fee and the lady asked me if I had a Senior Pass for National Parks and I said no. (I hate it when people just assume I look old). Anyway she said I could buy a pass for $5 and use it at any of the national parks and take 3 guests so I bought one and Ron and Dick got in free. The light house was pretty much like most light houses but the view was spectacular and the history was of course interesting. The first men had to row over by boat and supplies had to be brought over by boat so I imagine it was a lonely existence. Dick struck up a conversation with a fellow veteran as Dick was wearing his marine baseball cap. When he found out Ron was a comedian he commenced telling jokes and trying to give him material for his act. Dick and I were ready to go, but Ron couldn’t seem to find a way to politely excuse himself and get away from the man. Finally I told him we had to go and he said goodbye and joined us. Then he related some of the man’s stories which I don’t think will find their way into Ron’s act.

When we got back to the car Lucy was fed, changed, and happy so we proceeded on down to the Princeville Resort. It was indeed very luxurious and we just walked in like we were guests there and made ourselves at home. We walked around the beautiful lobby, took pictures, and then meandered down to the pool and beach area. I must say it was somewhat nicer than our pool and beach, but I imagine the cost was in a different category as well. We debated having lunch there but Kerri had 2 $10 coupons for a restaurant nearby which was supposed to be very good and she wanted us to try it. Well after driving for about 30 minutes and making a few wrong turns and probably using $30 worth of gas, we decided the $10 coupon wasn’t worth the effort but we finally found the restaurant and went in. Upon reading the coupon it said “to be used for entrees” and the waiter said there were only 3 lunch entrees and usually people used the coupons for dinner. Not to be deterred, 2 of us ordered 2 entrees and the others salads and soup. The food was just okay and not great but it was adventure getting there and back so would be a memorable experience on our trip.

I forgot to mention that Kerri and Ron had rented an isolated cottage/cabin for part of their honeymoon and they wanted us to see it. The only problem was that it was down a road off the beaten path and they couldn’t remember exactly where it was. So all day Ron would turn down these little roads only to discover they weren’t the right ones. We did see lots of scenery and many of the natives, but never found the cottage.

So after lunch we did some more island exploring and it was getting dark by the time we returned to our condo. Well, would you believe it was also time for dinner so off we went to find another restaurant and more Poki. That evening we watched a little TV and I went to bed early again. I was finding that I was extremely tired by evening and fell asleep by 9:30 and slept all night. Thankfully the AC worked.

The next morning after mine and Lucy’s ritual on the balcony and play time, the rest of the group started stirring around 10 and we decided to spend the day at the pool even though it was cloudy and somewhat on the cool side. It took awhile to get everyone organized and Lucy fed again and decked out in her stylish bikini. She wasn’t thrilled when daddy started slathering her with sunscreen. We finally had everything together and walked down to the pool. Just as we excited the building, the first rain drops started falling and we realized it was much cooler than we thought. Not to be deterred, Ron took Lucy into the baby pool which was warm, while Dick, Kerri, and I went to the hot tub to warm up. Lucy loved the water and it didn’t even bother her when she accidentally put her head under water. Of course we took lots of still photos as well as movies. After the swim and the hot tub we wrapped ourselves in towels and sweatshirts and sat around on the pool chairs. We decided to try the sandwiches at the pool grill which was a big mistake as they were pretty much tasteless. Needless to say we were about the only people sitting around the pool on a cool rainy day, but hey we were in Hawaii. Lucy was tucked in her stroller with a top on it and blanket around her so she just went to sleep and enjoyed her nap.

Later in the afternoon, we drove down the to local Farmer’s market to get some fresh pineapples, coconuts, and papaya. Ron bought a coconut which had been peeled and had a hole drilled in the top with straw inserted so he could drink the juice and then eat the coconut. Well when we got back to the condo, he and Dick tried to crack the coconut with every utensil we had and nothing worked. They even broke the can opener trying to pry a more holes in it. Two grown men couldn’t crack a coconut. I watched the procedure for awhile and got bored and left. Finally and I’m not sure how, they managed to break it into pieces and we all tried some of it, but none of us thought it was too tasty. So much for the all man power and time involved in the process.

That evening Kerri and Ron planned to have an evening out for dinner at a Sushi restaurant while Dick and I baby sat Lucy. So Kerri showered and got all dolled up and then came out to tell us that Ron had a rash all over his arms and part of his chest. I went in to check it out as I am the allergy expert and it looked like either a sun reaction or allergy to something. I gave him a Benadryl and he promptly went to sleep so the evening out had to be postponed until the next night. We never discovered what the rash was but it kept appearing and disappearing for the rest of the trip.

The next day the sun was out and it was a beautiful day so we spent most of it by the pool just enjoying the sun. As I said the beach was too rocky and rough for swimming so we didn’t bother trying. I am always interested in the nerve that grown people of mature ages display in the swimwear that they choose. Somewhat over weight women seem to love to appear in skimpy bikinis and there was a man with a white beard with his grey hair in a pony tail wearing a Speedo. Dick looked at me and said “shoot me on the spot if I ever lose my facilities and wear something like that”. I told him not to worry I’d never let him outside the door in anything less than his knee length suit. My theory is that people must think when they’re away from home so none of their friends will ever see them and just let everything “hang out” and that’s literally. To each his own I guess.

Since Lucy has a wardrobe of Hawaiian outfits and even a grass skirt we decided that she should do a fashion show so we could take pictures. She cooperated for the most part and laughed for most of the shots. She even wore her sunglasses and grass skirt in between putting them in her mouth and trying to eat them. You see she’s teething and wants to chew on everything in sight. We managed to get some wonderful shots which will be special memories of our trip.

In the afternoon we decided to pay a visit to the only mall on the island. After all, it wouldn’t be a vacation without at least one shopping excursion. Since Lucy was sleeping in her car seat Dick volunteered to stay with her while we shopped. Kerri tried on lots of clothes at Macy’s while Ron patiently watched and I perused the shoe department. I also bought several gifts (shirts that he doesn’t need) for Dick for our anniversary. After awhile we saw Dick and Lucy coming in the door and she was ready to meet and greet all the clerks and customers. She just laughs at everyone and they all make a big fuss over her which she takes in stride while the grandparents watch with pride.

That evening Kerri and Ron went out for their sushi night and Dick and I ate leftovers and played with Lucy. I’m sure we had more fun than they did. As I said I’m not into raw fish. They had a nice time and only called once to check on Lucy and make sure we were taking proper care of her. After all they were about a block from the condo.

At around midnight when Lucy and I were sleeping soundly, the phone rang and Kerri answered. It was security calling to say they had received a complaint that loud noises were coming from our condo. So Kerri politely explained that our baby was sleeping and we definitely weren’t having a party so it must be coming from someone else’s condo. The phone woke me up and I thought about making some disturbing noises, but refrained.

The next morning, Kerri and Ron wanted to show us a waterfall and some other parts of the island that we had missed on our earlier excursion As Dick was feeling real well, he decided to stay home and rest. I had read about a little historic town which had the largest coffee plantation on the island and since I absolutely love Kona coffee I thought we should visit the town and buy some of the real coffee. On the way we stopped at another restaurant that Kerri had read about. It was very tropical and open and when we sat down and opened the menus which were already on the table we saw little tiny ants crawling all over them. Our table was next to the outside railing and surrounded by trees and foliage so that might have explained the ants. Anyway they were also on the table and even though we had a very nice lunch I kept feeling like ants were crawling all over me and when we left, Kerri and I stopped by the ladies room to check and make sure there were no “ants in our pants”.

After lunch we drove to the little town and tried to find coffee. Wouldn’t you think they would have a coffee shop to sell the plantation’s coffee? The only coffee we found was in a little grocery store so we bought a half pound for $18. Kerri said that was my Mother’s Day gift which was okay with me. Then we drove in search of the waterfall. We pulled off the road at the sign pointing to waterfall and parked the car. There were several other cars and people walking up and down in front a railing overlooking a beautiful valley of trees, but we couldn’t see a waterfall. Several people asked us if we had seen the waterfall and we said no so we just thought we were in the wrong place and got back into the car. As we were driving out of the parking lot Ron looked over and said “there’s the waterfall”. It was way at the end of the parking lot and actually was a very small waterfall off in the distance. Well I had worked at Yellowstone Park near the Upper and Lower Falls which are magnificent, so those waterfalls seemed like trickles. But they were pretty and we took lots of pictures.

We drove back to the condo because Dick had arranged for me to have a massage in the afternoon and Kerri and Ron were going to have a late afternoon massage on the beach. Now I couldn’t imagine laying out on a table in full view of anyone walking by or looking out of their windows, but they seemed to think it would be relaxing and fun.
So fuddy duddy Nana went over to the Spa and enjoyed a very relaxing hour. When the massage was over the girl gave me a cup of water and I walked up to the desk to pay my bill. A man was standing there so I sat my cup down on the ledge and handed him my credit card. In the process I knocked the cup of water over and it spilled all over his papers on the desk. He quickly grabbed a towel and started wiping, all the while saying nothing was harmed as I was apologizing and thinking that it wouldn’t have happened if they had given me a bottle instead of a cheap little cup. So I hurriedly paid the bill and exited before anything else could happen.

When I got back to the room, Kerri and Ron were just leaving to head down to the beach for their massages. I allowed about 30 minutes to pass and then took my trusty zoom lens camera and went outside to see what I could capture on film. As I walked around the side of our building I say two massage tables on the lawn down by the beach with Kerri and Ron being kneaded and rubbed by two attractive girls. Now mind you they seemed to be covered up, but people were strolling by gaping at them and probably wondering who would consent to such a public display. I didn’t want to get too close so I just used the zoom on my camera and took a few snapshots so they could later see how they looked in this setting. Actually my shots weren’t close enough to catch any details but they could get “the picture”. I was certainly glad I had opted for the indoor massage although they later said they loved it and since their eyes were closed they weren’t really aware of anyone watching. Lucky for them!

The next morning we decided to have breakfast at local café which was highly recommended. Well with out group, that meant having breakfast at noon. As we were leaving the phone rang and when Kerri answered, it was security asking if someone in our room was smoking cigars. Seemed the neighbors had complained again. I wondered if we seemed like the loud, raucous cigar smoking group. Oh well, at least they didn’t ask to come and check the room for smoke. Since Lucy and I had long ago had our breakfast on the balcony, we were ready for lunch. The place was crowded so we found a small booth and put Lucy on the end in an upside down highchair. Amazing that her car sit fit, but I guess they are designed that way. The waiter brought out water and menus and as we were looking over the selections, Dick moved his arm and knocked over his full glass of ice water all over the table and into his lap. What is it with our family and spilling water???? The waiter came over quickly with a cloth and wiped off the table and Dick had to just sit through the meal with his shirt and pants wet. Lucy thought it was funny and just cooed and smiled and we were thankful that none of the water spilled on her. The breakfast was actually very good and afterwards we walked around and visited a few of the little shops without buying anything.

Someone had told Ron about a park a few miles from our condo where they had a spot surrounded by rocks where children could go in the water without danger from the surf so we decided to take Lucy for a swim. Once again Dick opted to rest so Kerri, Ron, Lucy, and I went in search of the beach which was only a short drive. It was a beautiful beach and part of it had been sectioned off and huge rocks placed out in the water which created a peaceful little cove for children. Ron and Kerri took Lucy out and she loved the water so we spent about an hour just letting her play. Nana sat on a rock and watched and took pictures. Then it was time to try and shower all the sand off and make our way back to the condo.

Since that was our last night and the next day we would be flying on our actual 40th wedding anniversary, Ron, Kerri, and Lucy took us out to dinner to celebrate.
All week people had been telling us that the best place to eat on the island was the restaurant at our condo so we decided to give it a try. It was indeed very good and we enjoyed a delicious meal. Ron and Kerri gave us a card with 2 shell necklaces enclosed and Ron wrote a poem about how these necklaces symbolized love and a long relationship, etc. It was very sweet and touching. In honor of the occasion we ordered a decadent chocolate confection and all shared it. What a fitting way to top off a very special evening.

Well then it was back to the room to finish last minute packing as we were leaving the next morning. The week had seemed to fly by and I’m sure we would have enjoyed more time in that beautiful setting, but all good things must come to an end as they say. The next morning Lucy and I enjoyed our last breakfast on the balcony and said goodbye to the chickens, the pool guys, and the bag lady. We would miss them all. We loaded up the car and once again, each of us had to hold a piece of luggage. Thankfully it was just a short drive to the airport where Ron let us out and then returned the rental car. The nicest bellman helped us with our luggage and took us over to an American Airline counter that wasn’t being used and then called over a Hawaiian airline attendant to check us in. That really saved us having to drag and lift heavy suitcases. The thing I haven’t mentioned in this epistle is how nice and friendly the Hawaiian people are. Dick and I had noticed that characteristic on previous visits to the islands and it was still true today. Maybe living in that beautiful climate people feel less stress and are just naturally nicer; who knows but we appreciated it.

Ron arrived in short order and after a short wait we boarded the plane for the short ride to Honolulu. Then another wait for the bus to take us the terminal for our flight home. Once again I rented a DVD player and Kerri and I watched 2 movies which weren’t particularly memorable (because I can’t remember what they were), but they helped pass the time. When we arrived in LA it was after 10:00 P.M. and we were all tired.

Here’s a valuable lesson from a “southern” mother. I have always tried to tell Kerri that when she was out in public, no matter where, she should at least have a little makeup and lipstick on and be dressed nicely. She of course doesn’t listen to mom and says it’s what’s on the inside that counts and not how you look. That is of course true, but I still adhere to doing the best with what God gave you. Anyway as usual she had pulled her beautiful hair back in a partial ponytail, thrown on blue jeans and a tee shirt and no makeup. Of course after the long day we were all looking a bit frazzled. Anyway, while Ron and Dick waited for Lucy’s car seat to be brought out, Kerri and I took Lucy and went out into the waiting area and sat down. There was a very attractive young woman sitting down from us and she and Kerri began a conversation. She said she was waiting for her boyfriend who was on the plane and Kerri asked how she got through security. She said she was a flight attendant on another airline and they let her through. She was making a fuss over Lucy and as the conversation continued, she said her boyfriend was from Hershey, Pa. and was a singer in a pop group and had been performing in Honolulu. Kerri then told her that she had worked at Hershey Park one summer in one of the shows. So Kerri asked what her boyfriend’s name was and it turns out it was a guy named Shawn that Kerri had known very well and who was in a quartet with Patrick a boy that Kerri thought she was head over heels in love with. About that time Shawn came walking up and without looking at us grabbed his girlfriend and gave her a big hug. Then the girl said, “there’s an old friend of yours here” and he turned around and recognized Kerri and gave her a big hug as well. Since Dick and I had made 9 trips to Hershey over the summer that Kerri was performing, we of course had met all the kids and I remembered meeting Shawn and he pretended to remember me, but who knows. After that he and Kerri proceeded to talk non stop about Hershey and what they had both been doing for 12 years since they had seen each other last. Then Kerri asked about Patrick and Shawn said he was married and living in Hershey and working as a financial analyst. In a few minutes, Ron and Dick arrived with Lucy’s car seat and Kerri introduced Ron and we all began walking toward the luggage area. Kerri and Shawn exchanged emails and said goodbye. Then Kerri started lamenting the fact that she looked bedraggled and wondered what Shawn thought and more importantly what he would tell Patrick. She just looked at me and said “I know mom, I should wear makeup” and to my credit I think I kept quiet. I was probably too tired to care at that hour.

When Dick took my suitcase off the conveyer belt he noticed that one of the wheels had been ripped off so now it didn’t roll. I was very upset because it wasn’t an old suitcase and probably was unrepairable. Of course it weighed close to the 50 pound limit so was heavy to carry. By the time we got the rest of our luggage, and found a Taxi van which barely held us and all of our luggage, it was after 11 when we got back to their condo. Now that might not have been so bad except that Kerri and Ron had to leave at 4:30 the next morning to catch a flight to Pa. Needless to say none of us slept very much and I think Dick and Ron just stayed awake. Kerri and I slept a couple of hours and then they were rushing around waking Lucy and getting their bags out to the taxi. So we said our goodbyes which was very hard since it would be some time before we saw them again and I already knew I was going to miss being with Lucy every day. Dick laid back down to try and sleep a couple of hours before we had to leave at 7:00 but I just stayed up and tried to put things away and clean up with the kitchen. Soon it was time to leave and we made the short drive to the airport.

The flight home was uneventful and Dick slept most of the way and I read and watched the movie. When we arrived in Atlanta our friend was there with a luggage cart which was very helpful since my suitcase wouldn’t roll. Even though it was around 5 in the afternoon, we encountered no traffic problems and were home in less than 2 hours. We were both exhausted, but since it was only 7:00 EST it was too early to go to bed so we unpacked and looked at 2 weeks worth of mail. It had been a wonderful trip and certainly an anniversary that we would never forget, but as usual we were happy to be home and sleeping in our own bed. Thank you, Kerri, Ron, Mark, and Lucy for a very special thoughtful memorable trip. You are The Best and we love you.