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Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Under the Chinaberry Tree

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The Sound of Texas

Monday, April 8
Fran Houser Adrian Midway Cafe
Tuesday, April 9
Peter Avila San Benito Conjunto Museum
Wednesday, April 10
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Thursday, April 11
Dorinda Millan Pecos Museum
Friday, April 12
Troy Grusendorf Brownwood Harmonica
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by Tumbleweed Smith

There were ten of us in a beautiful place. We chose Hilton’s Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii for our annual family reunion. Our two sons and their families had separate condos. Susan and I stayed in the hotel.

It is indeed a village. A small shopping center a few blocks down the shady boulevard has restaurants and stores and a stage where we saw a demonstration of hula dancing.

The flight from Dallas to Kona took seven hours. Two movies helped pass the time. We arrived around 8 PM. At 8:02 our three-year-old grandson Caleb was in his bathing suit ready to hit the pool. So we did. The swimming complex at his condo had a special pool for children and a larger one for adults. The water temperature was perfect. Caleb loved it.

The next day everybody came to the hotel and explored the grounds. It has three residence towers (Lagoon, Palace and Ocean) and a convention center. It also has about a dozen restaurants and bars, a flamingo sanctuary, a Dolphin Learning Center, an aviary for the state bird (the Nene) and spectacular gardens, kopi ponds and lawns throughout the complex. Tall palm trees sway in the constant tropical breeze. The three swimming pools have waterfalls, beaches, slides and a sandy bottom pool for youngsters. To get from one place to another you can take a boat or a tram. They both come by your stop every ten minutes.

When you consider that the entire island is made of lava, it takes plenty of vision to imagine a world-class resort on a bunch of porous rocks or slabs of molten lava. Tons and tons of topsoil had to be imported. The resort took 26 months to build at a cost of 360 million dollars. It was finished in 1986.

Although the Big Island has many interesting things to do and places to see, we stayed around the resort most of the time. My sons Kevin and BZ and my 16-year-old grandson Jackson went snorkeling one day at a state park beach a few miles down the road. Susan and I, along with BZ, his wife Margaret and their sons, four-year-old Max and 19-month-old Aiden went for a ride on a glass bottom boat and saw all sorts of colorful fish and reefs. We took Jackson to see the Mauna Loa volcano. On the way, we stopped at a coffee plantation. We explored some petroglyphs just down the road from the resort.

We headquartered at Kevin and Jill’s condo. That’s where we had most of our meals. The first full day the girls made a grocery run to Waimea, a small town twenty minutes away with good grocery stores.

It was an idyllic time. Our three youngest grandsons got to laugh and play and make memories. All three families got to visit each other away from work or any special holiday. We put on leis and had our picture made. We’re all wondering where we’ll get together next year.

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