The Full Suburban: Hawaii for our 20th anniversary was a Class A experience


For the last part of my November columns about things I’m grateful for (because it’s all ingratitude from now on!), I’m writing about a matter of course: the fact that Logan and I recently had a vacation – just the two of us – to Hawaii.

My parents went on a trip to Hawaii when I was a kid, and when they returned tanned and relaxed they promised my brothers and me that one day they would take us there.

I took them at their word and longed to visit a tropical paradise for years, but for various reasons (including cancer) they never kept that promise.

Hawaii has been my white whale for decades; I’ve managed to tour Europe, Central America, the Middle East and even the exotic Lethbridge in Canada. But for some reason I could never go to Hawaii.

And then, in 2019, Southwest Airlines started flying to the islands, which coincided well with the fact that we have a Southwest credit card that has accumulated roughly five billion travel points. Suddenly my long-awaited journey seemed achievable.

Since this was our 20th anniversary year, Logan and I decided it was now or never. We added up our points, bought tickets to Oahu and started packing our bags. Okay, actually we tormented ourselves about it for weeks, then bought our tickets and then started packing our bags five hours before leaving. That’s how we roll.

If you’ve traveled with Southwest Airlines, you know they use a system of “boarding groups” which is a first-come, first-serve method of determining who is the earliest to check-in on the flight. If you get on boarding group A, you are as good as guaranteed a seat next to your darling and an unobstructed view through an airplane wing.

But if you’re in boarding group C, you might as well say sayonara to anyone you’re traveling with and sit in the middle seat right across from the toilet at the very back of the plane because that’s where you’re sure to be sit for the next 5 to 7 hours.

Boarding with the sad saps in boarding group C is no stranger to us, but we have managed to get coveted A positions for our flights to Hawaii. I knew it was going to be the most romantic trip of my life when we sat down in an empty three-seater seat and Logan leaned over the empty center seat to whisper something in my ear.

“I’ll look at my cell phone and pretend I don’t know you,” he hissed, igniting my heart. I knew what he was getting at, of course: if it looked like we didn’t know each other, passengers would be less likely to ask us to push ourselves together to take the remaining space. Being in love is one thing; Having enough freedom of movement on a 5-hour flight is something completely different.

We continued this romantic arc for the remainder of our journey, doing such bonding activities as stuffing ourselves with shaving ice every day; mutual application of sunscreen on the bald head (Logan) and overly freckled shoulders (me); and work together to manually close the broken windows on our rental car every time we’ve parked.

I proved my true colors on one of the last days of our trip when Logan and I were on one of Oahu’s many beautiful beaches, rocking, chatting and laughing in the water. Suddenly a dark figure appeared between our floating legs which, if you know me, is one of my worst number 1 nightmares: shark attack! We will all die!

“What is that ?! What is that ?!” I kept screeching and rushing behind Logan, exposing him to the unknown creature alone. As it swam lazily away, we discovered that it was just a friendly sea turtle that only came by to say, “You are a terrible woman. I’ll tell the sharks. “

Nothing says “Happy 20th Anniversary” like offering your spouse to be eaten for you. And nothing says “I love you” more than laughing at it and getting another shaving ice cream.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in the Spokane Valley. She can be reached at [email protected].


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