The Key to a Hidden Secret
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written by Laramie:
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          I was in San Diego a week ago last Thursday night where my son lives, when the power went out for several hours. The blackout was in effect all the way into Mexico. It was eerie looking out from the balcony where we usually saw the big jets take off and land and at night the lights glowing on the aircraft carrier Midway down in the bay. Now all was quiet, and especially dark. Only a few generator fed lights could be seen in the airport area. My family and I were preparing to catch a flight to Kauai, Hawaii the next morning, so we called the airline and they were unsure of whether the flight would be on time the next day or not, as all flights were cancelled up to that point. So we went to sleep that night very edgy over what might happen. Would we lose out on the money for the flight and our hotel reservations in Hawaii? Would we have to just turn around and go back home to Palm Desert if the flight was cancelled? As fate would have it, good news the next morning! The lights were on so we were able to get on the plane as scheduled. And after the usual 5 or so hour flight we arrived safely and checked into our hotel, weary of the San Diego experience and ready for 10 days of fun in the sun and surf. A little while later, fate had a slight change of mood. The power went out in the hotel. It didn't last long, but it sure was a spooky feeling. The next day, while all of us were riding in the elevator, the doors got jammed and some of us barely made it out into the hallway before it got stuck between floors. Things didn't seem to be going our way so far in the magical, tropical island. Then to top it off, turns out the swimming pool was being resurfaced and so was closed, and the hotel was to be painted during our 10 day stay. It was getting kind of crazy at this point. None of this, of course, bothered the newly appointed unofficial Hawaii state bird and alarm clock: the rooster. There were hundreds of them running all over the place, baby chicks and all. They were in the restaurants, on the beach, in the hotel lobby. After a few days of this, we would lie in bed in the morning and wait for the crowing that told us a new day was ready to break, and it was time to get on the move and spend another day in paradise. You can't let little things like blackouts, stalled elevators, and loud roosters spoil a nice vacation.
           Things have changed in the Islands. My wife and I first visited Hawaii in 1979 when it was relatively peaceful, at least on Kauai. Now it's beginning to look a bit like a fast growing island with building and construction taking place on so many streets, all in the name of progress. And the new security measures in the local airport are time consuming and a little invasive. But this seems a small price to pay to do as much as can be done about potential terrorist activity in our country. Nevertheless it's still a total change of pace from Southern California, tall coconut palms swaying, cooling trade winds all day long, warm water to swim in, and some of the most beautiful sunsets on Earth. The beaches are lined with photographers every night, some romantic couples holding hands, slightly embracing as the Sun sinks below the sea, sometimes hidden behind low clouds. But even then the picture is breathtaking and you never get tired of the spectacle. Hopefully we'll return to the islands soon, where....

From atop a seaside cliff one day
On an island shore so far away,
I watched sea turtles in apparent play
Aimlessly drifting in a tranquil bay.

Kiahuna! Kiahuna!
Rainy island where I long to stay.
Leave your cares there on the mainland,
Take your joy and fly away.

The wide Pacific calls me,
To the place where peace is free,
Where days are long and sunny,
 And it's there I long to be.
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