The anniversary plan comes together

Trip Start Feb 04, 2011
Trip End Mar 07, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A lot has happened since the last blog update. The Big Island Air flight was cancelled because of what the local TV weatherman called "biggie bad storms" across the state. There was significant flooding in some area and almost 22,000 lightning strikes reported (Do you wonder whose job it is to count them all?). Heavy rains cancelled the flight; Ray will try again tomorrow. Meanwhile, Carolyn surprised him with an early anniversary present – a tandem parasail ride in Kailua Bay. They took the “deluxe” 800-foot ride and found it a real blast. Gary Martens tried to shoot photos from the bouncing tow boat and they are attached. We went back to Jesse Rey's for lunch and were not disappointed, although portions were smallish.

Friday afternoon we moved from our comfy two bedroom timeshare apartment just outside Kailua-Kona to a six-bedroom, 6,000-sq.-ft house on a North Kohala hillside overlooking the Pacific. That night we watched the most spectacular sunset of our visit from the lanai of our grand estate, complete with the obligatory mai tais. Glorious!

It got real busy Saturday, because unbeknownst to Carolyn, sons Kris and Ben arrived in Kona with wife and girl friend, respectively. This was part of a nefarious plot engineered by Ray. Oldest son Kris and wife Tamara flew in from Shanghai via Tokyo – a VERY long flight, youngest son Ben and main squeeze Ashley from Phoenix. Ray’s complex plan came together beautifully. The boys and girls arrived within an hour of each other, rented a car and headed 35 miles north for the Kohala coast. The plan even called for the young folks to stop in Waikoloa Beach enroute to pick up flower leis for Sunday’s anniversary dinner at the Kohala house. The kids arrived at the house as Ray distracted Carolyn’s attention with a false whale sighting. She was completely blown away when they walked in. This split-second timing required numerous text messages, requiring Ray to make himself conspicuously absent on several occasions, but the surprise remained intact. There was just time for grilled burgers and mai tais (yes, again) before everyone crashed for the night.

Phase two of the plan unfolded on Sunday. The six of us made a run into Kailua-Kona to augment the larder with enough food for eight people. At 4:30 Chef Chris appeared at the house to begin preparations for the five-course dinner. We all dressed up in our finest Aloha wear and kicked off the evening with mai tais and pupus (Hawaiian hors d-oeuvres). Following the obligatory anniversary toast we enjoyed the best meal we have had in Hawaii, impeccably cooked and served by Chef Chris and his staff and accompanied by a fine Mendocino Zinfandel. The dessert was a chocolate Kona coffee mousse, accompanied by Chef Chris’s homemade Oreos. Just as the enraptured diners were winding up the meal, the final surprise was sprung when John Keawe (see Feb. 16 blog entry) arrived with his graceful hula dancer wife, Hope, to provide a private concert. John is a Grammy-winning slack-key guitarist, and writes and sings his own music. We all got up to learn to hula and a fantastic time was had by all.

As you may have guessed, Ray does the writing for the blog, carefully monitored and edited by Carolyn. Here we take a break from the ordinary and ask Carolyn to provide her thoughts on the 40th celebration:

“Okay, apparently my reward for shocking him into parasailing last week is having to try to put my reactions (such a personal and emotional thing for me) to his year-long planning of the most amazing weekend ever.  In case there’s anyone who isn’t aware, Ray doesn’t 'do’ heights, and I don’t ‘do’ water.  Well, we kicked that bucket to the curb, didn’t we?

Ray has always been fond of saying that a bad day in Hawaii is better than a good day anyplace else.  Well, he certainly pulled off the perfect day in the perfect place this time.  He loves to spring surprises on me, and though I knew about the long-wished-for month-long visit here, and had clues (found accidentally on the computer) about his dinner plans for our anniversary, nothing prepared me for the surprise arrival of my boys and their lovely ladies to share the final week with.  Yep, that was pretty overwhelming.  Hey, are you kidding me?  K & T all the way from China??  I know how badly Josh and Lindsey wanted to be here, and they are sorely missed by all of us, but they really do have a much larger commitment back in Florida and we’ll be seeing them in about a month…with their newest addition, Luke Joseph.  Ray gave his take on Chef Chris’ amazing meal, but I want to add that he and his staff (that would be his wife and daughter!) were friendly, funny, and so comfortable to have here in the house for the evening.  I wish everyone could experience such luxury.  And some of you know, since you’ve been here with us, how much we enjoy and respect John and Hope Keawe.  Who knew they would even come to entertain at a venue so small?  Or that Ray would think to ask them?  Amazingly, we’d already been to enjoy his performances twice in the past three weeks, and he never even dropped a hint.  I would have preferred to watch everyone else learn to dance with Hope, but hey, after mai tais and wine, what do I care if my family and friends watch me make a fool of myself?  I’m still wondering how he managed to get rid of the Kona winds and clear the skies for the first time all month enabling us to see the Milky Way.  Breathtakingly perfect ending.

This has been a monumental planning scheme for Ray, and I can’t help but wonder if we’ll be eating nothing but beans for the next few years, but what an absolutely precious memory this month will be for the rest of our lives.  He set the bar high…good luck to his sons!” 

It’s taken us two days to get organized after the anniversary celebrations, but the days have been relatively quiet. Monday was a down day; the kids went to the beach. Tuesday they set off early around the island: Hilo via the Hamakua (east) coast, then Volcano for the obligatory visit to see Pele on Kilauea. They tried to get close to the lava in Kalapana, but weren’t allowed close enough to see anything but steam. Then Carolyn and Ray met them at the Mauna Kea Visitors Center for the trek to the top for sunset. It was beautiful, but very chilly. Today we hung out at the house and then went into Waikoloa Beach to tour the Hilton Waikoloa and view the sunset from Buddha Point (we’re big on sunsets). We didn’t even notice when the sun went down because we were too busy watching several whales breaching and blowing not far off the point. Amazing!

Hopefully we’ll get good aerial shots during tomorrow’s flight around the island. Watch this space.
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Dick Crockett on

Wow, well done Alan. Sounds like a spectacular anniversary. Congratulations.

Harvey and Kathy on

We are delighted that Carolyn was surprised, Ray, and that you all are having such a wonderful time together. Thanks for the pictures! We are there with you in spirit!

Lou & Kathy Bodony on

Wow, what an amazing memory and wonderful occasion to celebrate. Congratulations to you both and may your love always be the wonderful example it is. Carolyn, we know how much you love Hawaii! It was all so very perfect! Thahk you for sharing with us.
We love you both. Let us know about the baby's arrival. How exciting!
Love & hugs, Kathy & Lou too

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