Pipestone Flyer freelance writer Tom Dirsa recently traveled to Hawaii. He wrote a story to let his readers know more about his trip.
Hawaii has always intrigued me. It would not be until 2008 when my mother told me of a time when I was only eight weeks old that I began to understand why Hawaii seemed to draw me to its shores.
It seems that my father was on a destroyer assigned to escort one of the US aircraft carriers to Hawaii and was being transferred to the islands. While Dad was en route Mom and I were given a tour of the Pearl Harbor naval base. The tour was interrupted and we were sent back to San Diego. A few days later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and America became involved in World War II.
Thirty-Eight years later I returned to Hawaii with a basketball team and as we visited the Arizona memorial I felt a chill go up my spine. At the time I contributed it to the emotions one goes through when stepping on a site where an important historical event took place. I remember hearing the sounds of a propeller driven plane off in the distance and when my Mother told me the story of our visit I wondered if somehow that sound had remained buried in the memory of an eight week old baby and the chill that went through my body was the stirring of that memory?
Two years later I returned with another team and stayed on Waikiki Beach. Then in 2010 my wife and I decided to go to Hawaii for a winter vacation and one of the first things we did was tour Pearl Harbor and if as by magic we encountered a taxi driver, who was my age, and was just a baby when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred and he too was told by his parents of the preparations prior to the attack. Then as we were departing he informed us he was about to celebrate his 40th anniversary, just as we were, and he was going to his wife’s hometown for the event. Where we asked? Edmonton, Alberta he replied. Talk about a small world!
My wife, Maggie, fell in love with Hawaii and since 2010 we have returned three more times. Each time we have gone in the spring, but this year we decided it was time to visit during a special time. What could be more special than our wedding anniversary? So on June 7th we headed west for 10 days in the sun.
During our stays we always do a circle island tour this time we took two. The first one was on a big greyhound type bus and it stopped at all the major features that Hawaii offers like the spot where the steamy scene for From Here to Eternity was filmed, the Valley of the Temples, the Dole plantation, and the famous north shore for surfers. However our second tour was in a much smaller vehicle, which allowed us to go to places a bigger bus could not navigate. In addition this tour provided us an hour to swim with sea turtles. It was during this excursion that Hawaii took a bite out of me when a sudden current turned me and I scraped my leg along the coral while the turtles looked on.
On June 13th we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary and Hawaii threw us a parade! Well actually it was to celebrate King Kamehameha I’s birthday he was the king that united all the islands in 1795, but we claimed it. Later that evening we attended a luau and two days later we submerged, with the aid of a submarine, to the depths of over a hundred feet to observe the awesome marine life of the Pacific.
Much too soon it was time to board our plane back to Alberta and as we winged our way home we both thought that after four trips to Oahu it would be time to visit another island should we return and Maui is looking good for our 50th.