SMALL KIDS INFILTRATE A LUAU
Meaning, you saw them everywhere, kind of like leaves carried in a gust of wind.
For Rob and me they made the luau.
But it almost didn’t happen . . .
Once more, our very large immediate family (4 generations—now grown to 39 members) were on vacation, thanks to our leader, who refers to himself as “Spongebob.” Each year, wherever we’re headed, the members get themselves there, whereupon Spongebob takes over. (Many a friend has asked, “Can I join your family? Nobody would ever notice.” Which might be true.)
This time 29 of us made it to Kiahuna, on the island of Kauai.
There must have been a few unrelated guests at Kiahuna who wished they’d come at a different time. With our family occupying ten units, we had our joyous—make that noisy--moments. Each night a different family cooked dinner for the mob, after which the athletes among us took over the vast resort lawn for spectacular demonstrations of whirling Frisbees. With each throw, the orange disc whirled across the length of a football field, captured gracefully by some male between five-eleven and six-three . . . but occasionally landing in the hands of a child who hadn’t quite reached four feet.
Like puppies, the kids kept leaping up to intercept those flying discs.
On our last night, at a cost equal to the down payment on a car, we signed up for a luau. Having seen more than my share of such extravaganzas, I was ready to bypass this one. But thank heavens I didn’t.
First thing I knew, the MC was probing the crowd for birthdays. Rob, days short of 90, didn’t volunteer. Instead, the great grandkids—eight of them, ten and under—“volunteered” for him. Like a swarm of insects, they gathered behind Rob’s head . . . giggling, pointing and shouting, “Here! Him!” Of course the MC noticed and Rob was forced to trumpet out his age.
Only moments later, the man on stage asked for longest marriages, and this time Rob cooperated. “Sixty-nine years!” he shouted, (my math genius was “off” by half a year), which brought us enthusiastic applause.
As if this weren’t enough, soon seven of our eight youngsters were up on stage learning--or sort of learning--the Hula . . . even Annalise, who is only two. Budding show-offs that they were, none were shy about wiggling their hips or spinning in circles. (Which excepts Annalise, who mostly stood and stared out at the crowd.)
For the rest of the show, our young performers gathered on a berm of land at one end of the stage and perched there like birds on a wire.
But the excitement didn’t end. After the show, numerous men came up to congratulate Rob on our extended marriage (as if it was all because of him), and even on the plane returning home, a passenger made a point of shaking Rob’s hand.
This may be the one occasion when neither of us minded that we’d already lived such a vast number of years.