You already know that my most favorite island of all is Kaua'i. But my second favorite island is Hawai'i also known as the Big Island. We visited the Big Island in 1991 and in 1993. It was the last Hawaiian vacation we took with my grandma, Baba. She died in 1995. Though we've been back to the islands since she died, we haven't gone back to the Big Island. And when I think of Hawai'i (the island not the state), I think of her.
Baba and I were always buddies. I'm sure we put my mom in the middle of a lot of things. (You know the saying: what do grandparents and grandkids have in common? the enemy in the middle) But Baba and I were kindred spirits much like my little Gracey is with my mom, Grammy. But on this particular trip, Baba and I spent a lot of time together.
She liked to play tourist. So do I. She liked to talk story with the locals. So do I. She liked to shop for random junk, kitchy souvenirs and good deals. So do I. And we did a lot of that on this trip. My mom and sister had lost their luggage so the two of them were busy shopping for new clothes, so Baba and I spent a lot of time together.
I remember going with her down Ali'i Drive to a farmer's market. And we went on a submarine ride which was totally hokey but so much fun. We learned about parrotfish on that ride. And we took tons of pictures of the Painted Church. And she and I wondered around Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (you say that like this: poo-oo-hoh-new-uh oh hoh-now-now) together, taking in the peaceful beauty of this historical site.
But what I remember most was trying to teach her to swim. She had this adorable floral print swimsuit, the only swimsuit I ever remember her wearing, and she looked so cute in it. She always was at ease standing in the pool or sitting in the hot tub, but she couldn't swim. So we'd hold hands and she'd kick her feet while I walked backwards around the pool. We'd giggle like school girls.
There's an Iz song that makes me think of Baba and Hawai'i. Of course, I cry whenever I listen to it. (Are you understanding that I cry easily?) You can check it out here.