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Best Places Hawaii, home of The Hawaii State Vacation Planner, proudly announces the winner of their "Love Stories of Hawaii" promotion for 2001. The lucky winner was Robert Springer, of Littleton, Colorado, who dedicated his story "Grandpa's Lesson" to his grandmother and grandfather. The winning story has an unlikely beginning with the narrator and his wife sharing a honeymoon dinner with their grandparents. But that's where the lesson begins. Read the winning story below.
Dedicated to Grandpa & Grandma Springer
Submitted by Robert D. Springer
I glanced over at Alicia. A dreamy little smirk spread across her face as she slept. I had to smile. After months of scrimping and saving, we were finally flying to Hawaii for our honeymoon.
But there was a catch. My grandparents were also going to be on an anniversary trip in Hawaii -- at the very same time. The night before we left, my mother had lectured me about meeting up with Grandma and Grandpa. It was the one snag in my Hawaiian fantasy. Nothing like spending your honeymoon with Grandma and Grandpa... Just get it over with... Meet them for dinner... Everybody's happy.
When we arrived at the restaurant, my grandparents were already seated. Grandma smiled as we approached. Grandpa stood for a formal handshake. The meal was pleasant enough; good food, simple conversation. But I found my attention repeatedly drifting to Alicia. She looked so beautiful. Sun kissed and radiant. Grandma noticed my lingering glances. "You know, your Grandpa and I were here in Oahu shortly after our wedding too."
"Really? I didn't know you honeymooned here."
"Well, it wasn't quite a honeymoon." Grandma smiled at Grandpa. "I wasn't supposed to be here. Ed had to be here for the war."
I looked over at Alicia. I wasn't quite sure what to say. Grandpa had never said much about the war, and I had never asked.
Grandpa cleared his throat. His eyes locked with mine. He paused thoughtfully, as if carefully searching for the words. "It was right before the attack on Pearl Harbor. I never would have let her come if I'd known."
Grandma took Grandpa's hand in her own. "I had to go back to Minnesota... we just wanted to be together"
Grandpa shifted his gaze to Grandma. It was as if he was looking through the years, back to his nineteen-year-old bride. "I remember praying to God and I swore that if he let me live, I would never let your Grandma out of my sight again."
The rest of our honeymoon went quickly. They showed us the Harbor, then the spot where they kissed goodbye. Before we knew it we were back home.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the trip -- Alicia and I on the beach, the sun, the ocean. But mostly I think about Grandpa... the way he looked at Grandma. In an instant he had taught me about love... what it really means to love someone. It's a lesson I hope to teach my own Grandson someday...