Today, December 22nd, is our 40th wedding anniversary! If you read my preview post from two weeks ago, you know that we chose to celebrate our anniversary a little early with a trip to Hawaii. As I mentioned in that post for both our 30th anniversary trip to Atlantis and our 35thanniversary trip to Paris, we encountered a bit of a surprise. Turns out this trip was no exception as we were in for another surprise—we both got sick.
A couple of weeks before we left, I woke up one morning feeling one of my semi-annual sinus infections coming on (I always seem to get these around the holidays when our weather is changing dramatically). These typically start off with a sore throat in the morning, some nasal congestion, and a bit of coughing. Sometimes, after a few days, I go to the doctor, get some sort of medication (either an antibiotic or a sinus cocktail shot) and get well in about ten days. Other times, I skip the doctor, suffer through it, and get well in about ten days. Fortunately, this time knowing we were traveling soon, I quickly started with a daily nasal rinse and after just three days, it was gone. I felt like I had dodged a bullet.
For our trip to Hawaii, we first stopped in Seattle to help our daughter following her surgery. Her surgery went well, and we the spent the next several days having fun with our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons. The weather was definitely colder and damper in Seattle than in Memphis but since I had dodged the bullet previously, I never considered my illness might return.
But the day before we were to fly off to Honolulu, I noticed a bit of a sore throat and an occasional cough so that night after we checked into our hotel by the airport, I decided to get a little “sore throat” treatment before retiring for the night.
On our flight the next day, my sore throat definitely worsened but fortunately I found some medicated throat lozenges in my Dopp kit (obviously from a previous illness) such that I was all smiles upon our arrival.
After checking into our hotel, I procured some additional “sore throat” treatments as my wife was now having some symptoms as well (I’m afraid I infected her).
Over the next couple of days as we explored our island paradise, I hoped that returning to much warmer weather would cure me of my ailments. But for both of us, as we seemed to get worse, it was just a matter of who suggested first that we visit a doctor. It definitely brought back memories of one of the enduring pledges from our wedding vows 40 years earlier; “…in sickness and in health…”.
So, on our third day, rather than hiking up to the top of Diamond Head as planned, the ancient volcanic crater visible from our hotel balcony, we hiked over to one of those minor emergency clinics. Sure enough, we were both diagnosed with upper respiratory infections. Although usually caused by a virus, we were both given an antibiotic, possibly just to make us feel better that we were doing something to get well.
While being somewhat under the weather definitely put a damper on our trip, it in no way ruined our trip. We still got to do almost all of the things we had hoped to do plus an additional one that we had not planned but which added a special frosting to our celebration—renewing our wedding vows on the beach!
In researching possible hotels for our trip, my wife discovered that the hotel we would be staying at offered a Hawaiian Vow Renewal Ceremony.
So, at our first morning breakfast overlooking the beach and ocean, when I saw a couple renewing their vows down below us and my wife told me our hotel offered this, I suggested that we do also.
Therefore, one of the first excursions that day was to buy some appropriate attire for the ceremony since we had only packed very causal clothes. Whether it was the medicine we had for our ailment or the knowledge that we would be capping off our trip with this special ceremony, we both got much better over the next few days.
The night before the ceremony, we decided to have a “rehearsal dinner” of sorts. My wife suggested for our venue, the House Without a Key, one of the most iconic restaurants in Waikiki, immortalized in 1925 in the first Charlie Chan book of the same name.
We had a very special and delicious dinner overlooking the ocean watching the sun set on the horizon as we talked about some of our memories from our honeymoon so many years ago.
The next day, we showed up early for the photographer to get some pre-ceremony photos.
The officiant then explained what all we would be doing. As a part of the ceremony, we were encouraged to exchange something with each other, and we chose to exchange our wedding rings along with Hawaiian leis.
These received a special sprinkling of water to preserve our love everlasting.
There was song and dance to celebrate the event and then came the reciting of our vows. As I recited mine, I found myself choking up a bit and my eyes tearing up from sheer joy as I stood on this most beautiful spot overlooking the ocean not long after sunrise, renewing my wedding vows with this wonderful woman whom I have loved for over 40 years.
Then came the Hawaiian kiss, much different than a traditional one, where our forehead and nose are just touching as we share our inner breath.
It was an absolutely beautiful and fulfilling experience, a very special cap to our 40th anniversary celebration.
As I captured one last reminder of the view from our hotel room on our final day in Hawaii, I reflected back over what an amazing trip it had been. While it is always sad for an exciting trip to come to an end, I knew we had created wonderful lifelong memories to carry with us (ones which I will share in a future post). I know we will look back on this celebration of our anniversary as the best we have ever had, at least that is until another one somehow exceeds this one, which will be a pretty tall order given how fabulous this one was!