When I was 7, my parents took the family to Walt Disney World. It was a trip that would make a huge impact on my future. I think it was magical in more than just a Mickey Mouse kinda way.
We stayed at “The Polynesian” resort. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Every color and shape and sound was a world away from New Jersey. The faces of the tikis were smiling or frowning or yelling at me around every corner. Ahhh, the Luau under the stars with the hula dancers and fire twirlers. The drinks that came in real pineapples! The sound of the breeze thru the palms and the light thru the fronds and the smell of the flowers. The shirts worn by everyone at the resort. And ohhhhh….. the music.
It is family legend – what the effect the ride “It’s a Small World” had on me. “Can we ride that again?” and again..and again…. Mom and my brother, Ralph had to get off the boat and my Dad rode on ’til he couldn’t take the song anymore. – I still thrill as that little boat rounds the corner into “Polynesia”. The hula dancers- the tropical birds and animals – the volcano. It was all I could do to not hop out of the boat and scramble up to hula with Mary Blair’s hula dolls.
This experience was carved into my Consciousness like the tikis were carved into tree trunks. It’s a permanent sense memory of the feeling of being in paradise.
I knew then, as I took my allowance money to the gift shop to buy a hula nodder and some Mickey and Minnie figurines, that I must find this “Polynesia” place. I must go there. I promise.
I am now 41. I have taken up the ukulele. I have surrounded my backyard with tikis. I have many Aloha shirts. I listen to Hawaiian music a lot. I have a box of 1000 colorful tropical drink umbrellas to stick into my assorted tiki mugs. If I find a tiki bar still around….. well, you should see how happy I am.
Happy as a 7 year old.
The plan is in effect. The wait has been too long. Such a big trip, the travel, the money, the time off….. it’s been a lot of reasons to not go.
I will not break this promise to myself.
Hawaii or BUST!