2017-04-05 / Editorials

Don Lively


What time is it, mon?

Who cares?

Let’s just call it “Island Time”.

And, what, you might ask, is island time?

Allow me to explain.

But, first, a story.

Years ago, during my first marriage, another couple invited us to go to Hawaii to celebrate both couple’s anniversaries, their 15th, and our 10th. They had been before and often raved about how wonderful the islands were. About the perfectly white beaches and the perfectly blue water and the perfectly delightful food.

About the luaus.

About the hula.

About the ukulele music.

I, being who I am, was cynical.

I told the three instigators who were trying to convince me to consider the trip that I thought we could go to Florida or California and get the same, or very similar, experience, for half the price.

Florida and California both have world class beaches.

Both have fine cuisine from multiple cultures.

Both offer top of the line tropical experiences.

Hawaii offered nothing that couldn’t be found without flying over an ocean.

Hawaii was no big deal

I was wrong.

I lost the debate and agreed to the trip.

After a six hour flight, the pilot dipped the wings to give passengers a panoramic view of what I had to admit was one of the most breathtaking sights I’d ever seen.

Still, I wasn’t quite convinced.

I kept thinking about how much the trip was costing and found it hard to relax.

Until I stepped off the plane.

I immediately smelled fragrances that were totally new to my olfactories.

I felt, and tasted, a distinctive breezy, salty air.

Along with the sounds of the balmy winds I heard gentle Polynesian string and drum music playing over unseen speakers.

Something very strange happened to my body and mind, both already feeling the hardening that comes with being a street cop for 40 plus hours a week.

Something strange and unexpected.

I instantly relaxed.

That was the first time I ever knew what it meant to be on island time.

There’s really nothing that can compare to the feeling of being surrounded by crystal clear water, some beaches being crashed by twelve foot boomers, others caressed by mild, two foot curls.

Over the years I’ve gone back to Hawaii twice more and have visited three of the Aloha State’s islands, Oahu, Kauai and Maui.

I can’t wait to go again.

Island time makes you do strange things.

Once, on a day cruise, up a freshwater river with hundreds of other passengers, for Lord knows what reason, I was the one person chosen to go to the front of the boat and dance the hula with the two beautiful island ladies. Normally I would have been mortified, but, on island time, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Another time, on a whim and a dare, I jumped from the crest of a thirty foot waterfall into the spring below. I was in my forties by then and had grown rather cautious, but, I did it, cause of island time.

And, somewhere in the world, there still exists, a picture of me and my buddy Larry, each of us dressed in nothing but grass skirts and grass headpieces, holding wooden spears, trying to look warrior fierce for the photographer. I normally don’t even like to look in the mirror at my shirtless self, much less allow my picture to be taken, but, well, you know.

I was on island time.

Island time is good for what ails you.

Brother Garth Brooks said it well;

“I’m telling you, that science has proven, that heartaches are healed by the sea.”

Might I add, so are headaches.

And backaches.

Even stomachaches.

Because, as we all know, the best way to see the sea, is from an island.

It’s not the least bit coincidental that as I scribble these words, I sit a stone’s throw from the beach, on one of the Blessed South’s prettiest islands.

Since my personal discovery of island time all those years ago, on that faraway South Pacific paradise, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time on several other islands.

Off the coast of California.

In the Caribbean.

Way out in the Gulf of Mexico.

And, my personal biggest island, the homeland of my ancients, Scotland, which has to share its water-locked land with England and Wales, obviously, not tropical like the others, but, still, an island is an island, and all are exciting, yet relaxing places to be.

Island time.

I recommend it.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin’ At The Dixie Moon, and, South O’ Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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