Hawaiian Cruising & Golf Adventure

by Bob Sparrow

View from our room at Hylton Hawaiian Village Hotel

I’m coming to you this week from Hawaii.  Linda and I, along with long-time friends and neighbors, Mark & Kathy Johnson, departed for our 50th state on July 4th.  We are on a ‘golf cruise’, called Golf Ahoy on Norwegian Cruise Line; the cruise includes time in Waikiki and golf on Maui, The Big Island and Kauai.

We arrived on Oahu on the afternoon of July 4th, and headed to the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach, where we caught some Independence Day fireworks.  It was the first time Linda and I had spent any time on Oahu since our honeymoon nearly 45 years ago.  We enjoyed a great 4th of July dinner at Aoki Teppanyaki, with a most talented and humorous chef, then stopped at the Tapa Bar for a night cap, which is conveniently located crawling distance to the elevator to our room on the 14th floor.

Friday morning Linda and I were picked up for our tour of Pearl Habor (the Johnson had already been there, done that).  As expected, it was an informative and moving experience, starting with our bus driver/tour guide, who was full of amazing facts surrounding the events leading up to the Japanese surprise attack.  Once on-site, we saw a short movie on Pearl Harbor, toured the museum, and then I went on a separate tour on site (Linda’s claustrophobia prevented her from joining me) that was of the USS Bowfin, a submarine stationed in the Pacific during WW II that sunk 44 enemy vessels – amazing how tight those quarters were!  We then got on a boat and went out to the Arizona Memorial.  You only get to spend about 15 minutes at the memorial, where 1,177 men are interned in the Arizona, where you can still see oil leaking up to the surface.  An interesting fact is that 25 crew members of the Arizona that survived the war and have since died, asked that their remains be taken back to the USS Arizona, where they can join their fellow crew members.

USS Arizona

In the afternoon Linda and I went to the Hale Koa Hotel, a military hotel right on the beach where I could show my Veterans ID card and get a discount on our lunch and drinks.

Friday night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Bali Oceanfront restaurant, noted for it’s great steak and seafood, where, during the middle of our dinner, we left our table and went outside on the beach to watch the five minute ‘Every Friday Night Fireworks’ on Waikiki.  Awesome!!!

Yes, Waikiki was a little crowded on this holiday weekend, maybe a lot crowded, but it’s easy to see why, it’s amazing!!  I don’t know how many times I said, “I love Hawaii’, but I love the people, I love the vegetation, I love the weather, I love the sunsets, I love the tropical drinks, I love the feel, I just love Hawaii.  I know Linda gets tired of hearing it, but . . . it just gets me!  And I get it!

Saturday morning, we had time for a nice breakfast, I had to haave the macadamia nut/banana pancakes; we were then picked up and taken to the ship, the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ‘Pride of America’ to start our Hawaii-Golf adventure – and with my game, it’s always an adventure!  All Aboard and stay tuned!!

Bali Oceanfront Restaurant – Waikiki

Waikiki Beach fireworks

NCL Pride of America




by Bob Sparrow

1919 – 2013  First, let me thank all those who sent their condolences to our family for the passing of our mother; she was an iconic lady who, with our Dad, created an incredibly close and loving family. Sister Suzanne did a great job of writing a fitting tribute last week, as well as the accompanying obituary. As we went through our mother’s effects at her apartment in Sonoma, I was struck by all the things she experienced and the changes that she saw during a life spanning nearly 94 years.

Woodrow WilsonShe was born in 1919, only three months after the end of ‘The Great War’ – it wasn’t called World War I until we had another World War and started ascribing Roman numerals to them.  Let’s hope we see no more Roman numerals. Woodrow Wilson was president – she had seen 17 different presidents in her life, well, not ‘seen’ them, but . . . you know what I mean. The unusual thing about Wilson’s election was that he was the only presidential candidate to run against two previous presidents, incumbent, William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt who was president before Taft and wanted to try it again – Wilson beat them both.  Old ‘Woody’ got elected to a second term promising to keep us out of war, which he didn’t – hard to believe that a politician wouldn’t keep his word. 

Mom was born a month after the ratification of the 18th amendment – that’s the one that prohibited the consumption of alcohol. It wasn’t appealed until she was 24, at which time she immediately went out and ordered a Gin Rickey – a popular ‘highball’ at the time. A year after she was prohibitionborn, the 19thamendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified; never mind that it was introduced into congress in 1878, so it only took 42 years to get through that bureaucratic ‘good ole boy’s club’ – and you thought we have a ‘do nothing’ congress today. OK, we do. And speaking of ‘tools’, the toaster was invented in 1920, but sliced bread wasn’t created until 1928, which makes one wonder what they put in those new toasters.

model T Railroads were still the most common way to get around, but Henry Ford was changing that with the introduction of the Model T in 1908.  In 1919 you could buy one for about $350 – a goodly sum of money in those days. The Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk took place only 16 years before mom was born and the very first commercial flight in the US took place only 5 years before. It’s mind-boggling to think that mom could have met both Orville Wright and Neil Armstrong.

College football’s top team in 1919 was, are you ready for this? Harvard. There was no NFL or NBA; hockey did play for the Stanley Cup, although they didn’t play for it in 1919 due to a flu epidemic.  People spent their leisure time roller skating, playing pool, dancing or going to the movies.

Mom probably went to the movies before she was 8, if so, they were silent movies; ‘talkies’ didn’t happened until 1927. Vaudeville was still a popular form of entertainment and as a teenager I’m sure mom didn’t talk on the phone much, OK not at all; telephones were very expensive anddepression not even available in rural areas; most folks still relied on the telegraph to get a message to someone.

Mom was raised in the ‘Roaring 20s’, lived through the Great Depression, traveled from Marin County to San Francisco on a ferry since the Golden Gate Bridge wasn’t built until she was 18.  She was married with a 5 month old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

gin rickeyNo wonder mom used to just shake her head when she’d see a ‘smartphone’, a self-parking car or a wireless printer, about the only thing that hadn’t changed over the years was the Gin Rickey and maybe that’s why she loved them; it took her back to a simpler time and reminded her of all that she had experienced in a lifetime full of wonder. She did live in interesting times.



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