|Suzy & Moe Krabbe with Susan Neumann|
It is dark and gloomy outside today with rain coming down and leaves gusting down the driveway. It is days like this that make those special days we recently spent on the big island of Hawaii so memorable.
We were lucky to get away for a few days to Hawaii with our good friends, Susan & Gary Neumann, Suzy & Moe Krabbe and Diane & Gordon Kuenster. I couldn’t wait to get there and have the opportunity to play a few games of golf with friends. But first, we had to actually get there.
|l-r: Gordon Kuenster, Ken Hatch, Diane Kuenster,
Cathi Hatch, Suzy Krabbe, Moe Krabbe, Susan Neumann
|Ken Hatch & Diane Kuenster|
We arrived at the airport early on the day of our departure and since we knew we were under no pressure, made our way leisurely to the gate after clearing security, stopping for a snack and a drink before boarding. It was about half an hour before the scheduled departure that we headed towards our gate. As we were walking toward our specified gate, I noticed that the door appeared to be closed and didn’t see anyone in the waiting area which immediately rang an alarm bell in my mind. I left Ken behind and dashed down to the desk, to be told that the Alaska Airlines flight had boarded early and that they would not re-open the doors so we could board. We were passed from supervisor to supervisor (all the while the plane is still sitting at the gate) and told over and over again that there was nothing they could do, but that perhaps if we wanted to pay another $1,100 per person, we could be routed through Los Angeles and make it there late the same day on American Airlines.
|Ken Hatch, Diane & Gordon Kuenster and Susan Neumann
drinking Mai Tais in the hot tub.
Finally, shortly after Ken had been threatened by the desk agent that the police would be called to remove him (he was a “little” verbal I do have to admit), a wonderful supervisor by the name of Pavel took over, admitted that we had been given boarding passes that morning with a time listed that did not reflect their earlier boarding time and suddenly everything was handled and we were booked on the alternate flights with no additional expense. It still wasn’t a pleasant experience since it added hours to our day and Ken had to fly in the center coach seat from Seattle to LA on an Alaska Airlines flight and then again in the center seat on the very tight and narrow American Airlines coach seat from LA to Kona, but at least we got there.
|Gary Neumann and Moe Krabbe|
Everything started looking much better when our host, Gary Neumann, arrived at the airport to pick us up so we could join the rest of the party which was already well underway. The other good news was that our bags and golf clubs (which did make the original flight) had already been picked up by our good friend, Moe (though we did hear numerous complaints about the weight and size of our luggage for several days following).
We arrived at the Neumann house just up the hill from the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel where the rest of our friends and new friends, Connie Irons and Jim Malernee, and the remains of a Chinese food feast were waiting for us.
|Diane distributing prizes.|
The next day dawned and we were off to play golf at Mauna Lani Golf Resort. It was a beautiful day and though my golf was not stellar (how many times do I have to three-putt!?), I loved it. We got home in time to enjoy the swimming pool and hot tub at the Neumann’s home with hors d’oeuvres and Mai Tais. And then the next day we played at Hapuna Golf Course, where again I had a wonderful time playing with the girls. That day my putting was much better and I mostly two-putted the entire round. Hooray!
Over dinner that evening, it was great fun as Diane presented prizes and awards to each of us from a big blue Tiffany bag. I received several prizes including sparkly golf socks, a golf notepad and a sparkly visor clip, but I cannot remember what my golf achievements were and why I won. Loved the prizes though!
|Susan and Cathi with work by artist,
On Tuesday, only the men played golf while the women went grocery shopping and visited an art gallery in Waimea where we especially enjoyed seeing the artist Madge Tennent’s work before heading to the beach at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for a few hours. While we were attempting to ride the waves, we were fascinated to see a huge sea turtle that had come very close to the shore.
|Susan admires her new golf glove prize.|
It was election day and we wanted to be home in front of the TV in time for the returns to begin coming in. We had invited Barb & Dale Rasmussen to join us for pizza and the election returns. Since we were a mixed group of liberals and conservatives, as the election results were announced, half of our group was happy while the other half was depressed and sad.
|Kukio Golf Course|
The next day was beautiful weather once again and we were delighted as guests of Connie to get to play at the Tom Fazio-designed Kukio Golf Course, a course considered to be one of the two best courses on the big island. The fairway grass was a special type of grass that can also use saltwater as part of the irrigation and was cropped the shortest I have ever experienced, so I felt like a star since my balled rolled so far after each shot! My ball was also attracted to the many sand traps and bunkers inconveniently placed in key areas on the course. On one hole, all four of us were in the same sand bunker. We just finished the 18th hole as the sun was setting. Each of our group also loved the Kukio personalized wooden golf bag tags that Connie had ordered for each of us.
|At the end of the Kukio round.|
Sadly, the following day, it was time to go home so we packed and headed to the airport with Moe and Suzy. We were determined not to miss this flight! However, since there was an equipment problem with one of the security portals, everyone was being funneled into only one line so we actually came a little too close to missing our flight once again when Ken’s titanium replacement knee set off the metal detector and he had to take off his shoes and belt and was practically strip-searched before we were finally allowed to proceed to our flight. Happily, we made it just in time and were able to relax and enjoy our return trip home. Phew!
What a wonderful vacation!