ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Quick trip to Hawaii

© Another Day in the Country

“So where would you like to go for your birthday, if you could go anywhere you wanted?” my sister asked.

“Hawaii,” I answered. This was a no-brainer. It was hot, and while the swimming facility in Hillsboro was lovely and afforded lots of fun for my family this summer, wouldn’t a sandy beach be wonderful and the sound of waves hitting the shore so soothing?

Just that easy, Hawaii became the theme for my birthday party. My daughter and Jess were inspired. They got the box marked “Hawaii” out of storage, which contained all the stuff we’d brought back in 2005 when we took Jana to Hawaii to celebrate graduating from college and Tooltime Tim went with us.

That year our Schubert family reunion naturally had an Hawaiian theme — we even brought back muumuus for our aunts, along with leis, grass skirts, coconut bras, strings of shells, and video footage of the ocean, waves crashing on shore, acres of sand. All that stuff did double-duty that summer as we made an Hawaiian-themed float for Ramona’s 4th of July Parade and did a variation in Herington’s parade. Almost ten years later, this stash of Hawaiian artifacts again came in useful.

“I remember the first time I ate mahi mahi at a restaurant in Hawaii,” Jess said. “That’s what we’ll have for our lunch.” She started poring over her recipe books and settled on grilled mahi mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts.

“We’ll make shish-kabobs. We’ll decorate the back porch — it’s ok if it is hot.” And they were off and running.

There was a big discussion about the cake and if there would even be one. My sister was flying through her shelf of recipe books like she was doing the Indianapolis 500, and there was a new idea for dessert at every turn. Finally, the birthday girl said, “Coconut cake! I haven’t tasted one in ages.” Jess is always a stickler for following the recipe to the letter of the law, and when she embarked on the cake it called for “4 eggs at room temperature.” All of her eggs were in the fridge so she made a trek to the henhouse and got them out from under a hen: warm. My birthday gift from the chickens.

My job was to find the video that Tim and I had made of the hula show, so we could wear those grass skirts and dance the hula at my party. We also had a 20-minute video we had made of just the sound of the ocean with our favorite Hawaiian singer, Iz, singing in the background. (TTT and I had so much fun making videos during that era.) What wonderful memories as we’d play that video of ocean views and surf sounds in the background.

“I’ve got sand bags that I need to get rid of,” Jess said. “We can make a ‘beach’ on the back porch if you don’t mind.”

First they cleaned the whole back porch from floor to ceiling fans. Then we moved the fake pine trees I’d been storing in a corner into a “forest of pines” to camouflage the porch storm windows in the corner, and strung some “parrot” twinkly lights we’d gotten on sale years ago through the branches. Jess brought flowers from her porch for “tropical color.” They bought pink and yellow lawn chairs as my birthday gift and arranged them in front of our old beach umbrella. We christened the porch the Tiki Room.

Jana got her supplies for making icy virgin drinks. We were ready for friends to arrive. With sand underfoot, a lei around your neck, cool drink in hand, a breeze blowing gently overhead, the sound of the surf and music drifting through the conversations, this six-hour vacation in “Hawaii” was about to be the best birthday present ever!

Thanks to those ever-handy iPhones, we took pictures of us sitting on the sand, looking like true Hawaiian vacationers, sent them to far-away friends and fooled some of them who actually thought we’d gone to Hawaii! Ah, the miracle of technology! Here I was spending another day in the country and it looked like Hawaii!

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