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 Texas : Features : Columns : "Good Day for a Story"
"Good Day for a Story"

Days of Paradise
by Jeanne Moseley

Cleaning out a closet in my parents' home, I found an old, rusted green trunk. It's not worth anything and isn't of any use, but as I opened it and looked inside, I found more than my share of wonderful memories.

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in paradise ... truly. Our apartment was just a few blocks from a beach that, even today, is recognized as one of the world's most beautiful places.

Lord knows neither one of us had ever heard of Kailua, Hawaii nor had anyone we knew. With few exceptions, we had seldom left the boundaries of Texas. And when we did leave home, it was typically just to visit a nearby southern state.

It was the beginning of December 1969 when my husband, an enlisted Marine, turned and gave me a strong, farewell hug. There wasn't a more handsome man in uniform that day, as was confirmed by the many stares he'd received as we walked hand-in-hand through Love Field airport.

Two women stood next to me as his plane left the gate. I couldn't help but notice they watched me with great care, thinking any minute I'd break down in tears. But I didn't have time. Our great adventure together was going to unfold in only 30 days ... in a place known as paradise. For me, there was still much to be done.

I finished up my job in Dallas and sifted through the many wedding gifts, all the while aware I could only take what would fit in my luggage and one green footlocker trunk. I stayed close to Mother as she dished out instructions for cooking and cleaning, and kept the postman busy with letters to my new husband.

My long flight to Honolulu was shortened by the newfound friendship of two Army wives en route for a week of "R & R" with their husbands. A few "fruit drinks" into the flight, any and all questions I had about military life were answered, and we became like sisters of a secret sorority.

I couldn't see him from the plane's window, but I knew he was there as I waited for the stairs to be rolled up against our plane. A red rose in hand, he swiftly guided me through the maze of tourists and into our car. From there we made our way to the other side of the island where we would soon begin settling in.

I'd never had the desire to draw or paint until my first day in Hawaii. As if the beauty of my husband's face wasn't enough, I'll never forget our first drive through the mountains together, and even now, I have total recall of the view from the Pali Tunnel.

At dusk, we stood on Kailua Beach watching our first Hawaiian sunset together and I asked, "Which direction do you think is home?" He took a stick and, drawing the shape of our home state in the sand, he pointed just off my right shoulder. This was just the first of many times we'd stand there, looking toward home together. Because no matter how joyful our new life or how perfect our own paradise, there was still a part of us that always longed for the flat, green pastures of Ellis County.


May, 2001
Copyright 2001 Jeanne Moseley

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