Growing up on a small Wisconsin dairy farm in the 50’s, I constantly had chores to do, among them, cropping the fields, stacking the mows, filling the cribs and silos, and the main one, milking twenty three cows twice a day. Because my dad always believed that music would keep the cows content and that they in turn would produce more milk, meant that he would play the radio with the station tuned to WGN out of Chicago. This was an am radio station with a wide assortment of music, news, and talk shows. Thus, I and the cows were treated to a wide variety of programming. Two of my favorite programs were Let’s Go Fishing and Hawaii Calls. Let’s Go Fishing, as the name implies, was a half hour show about fish and catching them. The catchy little tune they would play, totally intended that pun, has never found its way out of my brain; “Let’s go fishing, for a day and a half, and a half a day, for a day and a half a mile.” Don’t ask me why they ended it with “mile” and I will leave the melody to your imagination. The second program was entitled “Hawaii Calls”, a show that took you through the music and stories of the Hawaiian Islands. As I listened, I would imagine one day getting to go there, but to my ten-year-old self, it seemed an impossible dream.
This memory has remained so vivid to me, and I have recalled it countless times over the years. I am happy to report that sometimes the impossible dreams of our childhood do in fact come true. As I write this blog, I am sitting in the Denver Airport waiting to board our flight to Hawaii. We will be spending the next two weeks Island hopping between Kauai and Maui. I say waiting, waiting because our flight is delayed for a technical issue, hopefully one that has nothing to do with the guidance system as I really want to get where we are meant to be. If not, I fear I will have the wrong wardrobe packed. Though this is not my first trip to Hawaii; Deb, my daughters, and I made the trip in 2008, it will be looked forward to no less than my first one. This time, my wife and I are traveling with two dear friends and looking forward to a shared experience as we explore the attractions and enticements of the Islands. There will no doubt be several Mai Tai and other fruit laden cocktails mixed in with hikes, waterfalls, and dinners on the beach.
Travel has always been an integral part of who I am. It started all those years ago as I poured over my National Geographics and listened to radio programs like Hawaii Calls. During my college years It grew into trips outside my home state. Eventually, it took me both north and south of the border and even across the ocean. It has introduced me to new friends and new places. It has allowed me to experience the cultures of people very unlike me and my travels have created memories everywhere I went.
It was just a radio program that planted the seed, but now, all these years later, Hawaii actually is calling and by the way, we just got the call to board our plane.