On a quiet snow-lined street in industrial Flint, Michigan, passersby might not have suspected that inside the little white house with the Buick in the driveway, a wild hula party was happening. My grandparents, Bertha and Johnnie, were crazy in love with each other – and Hawaii. They’d taken many memorable trips to the Pacific islands, and on wintry days in their sunny home, they’d lower the record player needle onto a Don Ho record.
Within moments, Don’s rich romantic tones would transform the space. Wearing pretty flowered leis, we would sway our hips to the music and dance with ridiculous rhythm. Grandma and Grandpa would put on a show for us, and Don would sing. “Tiny bubbles, in the wine; Make me feel happy, Ah, they make me feel fine.”
My grandparents, my cousins and I sipped tiny bubbles of Vernor’s ginger ale. But the best reward, the most special treat of all, were the crunchy, salty, buttery delicious macadamia nuts we’d nibble ever so
slowly while Don Ho sang about love and life in the Hawaiian paradise he called home.
In the cold Michigan winter, with tunes drifting by like warm, ocean waves, my grandparents took us on vacation and shared the treats they’d brought back home to remind them of happy times in their Hawaiian paradise.
With a bit of mood music and just a touch of exotic foods, every day can feel like vacation if you let it. Bring back a great memory by eating something delicious.