Travel Theme: New—Hawaiian Marriage Proposal

The idea of ‘new’ can mean so many things. In this case, it refers to new beginnings and a new commitment (and lots of new paperwork) when two people who are best friends decide to take that extra step. Thank you, Ailsa at Where’s my backpack?, for such a perfect New Year’s theme.

Jack and Jill by the seaplane

Jack and Jill by the seaplane

Jack and Jill had been a couple for almost seventeen years and had shared many wonderful times—travels to exotic places, sunset walks on the beach, cooking meals and watching football games together, long talks, and even—when Jill could persuade Jack, which was rare—going dancing.

They’d also tackled their share of difficulties, but no matter the circumstances, they’d always been there for each other—as confidante, coach, cheerleader, Florence Nightingale, and general support system.

So in the fall of 2012, Jack planned a surprise for Jill. She plagued him with questions, trying to trick him into revealing even miniscule hints about this surprise, but he was resolute (and, if truth be told, enjoying the game). The only clues he would divulge, which weren’t really clues at all, were that she should take two cameras and that the setting would be outdoors.

At 2:15pm on December 22, they set out, driving west. Just before they reached the Honolulu airport, Jack turned down a road that led to an industrial area by the ocean. This was quite puzzling because Jill knew the area. It was mainly used for airfreight services such as FedEx and UPS. As they passed FedEx on the right, Jack turned into a driveway on the left that Jill had never noticed before. And there it was, adjacent to the ocean—a little office, hidden by a hedge, bearing the sign, Island Seaplane Service.

Now she knew—they were going for a ride on a seaplane. Jill had flown on small planes before but never a seaplane. A new adventure. She was delighted.

Inside the office, Jack checked in, then disappeared for a few minutes. He came back carrying a cardboard box, and Jill could see a bouquet of yellow roses—her favorite—peeking out of the top. How sweet, she thought.

Jill was so surprised and overwhelmed by all this, she barely noticed the three TSA security guards until she was told, “You can’t take your camera bag on the flight.” And there were more rules—cameras were allowed but the straps were not and had to come off. While Jill attended to this task, Jack engaged in a serious, hushed discussion with the three security guards who refused to let him take the box containing the flowers on board.

As it turned out, President Obama was in town (Jill didn’t know because she’d been too busy to watch the news in recent days). That’s why the guards were there. That’s why the heightened security. But roses—a security threat? The guards did eventually relent, and after checking the contents of pockets, plus a thorough pat down and wanding (the zipper on Jill’s cargo pants caused a “beep” and had to be investigated), Jack and Jill were allowed onto the floating dock next to which the seaplane awaited, its pontoons bobbing on the water.

The guards followed them, watching for suspicious activity, Jill suspected. One guard offered to take a photo of them together in front of the plane. Then they climbed aboard, Jack in the back seat with his box and one camera, Jill in the fold-out seat in front of Jack so she could have the flexibility to take photos from either side (Jack’s idea because he was accustomed to Jill’s obsession with photography).

After fastening seat belts, they all donned headsets so that Jack and Jill could hear the pilot talking to them during the tour. It would take about five minutes, he told them, to taxi out to the take-off spot.

And that’s when Jack made his move. Out of the box he took an exquisite lei—a garland of perfumed tuberose interlaced with golden royal ilima flowers—and placed it around Jill’s neck. Then, before Jill knew what was happening, he handed her a letter. It read, in part, “I cannot imagine being without you. I would like to share the rest of my life with you. Jill, will you marry me.”

The headphones made it impossible for Jack and Jill to talk to each other, but she turned around and took his hand, squeezing it and nodding vigorously. But Jack wasn’t done. He reached into the box again and pulled out a necklace—a double strand of deep-green jade stones—and fastened it around her neck. She wanted to throw her arms around him and kiss him almost more than she could bear, but again she squeezed his hand and held on tight while the little plane lifted off effortlessly into the Hawaiian sky.

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At first they flew east, the high-rise office buildings of the city glistening below them in the afternoon sun, the deep blue of Honolulu Harbor, the green-roofed Aloha Tower Marketplace sitting aside its namesake ten-story clock tower—once the tallest building in the state and still a beacon welcoming ships into the harbor.

Then came Waikiki. From this vantage point, how azure and enticing the ocean looked as it flowed over coral reefs and onto the most famous strip of beach in the world.

Earlier, the pilot had told them they would circumnavigate Diamond Head for a good view of the storied peak, even though it meant veering slightly off the approved course. But at his attempt, the radio crackled and a voice said, “Are you familiar with the blue line?” meaning, ‘get back on course!’ Air-traffic officials were allowing no deviation today, so the pilot turned around and headed back the way they had come.

Still, there was more to see. Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, its worn volcanic crater rising from the congested city like the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, seemed deserted, although the next day it would be overflowing with a thousand guests—including the President—attending memorial services for the late Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, a decorated WWII veteran and until a week earlier, at his death, a powerful force in Washington and third in line for the Presidency.

When they reached Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial came into view, its white frame spanning the sunken ship below. It, too, was eerily deserted, its flag at half-mast in honor of Senator Inouye.

At Hickam airfield, the pilot pointed out Air Force One on the tarmac. Nearby, an orderly array of eight fighter jets appeared, with space for a ninth. Was one jet in the air at all times? Patrolling the coast while the President was on island? Ready to shoot down any plane, even a tiny seaplane, that veered off course? A chilling thought.

From there, the pilot headed inland, over Oahu’s elevated central plain with its quilted acres of pineapple fields, coffee and cacao plantations, alongside the island’s western mountain range and across a deep rift in the earth known as Kipapa Gulch, to the North Shore, where winter waves can reach heights of 25-plus feet, drawing surfing competitions and crowds that often bring the two-lane shoreline road to a standstill.

At the edge of sunshine, a wind farm appeared, and beyond it, a rain squall. The pilot ventured a little closer to the island’s northwestern tip, edging out to sea to avoid the inclement weather, and then turning back (they couldn’t continue around the island because, with the President in residence at his Kailua vacation compound, a ten-mile, no-fly zone was in effect).

The partnership of sun and rain must have known what this day meant, though, because it conspired to bestow upon Jack and Jill a blessing in the form of a rainbow before whispering farewell.

Too soon the southern shore came into view, and the pilot landed on the tranquil waters of Keehi Lagoon with a gentle rapid-fire series of smacks rather than the usual rubber-wheel-on-concrete thud. The proposal ride was over. The TSA guards said their goodbyes and left.

And Jack revealed to Jill why he’d been allowed to bring the box on board: He’d confided to the guards that he planned to propose, they made the call, and the Secret Service had given its permission.

His high-flying, Secret-Service-approved proposal accepted, Jack got the “yes” hug and kiss he was waiting for.

A spring ceremony is planned.

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Categories: Hawaii, Love & Romance, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

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53 thoughts on “Travel Theme: New—Hawaiian Marriage Proposal

  1. Pingback: Cactus Bud | Four Deer Oak

  2. Sharon Griffin

    Great story and I’m impressed that Jack is such a romantic!

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Sharon, and yes, he has his moments :) I think it has something to do with his excellent family background.

  3. A new adventure to start a new phase of the adventure of life – soooo romantic :). Best wishes to Jack and Jill :)

  4. How romantic. :) Thank you for sharing!

  5. Beyond romantic! And thanks for thinking of sharing with us in photos! Here’s to another 17 glorious years to be renewed again for another 17.

  6. Great, Wonderful and Romantic! May God bless your union!

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  7. Love it! Perfect for our “beginnings” theme at WSS. And just a good, uplifting, happy read for any time! Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome, Gerry. I’m so glad I could contribute. There are so many great “beginnings” in our lives, but this one happened to come along at just the appropriate time.

  8. This story brought tears to my eyes Jennifer…wow

    • Awwww, Jo, now I’m starting to tear up. Now that I’ve told you all about it and the excitement of the adventure is fading, I think the emotion is really starting to hit me.

    • Haha! Yes, he has a brother. Happily married, though, 3 kids, 7 grandkids :) They were wondering if Jack would EVER bite the bullet :)

  9. Such a romantic and wonderful story! Thank you for sharing and making a good start of this day!

  10. How lovely – brought a tear to my eye! Many congratulation to J&J :)

  11. Love it!!!!

    • Thanks, Cindy. It was pretty “cool,” “rad,” or the latest word for awesome: “sick” (which absolutely nonplusses me), wasn’t it.

  12. Jennifer, I am dense. This was you? Omigod! What a proposal!! MIne was sitting on a low brick wall in Reading with the cars whizzing by! I should have held out for more!

    • Dear Kate, I can neither confirm nor deny :) but I have it on good authority that Jill told Jack that if he ever got around to proposing (he had been hinting), she wanted something creative and different. Sometimes you have to, as they say, take the bull by the horns :)

      • I can just picture that low brick wall in Reading :). There are different levels of proposals for different ages, aren’t there. Jack was way past the first several levels, so, much was expected of him. Plus, there’s always the possibility of a vow renewal with a brand new proposal appropriate to the current level :)

  13. And also, congratulations!!

  14. What a lovely way to start a long journey :)

    • I’m in agreement, Jeannine. A lovely beginning. And the nice thing is, in addition to their journey together through the rest of their lives, they are also planning lots of other long journeys (i.e. Africa, South America, Asia, etc.), so journey being the operative word for these two :)

  15. Oh how romantic :) Sending every good wish for J&J’s future together.

  16. Thank you so much, Marianne. It’s nice to have a little romance in our lives, isn’t it.

  17. Hello

    I have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blog Award – Congratulations! Please visit here: http://wp.me/p2zGQ7-TV to find out the rules for accepting the award.

  18. Veronica Roth

    Lovely and romantic story Jennifer. :) I love that photo of Diamond Head. Last time I was in Oahu, about 20yrs ago, it didn’t have quite so many buildings around it. Looks like a bit of an island.

    • Our little bit of an island has changed quite a bit in the past 20 years, Veronica. Lots more buildings, more freeways (one going through a previously unspoiled valley), more traffic. I wish I could have gotten a closer view of Diamond Head so you could see how really dense the buildings are around it. And now we have failed to stop a heavy-rail train project with gigantic pillars that have started to sprout up (and which I will not get into my usual rant about in this post). Still, there are lots of lovely unspoiled spots on Oahu. I hope you can come back and visit soon. Twenty years is too long to stay away :)

  19. What a unique wonderful Hawaiian marriage proposal – in the blue Hawaiian skies of Honolulu!

    Jennifer, as you found out from our plentiful comments, we are all deeply impressed by the different way ‘Jill & Jack’ made a further commitment to each other for many years to come. Keep enjoying your ‘mutual admiration society’, and life & travel will be a blessing to both of you.

    Last but not least, your wonderful Hawaii Honolulu photos deserve some special attention, Jennifer. An invitation to visit Honolulu! I always appreciated your photos on our Hawaii blog – special, eye-catching and personal. Mahalo again.

    Warm aloha to Jack & Jill from Pua & Keoki

  20. Thank you so much, Pua. I love that you are a fan of my photos and greatly appreciate the nice words. I must add that your Hawaii blog (http://kohalacoastweb.blogspot.com) is a wonderful place for anyone who is interested in visiting or living in Hawaii.

    A few months ago I photographed a wedding for an Australian couple who had come to Hawaii for a vacation and decided to get married while here. They had been together for 20 years and had two children. I see a trend here :) Hawaii is indeed a perfect place for a wedding, or an unforgettable proposal, as Jack & Jill can attest.

  21. Well, dear Jennifer, since we were all taken by your story of love + your Honolulu photos, I couldn’t resist and shared it with the public of my Hawaii ohana on Google+ . Let the fun begin!

    • I am so delighted that you felt that way and wanted to share my story with your Hawaii ohana. Now I can’t wait to see what will happen. My love and aloha to you Pua.

  22. What a great story! I’m glad there was a happy ending.

  23. wow what a romantic story, there should be more like those, had tears in my eyes… what a story!

    • So, so true—there should be more romance and more happy endings—things that make us feel good and shed happy tears. It’s when we share special moments in our lives and express our feelings about those moments that we feel truly connected.

  24. Congratulations! What a beautiful experience! Thanks for sharing it!

    • And thank you so much for reading and liking it. Jack was so inventive, wasn’t he. They are looking forward to more beautiful experiences in their life together.

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