"Tropical Smoothie Sunset"
During the last year of my Pop's life on Kauai, we would take him to the beach as much as possible. The long, quiet stretches of paradise along Anini were one of my parent's favorite places to spend time with each other. One of the reasons our Ohana decided to move him back to Kauai as his health declined, was so that he could enjoy those magical moments he loved so very much. We also believed that the sunny, warm tropical climate would be best for his health, even prolonging the time remaining. He was able to soak up as much vitamin D (sunshine) and eat as much local fruit as he could stand. Years before, when they lived in Princeville, he would hit every local farmers market that he could and would happily come home with all his favorite island goodies. I think he liked hanging out and talking story at the vendors' booths even more than he enjoyed the food he brought home. His delicious morning smoothies are still legendary in our Ohana. My mom loved the fruit smoothies he would make for her every morning. I have fond memories of seeing him quietly walking through the house with two tall glasses full of fresh fruit smoothies and making his way upstairs to their bedroom. He would softly wake her up (he was the morning person, mom not so much) and wait by her side until she woke up enough to sit up and take her glass. They would often move across their bedroom to the upstairs lanai where they would enjoy the sweet, colorful, fruity goodness of their morning smoothies while just soaking up life. My Pop's loved the incredible range of colors that one can see every day on Kauai. When I moved to the mainland, he would call me at work and ask what I was doing. Then I would hear his contagious laughter on the other end of the line, and he would start right in with the weather and surf report, their to-do list for the day, and the fantastic mangoes that they had in their smoothies that morning. On the particular evening that I created this image, it was just my sister and me walking, talking, and taking pictures along the shore that had provided so much joy for so many people. My Pop's didn't make it down with us that evening; he was too tired, didn't want to slow us down, and encouraged us to enjoy it for him. But, I had to promise to bring back some pictures of the sunset if it was a good one. It turned out to be a colorful sunset that evening. It was good therapy for my sister and me too be there together and enjoy a short break from the stresses of caring for an elderly parent. As the sun dropped behind the passing clouds, it created a kaleidoscope of tropical color that reminded me of the colorful fruit my dad would lovingly throw into the blender every morning so he could share one of his life's joys with his Ohana.