David Crook is my brother, friend, mentor, protector, and a superb nature photographer. He is also a retired (sort of) pastor, and in mid-October he and his daughter, Cheryl Crook Burton, flew from their respective homes in Arizona and Washington State to participate in the wedding of family friend Megan Eyraud in Connecticut. From there, he and Cheryl headed north to cover as much of New England as possible, also stopping at some of the communities where he pastored (this may not be an actual approved word, but it works) in earlier years. Now we get to benefit from his views of the changing colors of New England in 2016. There will be other posts with his photos.
What a privilege to visit Hawaii recently and connect with the place where my kids and I roamed many years ago. Back when we were all younger, Waikiki was THE place to be for sunshine, the ocean, cooing Rock Doves/Domestic Pigeons, the everywhere scents of sun tan lotion and plumeria, the soothing "feel" of warm white sand, and a sparkling blue-green ocean dotted with surfers, swimmers, and boats. On this visit we drove into a busy Waikiki where I later hunkered down on the 19th floor of an amazing hotel. I loved my time on the patio watching the ever-hopeful surfers and surf paddlers waiting (from dawn to dusk) for the next wave . . . the sweet sound of traffic carrying people to work and to play and to sightsee . . . sunrises and sunsets rich with streaming colors . . . the rich fragrance of plumeria . . . and the ever-present trade winds. I spent a good part of my visit adventuring around Oahu with my amazing friend and relative, Mary Anne Vorfeld. And other times I was off on mini-adventures, like riding the Waikiki Trolley. What fun feeling the warm wind in my hair and having a savvy driver who maneuvered the trolley through traffic and near curbs like a pro. She narrated the entire time so people could feel history come alive. Refreshing. Fun! Not so many photos, as I was busy absorbing sights and sounds and experiences. I did manage to get a few shots, including fish & chips from a restaurant in my hotel. The fish was the catch of the day, and the presentation, servers, and the food itself were breathtaking. I'm sure I didn't gain an ounce! One evening during the middle of my trip, I had just returned to my room when I heard (and saw) fireworks. Oh, right: this was the night Hawaii 50 was premiering for 2016, and the cast/crew/honored guests were celebrating on the beach near the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Thrilling fireworks for what seemed like a half hour, but who knows? Some people say, "Well, I never go to Waikiki because they say it's not like it used to be." True. But I spent a lot of time wandering around Waikiki, and loved every minute of it. Many people from different countries, different cultures, enjoying themselves. Weddings everywhere! Long white limos everywhere with VIPs and wedding parties. Hotel employees were magnificent. Busy, busy traffic, but not frantic. Courteous drivers. From people wandering around wearing swimsuits to people in formal wedding parties: there was no one "uniform." Everyone fits in - in Waikiki. Sure, it's busy, and not the place to visit if one is looking for long periods of serenity. But it's simply in a class by itself.
When doctors and conventional treatments told Rafi Eldor "no," dance told him "yes." Watch on YouTube (above)