A chauffeured SUV arrived at our home at 5:00 am Saturday morning to drive us to the airport and send us off on Eddie’s wish trip to Hawaii. Our plane left Charlotte and about three and a half hours later landed in Denver. Eddie has been on a number of flights, but it never gets old for him. Deacon traveled on the plane to Baltimore for doctor’s appointments when he was just a few months old, but obviously, he has no recollection of this. Therefore, this was practically a first flight for him.
We arrived in Denver for a fairly quick layover. We had just enough time to grab some lunch before boarding the next plane for a seven hour flight to Honolulu. The flight attendants saw Eddie wearing his Make a Wish shirt and gave him a snack box for the trip. Thankfully, Deacon and I dozed for a good bit of that long flight. We arrived in Honolulu around 4:30 local time which meant 9:30 at home. Because we were seated in the middle aisle of the plane without a window view, our first good look at the Hawaiian landscape was once we stepped out of the airport. I could never have imagined such beauty. I’ve been beyond blessed in my lifetime to see a good number of places, but nothing could compare to the picturesque nature of the rocky mountains next to sandy beaches with the clear blue sea. All of us were blown away.
After claiming our luggage and our rental car, we made our way to Waikiki. Our hotel, the Aston, is close to the beach, restaurants, shops, and so many attractions. It makes it so easy to walk to anything. Every room in the hotel has a balcony. After checking in we made our way to a restaurant downstairs, Tiki Grill, for dinner. Eddie and his dad took a walk on the beach, but Deacon and I went back to the room to go to bed as our bodies were screaming for sleep. It may have been just 8:30 pm here, but our bodies felt as if it were closer to 2 am.
Sunday….Christmas Day. It didn’t feel like Christmas Day….maybe because of the 80 degree weather or maybe because of the constant activity. All the businesses along this famous strip of beach were open and engaging in regular business. We went to a local establishment called Eggs and Things for breakfast. We wanted to enjoy things local and unique to Hawaii. A pancake with coconut syrup, omelet with local produce including zucchini, a grilled porkchop with fresh pineapple, and kona coffee. Delicious.
Then we headed to the beach. The strip of sand was not as wide as I anticipated, but the sand was unbelievably soft. The water was so clear. I rented an umbrella and beach chairs. Eddie really wanted to paddle board so we rented one for an hour. One huge difference between the beaches I’ve visited in the Atlantic and this one is the ocean bottom is not sandy. It’s rocks. Sharp rocks with sea urchins in some places. The water was cool and although the temperature was in the low 80s, it was so comfortable with a constant breeze. Not too hot and not too cool. The humidity also was a perfect level. It was the most incredible weather.
We returned to the hotel after a couple of hours, took showers, had lunch, and then prepared to head to a luau. Make a Wish planned a number of activities for us including this luau called The Chief’s Luau which is held inside of a park much like a small Seaworld.
At the luau, there was spear throwing, poi tasting, local craft selling, and headband making. We all enjoyed a variety of these activities. Because our reservation was secured through Make a Wish, we were treated like royalty. We sat in the VIP section for the show in front of the stage. The food was a smorgasbord of local entrees. Pork, chicken, some incredible fish, fresh pineapple, pineapple cake, rice….the list could go on and on. There was unlimited fruit punch, water, hot tea, and coffee and sodas, wine, beer, and cocktails were available at the Tiki bar.
The emcee for the luau was an incredible showman with a great sense of humor and musical talent. They shared some information on the culture as well as traditional dances of the Polynesian islands including Samoa, Tonga, Tunisia, and of course, Hawaii. Near the end of the show, they invited Eddie to the stage and offered a Hawaiian blessing for good health and long life for him and gave him a number of gifts including a ukulele which he was thrilled about. Interestingly, Eddie was ambivalent about the idea of attending a luau until we arrived. He smiled and laughed and hula-ed throughout the show. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him that relaxed and enjoying himself. Obviously, this is exactly the purpose of Make a Wish.
How blessed we are.