41 years ago today I fell in love with and married a beautiful young South African girl by the name of Claudette Comrie. We had met just months before in front of the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki as she was literally just getting off the bus coming from the airport on her first-ever trip to Hawaii. My occupation at the time was operating a pedicab in Waikiki, peddling tourists around, showing them the various sites, and in general acting as a local tour guide. It was early evening and I was waiting in front of the hotel soliciting rides from the arriving travelers when she disembarked from the bus.
While her first response to my pedicab ride solicitation was an emphatic “no”, later in the evening when by chance I ran into her again and asked her a second time, she said, “maybe later.”
As the reader of this missive has by now figured out “later” came soon enough, my lovely South African bride-to-be climbed onto my humble pedicab, I took her on a tour of Waikiki, we had a whirlwind romance, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Neither of us of course knew what the future would hold. We had known each other for less than 6 months when we were married in Durban’s Old Fort Chapel and then returned to Hawaii and Kauai after spending several months backpacking around Southern Europe and Israel.
The past 40 years have been an exhilarating ride. Though there have been ups and downs and occasionally times of great stress, our life journey has been truly extraordinary.
We have two incredible children, Dylan and Kelli-Rose both of whom have married exceptional partners, Leeona and Justin. And we have two totally awesome grandchildren, Rixon and Isabella.
Together, we have traveled the world and experienced places and events many only read and dream about. My work in public service has been incredibly fulfilling and I know Claudette greatly enjoyed the career she chose with United Airlines (and has recently retired from).
While 41 years may seem to many like a very long time ago, it feels at the moment that it was only yesterday that I was smitten by that beautiful young girl with a funny accent getting off that bus in Waikiki.
*Note – I have edited this slightly from prior versions to reflect the new anniversary dates. My intent is to write soon “the next chapter” which tells how we first came to Kauai…and the experiences of the past 40 years.