People who say, "I've never regretted a thing," may be lying to themselves, just a little bit. Either that, or they've lived a perfect life. Who do you know who can claim that?
We brought into our home a young cat whose mission, it seems, is to seek and destroy. His name is Hoku (it means "star"), but we should have named him Kolohe (rascal). We love him, but his curious, energetic presence means minimal decorations this year, certainly nothing he can climb, claw, pull down, knock over, or pulverize.
Or eat. Which means no poinsettias. Sad.
So, yeah, we are back to baby-proofing our house for a little devil disguised as a 9-month-old kitten.
But then Ward, my husband, said, "Let's get a tree anyway! We don't have to decorate it."
The memories I have are like nuggets of gold-- the crunch of sand, hot and gritty between my toes; the caress of ocean waves warmed by the sun. Most of all, the strength of my father as he carried me on smooth, broad shoulders and walked into the sea-- deeper, deeper until he was almost fully submerged. He lowered me into the water even as I clung to him like an opihi, weightless and warm and loved.
At some point during the night you could count on some of the men to break out ukulele and sing Hawaiian songs, women and girls to jump up to dance hula. These gathering were like little luaus in drab military housing. Good fun and good for the soul.
"When I was younger and in elementary, my grandpa would always have a puakenikeni lei for my sister and I for special occasions like birthdays, graduations, and May Days. I always thought he was Hawaiian, because he was as local as they come, with a perpetual tan, pidgin as standard language, and a habit of eating onions raw with Hawaiian salt and finishing a bowl of poi with this fingers."