From New Hampshire to Oahu and Back Again

Yesterday I came home from Honolulu after a wonderful two week trip. I haven’t flown anywhere since 2001, but I caught on and enjoyed my flights from Boston to San Francisco to Honolulu.

As I never did quite figure out how to work my tablet and keyboard, I missed posting each day. But I did take notes each day. I had a tour every other day, which allowed me time to soak up just being in Hawaii. I stayed at a nice condo near Waikiki beach, and took a stroll there every day.

I also boldly went where no Jane Fraser had ever been before; out in the city with all its shops and excitement. Three times I went off the beaten path and got lost in the city; three times I had to call a *taxicab to get me back to the hotel. But after a while, I got my bearings.

Everyone I met was helpful and kind. The gals at the front desk were wonderful, and they gave me tips on what not to miss. Oh yes, and I finally had my first shave ice (note that it is not “shaved ice,” but “shave ice.”) It’s a Hawaiian thing, and it was delicious. They grind the ice to nearly powder, and then bathe it in whatever flavors you like. Mine was pineapple and coconut.

Each day was warm and slightly humid, and you sure could pick out us tourists. All the locals would be shivering and wearing hoodies and jackets and even parkas, while we from other places would all be wearing sleeveless dresses, shorts and t-shirts.

The first tour I took was Pearl Harbor. When I went to the front desk to find out when my bus would come by, the lady at the desk told me how moving it was to see it. We both wept a bit, and when I was on the little boat that circles around the Pearl Harbor memorial, I felt both awed and sad.

I have always had a huge aversion to seeing things under water that shouldn’t belong there; such as wrecks, planes, subs, and so on. Even seeing them on TV makes me lose my breath.

However, on that day, the memorial was being worked on, so we could not walk on it. But from the boat, you could lean over the side and see what was left of the USS Arizona. All I could feel was pity and sorrow for all those young lives lost.

Many of the WWII survivors who luckily were not killed at Pearl Harbor, and also those who lost loved ones there wanted to honor their brothers and sisters in a unique way. Many of these folks request that their cremains rest with the USS Arizona to be with their buddies.

The young sailor who was narrating the trip told us this: a total of 334 crewmembers survived the USS Arizona sinking. Some of them have chosen to be interred on the USS Arizona upon their death.

  • Only USS Arizona survivors can be interred on the USS Arizona. Pearl Harbor survivors can have their ashes scattered over Pearl Harbor.
  • The memorial service and interment of deceased USS Arizona Survivors is conducted on the USS Arizona Memorial. The service includes a committal service, interment, rifle salute, TAPS, flag presentation, and plaque presentation.
  • The urns of the deceased are placed in the well of Barbette No. Four.

The sailor told us that when divers take the urns down to the USS Arizona, they raise their urns together, and then gently place them in the well of Barbette No. Four.

It was a somber and moving experience I will never forget.

 

 

 

 

*The local taxi cabs are all from the same company, called “The Cab.” The buses too were called “The Bus.”

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Headed for Warm Weather

Just a note to say that I will be on my way to Oahu tomorrow; I will be there for two wonderful weeks. Hopefully I can remember how to post via my tablet once I get there, thanks to the help from my wonderful sister-in-law. As best I can, I will share the experiences with you. I am looking forward to visiting the land of my dreams.

Despite all we hear about plane crashes, it is still the most safe way to travel. In fact, I read somewhere that we are in more danger of dying in a car crash than traveling by air. Besides, I have made up my mind that all will be well, and have sent out good intentions for safety, enjoyment and comfort. I do believe that when we put out good vibes, good vibes come back to us.

It’s a pretty long flight to San Francisco, but that too is a place I’ve always wanted to see, so that’s another win for me. By the time I get to the Honolulu airport, it will be five hours earlier than here in New Hampshire; imagine that!

Aloha!

 

 

Faith in Flight

Do you remember the show way back in the ’50s that started with the beautiful poem, “High Flight,” by John Gillespie Magee? It has always inspired me:

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air …
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

In looking forward to my trip to Oahu this week, this poem will be on my mind. I will put out good intentions that the weather will be fine, that my flight will be easy, safe and comfortable, and that I will return home in two weeks, filled to the brim with Hawaiian aloha and memories I will never forget.

It’s been so long since I flew that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some good friends of mine who fly often have helped immensely. On their good suggestions, I bought compression socks, I learned a few simple exercises (while sitting) while seated, I also got one of those cozy neck pillows. Also, I will be in a window seat near the wing (which I’ve always liked).

I have been putting out good intentions before I drift off to sleep; that I will get to the airport in plenty of time, that the TSA folks will be kind, that the pilot will have had a good night’s sleep, and most of all—that I will once again enjoy the fun of travel. Who knows, maybe in another year or so I’ll go to Lanai and Molokai as well.

But for now, I am thrilled to be going to Oahu, which I recently found out means “the gathering place.” I realize that it is very tourist-y, with a lot of traffic. But I don’t care—I will be in the land of my dreams.

 

The Owl and the Pussy-cat

The following poem, written by *Edward Lear, was one of the first poems I ever heard. My mother used to read it to me before I went to sleep, and the sing-song-y rhythmn of it always delighted me.

If you have not read it, please enjoy the following. If you are familiar with it, I hope that it brings you the joy that it brings back to me:

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a **runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

*The Owl and the Pussycat’ was published in Lear’s 1871 collection Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets.

**Runcible” is a nonsense word invented by Edward Lear. The word appears (as an adjective) several times in his works, most famously as the “runcible spoon” used by the Owl and the Pussycat. The word “runcible” was apparently one of Lear’s favourite inventions, appearing in several of his works in reference to a number of different objects. In his verse self-portrait, The Self-Portrait of the Laureate of Nonsense, it is noted that “he weareth a runcible hat.” Other poems include mention of a “runcible cat,” a “runcible goose” (in the sense of “silly person”), and a “runcible wall.

“Yes, As a Matter of Fact, I DO Own the Whole World!”

A while ago I posted about feeling confident about ourselves. For a long time, I was sort of cringing my way through the world; kind of doing a ‘please don’t take notice of me’ attitude. I even found that I was keeping my head down, trying to be invisible.

It took me years to realize that I have nothing to hide and not everything that happens is my fault, and most of all, I hold my head up high and I walk as if I actually do own the whole world. It’s done wonders for me. I used to be in plays and musicals, first in high school and then in summer stock. I was taught to “act as if,” and by golly, it works!

When we are in our 60s we of course are not the lissome young things we were in our 20s and 30s. Our bodies change, our sight and hearing change; we may have to take meds for certain things, and sometimes our once-heroic strong body needs help; say, a knee or shoulder replacement.

I have a 50th year class reunion coming up in June, and I’m looking forward to it. All of us are about the same age, we are probably all grandmothers and grandfathers by now, and of course we will have changed with age. However, I think that there is a certain beauty about all the changes.

Taking that newly-found beauty has made me confident. When I am out by myself, I hold my head up, put my shoulders back, and I walk an imaginary runway. I feel more authentic than I used to; I guess I am just settling into my own skin. I’ve finally learned the fine art of ‘fake it ’til you make it.’

And yes, I DO walk as though I own the whole world! Besides, these days I am impressing no one but myself, and that’s enough.

Getting the *Collywobbles

As the time grows closer to my trip to Oahu this month, I find myself getting a little bit apprehensive. It’s been quite a while since I flew (2001, to be specific), and of course there have been many changes since then. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for security and the TSA; that alone makes me feel a lot more safe.

I’ve done my research and bugged my friends who travel often and I feel as though I know what to expect; sort of. I have filled seventeen (count ’em; seventeen!) travel bottles (all under the 3 oz. rule) for all my lotions and makeup and such. I have picked out outfits that I wore last summer (as Hawaii’s temps this time of year is about 75 to 80 degrees). I bought a great straw hat to keep my brains from boiling in the sun, and will be bringing my devices; Kindle (all filled up with good reads), my smart phone, my tablet and keyboard (big thanks to my brilliant sister-in-law for helping me get that set up), and even my good old reliable (and very simple) flip-phone as well.

I have a wonderful travel agent at AAA who gave me an easy-to-read itinerary, along with vouchers and other nice freebies. On the day before I leave I’ll be staying at a nice hotel with a shuttle to the airport. I’ll get a wake-up call, and I’ll be at the airport in plenty of time to check in.

So, all that said and done, why do I have butterflies in my stomach? I’m going on a dream destination, I have wonderful tours all lined up and nice condo to stay in. It’s everything I could possibly want, so I started thinking about why the nerves are kicking on. 1) I haven’t flown in years. 2) Once I’m on my way, I’m on my own. 3) what if my flight get delayed or cancelled?

Well, we can’t plan for every little thing, and the closer I get to the day I leave I will just go with the flow and hope for the best. Or as has been said before many times: never trouble trouble ’til trouble troubles you.

*From https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/collywobbles:

The collywobbles meaning: an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach caused by feelings of nervousness or slight fear.