My Ukerific Vacation
A year ago my wife, Lisa, had been talking with our friends Rae and Rob and had cooked up a Hawaiian vacation plan that would come true this summer of ’07. My best friend, Rob, is a guitar player from Yakima, and we had not seen them for a few years so we decided to do a cruise on board the “Pride Of Hawaii “that would last a week sailing around Hawaii and stopping at certain Islands.
Being a ‘uke player I immediately got on the internet to research the choices of “little instruments” available, can’t come home empty handed from one of the best places to buy ukuleles…Now this may sound like an easy task, but believe me it was a major undertaking. Of course when you are looking on line there are choices galore, but I really wanted to play them to hear that sweet Koa sound. The anticipation of being in Hawaii was intense, but finally the big day came and we were there boarding the ship in Oahu- No time to shop. The first night was spent on board sailing to Maui where I knew of a few stores (Bounty Music) that would carry some top name ‘ukes that I just had to try. As we de-boarded the ship I soon found the day to be full of “other things to do”, while you are in a group dynamic the world does not revolve around ukuleles to my surprise… What’s wrong with these people? I did find a prominent Uke shop on the way back to the ship and eventually played some great instruments but not the one that I was hoping would jump right out, slap my face and say, ” buy me”. To tell you the truth it was nice to keep looking since it was only the second day. We sailed for Hilo on the “Big Island”, there we took a bus tour and didn’t have enough time to explore ukeable possibilities. Oh well, “Good things come to those who wait” ran thru my head and the anticipation started to kill me…When we arrived in Kailua-Kona (same island, just around the other side), I had heard of a store that would carry lots of small wonders so I went by cab to check them out… again, nothing special, but good ukes none the less. The cab stayed so Rob and I could jump back in and head off to yet another store.
That is basically how the whole trip went until we got back to Oahu and our cruise part of the trip was over so we had to say farewell to our friends Rob and Rae…until next time. Our time on the “Pride of Hawaii” was truly an unforgettable experience, but no “on board” ‘uke shop…can you believe it?
Lisa and I stayed overnight in Honolulu and we had some time before our flight to Maui for one week of feet up R&R…No tours, just the good stuff, food! We rented a cab and had him take us to all the stores until we found one inside the Hyatt called, “Aloha Ukulele”. Here is where I told the cab driver not to wait. I saw a Koaloha Pineapple Sunday ‘uke and it was calling me by name. It was behind glass, all locked up and the lady was a little apprehensive to open it to just anybody as she asked if I played the ukulele. As soon as I heard the first chord on this wonderful instrument I knew it found me as much as I found it. The shop was full of great brands and I would highly recommend going there to avoid all the leg work I did (but that part is still a ton of fun). The next week in Maui was filled full of sand, sun, food and ukulele. When we got back to Honolulu I had wanted to go to the Koaloha factory to get Pops Koaloha to sign the inside of my Pineapple. When I got there he came out and graciously played a few tunes with me and signed my baby. He and his wife are so friendly, we had much conversation and laughter. Alvin wanted to show me the next ‘uke he was working on, The Sceptre”. This prototype he let me play was amazing, loud, tone, playability…it had everything! I asked if he was taking orders for them yet and he said I could even pick out the Koa wood! I was able to have him sign it on the raw inside and that it was the 1st of the 1st batch of Sceptres…Timing is everything! I had no idea I would be going home with a Pineapple and a Sceptre to follow.
The whole trip was a huge blessing we and our friends will never forget and to wrap it up with the “Koaloha” experience put it over the top. I was thinking about the word “overjoyed” as I was on my way to pick up the Sceptre as it just came in last week. “Joy” is one emotion that I feel at times but “overjoyed” is rare.
As I opened the box that the Sceptre was packed in, I opened the case and truly was amazed when I read on the small square note hanging from the neck, “I am overjoyed to present His instrument and perfect gift to us. Enjoy Sceptre”, Alvin ”Pops” Okami.
If you are looking for a ‘uke, it is a fun and truly adventurous time, don’t rush it, enjoy every moment, I wish you much joy in the journey! Remember, let the uke find you as well!
Visit Terry's MySpace page to hear him play "Pineapple Sunday" on his Pineapple Sunday.