Our 94 year-old goes home to Honolulu? Yes, in February. Naturally against the wishes of her doctor who strongly advised her to stay closer to home. Should anything go wrong it’s a six hour flight to get back home …
However, Francine, being Francine, was adamant that she was going. Mom adores Hawaii so much that she considers it her second home. She’s been there over 40 times. Two were contest wins. Seriously? Yes, this is Francine we’re talking about, remember. The first time was for a jingle she wrote for Skylark bread in the 50’s and a second was for figuring out clues and guessing the location of a hidden key in a contest held by our local paper in the 70’s.
Hawaii is her happy place. She is determined to spend the days that are left to her, being happy.
So who got to go along with her? Me. At least this time I knew her doctor wasn’t in favor of the trip, unlike the time we zipped down to Los Angeles and I overheard her telling a complete stranger that she shouldn’t be flying.
Our 94 Year-Old Goes Home To Honolulu
So why is she so attached to Hawaii? Well, it just so happens that this is where her interest in Asian antiques was sparked. She met Bard, a dealer in Japanese antiques in Honolulu, on a visit there when I was 12. She and Dad ended up buying seven tansu (storage chests of varying sizes) in one fell swoop and boom! She opened her own Asian antiques and collectibles store in Vancouver a mere 10 years later. And the rest is history.
Now that she’s 94 and less keen to body surf, parasail or suntan, first on the list is shopping.
Check out this beaut that she picked up on sale!
While we were at Macy’s Dept. Store in the Ala Moana shopping centre she was stopped by a woman who enquired about Mom’s “wheelie.” Apparently it’s very hard to find appropriate “wheelies” on the islands. You want one that you can sit on, wheel about with ease and be able to fold up and pop into the back of a car easily. This one does all that. It’s the Canadian Cadillac version, apparently.
Here Francine is extolling its virtues to some very interested Hawaiians.
Everyone was so very kind to Mom, offering to hold the elevator, lift her wheelie while she took the stairs, and help carry it onto the free tourism trolley that was offered by our hotel. Personally, I think we should all get one.
However, not all was smooth sailing at first.
“But Kelly, I do want you to have a good holiday, too. I do think I could hike up Diamond Head, it doesn’t look that hard … “
“Mom, there will be another trolley in 20 minutes or so. We don’t need to bolt to catch this particular one …”
Happily we figured out a routine that worked. We’d do one outing a day and then come back and sit by the pool and read.
Funny how my patience was ever so much better when an afternoon cocktail was involved.
To give you some perspective on Francine’s Diamond Head comment, take a gander at the crater looming in the background of this photo. That is Diamond Head. The hike she was referring to ambles up to the 760 foot summit and takes about an hour for a healthy 20 something …
This next photo was in complete contrast to something I’d just written about for the book I am currently writing about the ten years we worked together in her shop. (Oooh, I have a working title now – Hanky Panky With Frankie. No, that will NOT be the name, Mom. It’s just a fun, quirky ditty I came up with, so don’t get your knickers in a knot. Thank you).
Cast your eyes on those animated hands. Mom is actually singing along to the tune playing on the trolley sound system. I couldn’t believe it. She was so relaxed and happy.
The last time I took public transit with her was back in the late 80’s. We were in Chiang Mai, Thailand on a buying trip and running late for a dinner appointment. We hopped into an empty multi passenger tuktuk. Everything was fine until two other passengers hopped on. Francine determined that she didn’t like the looks of them and began hissing at me in the loudest of stage whispers that we were going to be robbed. To my mind, the women could not have looked more innocent. Francine began reaching for the emergency cord. It didn’t work. She was convinced now that the driver was in on the scam and we were being kidnapped and … Golly, you’re going to have to read the book to find out how THAT turned out.
That’s enough about our 94 year-old goes home to Honolulu. I’m curious about you. Would you have been the perfect traveling companion for Francine? Ever been kidnapped? Ever had the world’s best Mai Tai? If you’d care to share, I’d love to hear.