When Lindsay was 18 months old, in June of 1984, Greg and I were able to plan a real vacation. We had always talked about going on a cruise on our fifth wedding anniversary, but since I was in intensive care all the time, a cruise was definitely ruled out. Thankfully Greg’s company had released some money, through a buy out, and I was feeling pretty good, so we decided to go for it. After the last year and a half we somehow thought we deserved a vacation. My sister agreed to keep Lindsay for us and off we flew to the Hawaiian Islands. I was determined not to let my weakened condition keep me from missing anything that was on the regular tourist HAD TO SEE list in Hawaii, and with that in mind I really only made two little mistakes.
My travel agent had assured me that one of the “must do’s” was to take the road to Hana and see the Seven Pools. Well this sounded marvelous, but what she didn’t tell us was how rough the road to Hana really was. To make matters worse, Greg had rented a Jeep which, he assured me, would be a lot of fun. About half way to the Seven Pools, i had stopped having “fun” and was ready to see those pools, which had better be pretty terrific!
Some people on the island had warned us that the road to Hana was pretty rough, but that it was well worth the trip to see the pools. In fact there was a stand along the way that was selling bumper stickers that said, “I SURVIVED THE ROAD TO HANA.” About that time, I was really wanting a bumper sticker that said “I didn’t survive the road to Hana!” We evidently drove right past the pools because we came to a sign that said “No Driving Beyond This Point.” “Don’t worry, Sweetie,” Greg said, “we’re in a Jeep!” He kept on driving down this road that began to look like a deer trail and was even bumpier than the other one. When the deer trail gave out on us, I insisted that we start back. I wasn’t looking forward to driving all that way back and by this time I didn’t even care that we had missed the pools. I just wanted off that bumpy road and out of that Jeep. We did find the pools on the way back, and they were lovely, but since Maui was having a drought we would have had to hike up the side of a mountain to see all seven of the pools. Somehow, I really didn’t feel like climbing, which I couldn’t have done had I wanted to, so, we just sat out there by the pools and ate the picnic lunch that we had packed that morning. Somehow, it seemed to be a pretty hard lunch to swallow, and right about then, the soft bed at the hotel sounded much more inviting that looking at a waterfall. That trip, in case you haven’t guessed it, was my first little mistake.
On the third and final tour, of the island of Kauai, I made another little mistake. I had always dreamed of going horse back riding on the beach, and well, Kauai had a riding stable where that option was available. The Hana trip was four days previous, and by now a distant memory, so we set off for Princeville and the riding stables. This time in a real car!
The problems began, right away, by me just trying to get on the silly horse. Fortunately there were some bleachers nearby and the guide brought the horse over and Greg helped me stand on the bleachers and get me on the horse. The guide asked Greg, questioningly, “is she ok to go riding?” I’m fine, I thought, besides, it’s the horse that’s going to do all the walking. How hard could that be?!
Now we had to ride for an hour and a half, just to get to the beach. Greg was the last rider in the line and I was right in front of him. He said that it was his worst nightmare watching me bounce along the path wondering if I was going to tumble off any second. “Are you ok?” he kept asking, and I kept saying, I’m fine, over my shoulder for the first hour. Then I started thinking, Lord, please don’t let this horse drop me in a bush somewhere and I began to admit to Greg that I thought there might be a problem. Of course, at that point, what could he do but just tell me to “hold on, we’re almost there!” Well, the Lord held me on that horse, and we finally made it to the beach. There I was able to fulfill one of my childhood dreams and actually ride along the shoreline for awhile. It was beautiful and I felt so blessed.
It wasn’t long before I had to admit to Greg that I just couldn’t go any further. I was numb from the waist down and I didn’t think I would be able to stay on the horse for the hour and a half trip back to the stables. I told him just to prop me up against a tree and come back and get me when you’re through. Luckily there was a wind surfing class going on right in front of me and it was so beautiful that I was very happy just sitting there enjoying the view. (Besides, I was finally off of that silly horse)! I remember sitting there thanking God for being so good and allowing me to be able to go horseback riding on the beach and for the beautiful world he had made for us to enjoy.
Greg, unfortunately, did not enjoy his ride back to the stables as much as I enjoyed my view. The horse, that I had been riding on, would just not be trailed and kept biting all the other horses along the way. The other riders were angry at Greg and during the whole hour and a half trip he had to listen to all their barbs and comments about how he should have never allowed his wife to try to take the trip in the first place. When they finally got close enough to the stables, the guide let my horse go so he could run back home on his own. Of course, when the stable hands saw a riderless horse come running in, they thought someone was in trouble. They quickly started to saddle up to set out to find the missing rider. Fortunately our group and guide arrived just in time to explain the situation.
Poor Greg. After enduring the venomous looks and comments for so long, he now had to get in the card and try to find the beach, and the tree, that he left me under almost two hours ago. The roads that the cars travel on are very different, in direction, from the cross country paths that the horses travel on. But Greg has a wonderful sense of direction, which I rely on, probably more that he knows. (I really admit that I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I think I was the U turn queen when I was driving my car! Like when we’d go into a store to shop, on the way out, I’d start going the wrong way and Greg would have to say “this way” to keep me headed in the right direction.) Anyway, he finally found the beach, my tree, and me. Since I had been resting all that time, the feeling had started to come back into my legs and bottom, but we were both very tired and ready to head back to our hotel. It was a good thing we hadn’t planned on going dancing that evening because Greg was also very sore from his three hour horseback ride. (Thankfully his disposition healed faster than his legs, but he still gets a little testy when I mention those two little mistakes of mine.) Still, neither one of us wanted to venture out on another tour, or do anything but stay in the pool, at the hotel, for the last two days of our vacation.