Friday, August 17, 2012

A Hawaiian Honeymoon

Katie and I were married 17 years ago today.

We honeymooned in Hawaii.

Some of you may already know that the summer before my senior year in high school, my family moved to Hawaii; specifically to the island of Molokai. When you tell people you lived on Molokai, you get one of two responses. “Never heard of it” or “Isn’t that where the lepers are?” You are correct on both accounts. For the most part, even people who live on another Hawaiian island raise their eyebrows and are most surprised to hear that there are people alive and well on Molokai. In short, you will not find Molokai in your Fabulous Hawaiian Vacation brochure. Unless you were hoping to see the lepers; but even then, there isn’t much left of them. (Rim shot.)

Molokai is gorgeous; just simply a more rural island that doesn’t particularly cater to tourists. I suppose that could be bad, if you have a Molokai-based tourist business; but let me tell you, it’s pretty fantastic if you’re on your honeymoon.

Katie and I spent about three days on Oahu doing the standard tourist fare, and then we ventured over to Molokai for another four days. Our set up on Molokai was pretty spectacular.

On the west end of the island was a large, spacious, fully-furnished home that the developer could not sell. So it sat empty. The builder was a friend of my dad’s, and he offered the home to us for our honeymoon.

The home was two stories, the d├ęcor was white. It was open and airy, spacious inside. There were no neighbors. The back of the house was all windows and the veranda overlooked the ocean. Whenever someone tells me to go to my “happy place,” this is where my mind goes.

Can you imagine? A palatial home on a remote Hawaiian island – just hoping somebody would come honeymoon in it? It is nothing short of miraculous that we ever came back to the mainland.

Days were filled with the beach, meals in small local restaurants, visiting beautiful spots of the island, and very little else. The world was still.

I recognized even during the time we were there that life would soon get busy and we would most likely look back and wonder if we truly took full advantage of these days when time left us alone. We felt we were taking it all in, even if there is no way to measure it.

On our last afternoon there, just moments before driving to the airport, we stopped to take some video footage of our favorite beach. Then, as we walked from the beach back to the car, crossing a golf course, Katie started laughing. I wish I could remember what the impetus was; but whether it was because she was tired or just happy, it was one of those laughs that simply take over. She couldn’t stop giggling.

I didn’t want her to, either. There was something in that moment that endeared me even more to her. It may have been the culmination of our honeymoon; or maybe I felt the dynamic of that instant – that it was fleeting and could never be revisited. I think for some peculiar reason, it was settling in my senses that we were going to get on a plane, fly home…and be home…together. That thought, that perception, made me profoundly happy.

I pulled out the video camera and caught the last few seconds of Katie’s giggle-fit. I will always remember watching her and thinking to myself that I could never possibly love her more than I did right in that moment.

And I have never been happier to admit I was wrong.

And guess what – I found the video! P.S. VHS tapes do not hold up well after 17 years. Sorry about the quality.

Happy anniversary, Katie! I love you with all that I am.