Sarah Calvert

"Old man take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you..." Neil Young


Me and Dadums at Lumahai Beach, North Shore

Aloha. I arrived in Kauai a couple of weeks ago to spend some quality time with MJC…aka: my dad. He flew from Toronto to Vancouver and I flew from Kelowna to Vancouver, where we met, then went to Hawaii together. Not smooth sailing I’ll admit, but we made it. As per usual, there is always a bit of a gong show that happens when the Calvert family travels together. Once, my sister visited me in Whistler, and I took her to the airport on the Wednesday, only to get a call from her shortly thereafter, informing me her flight was Tuesday and she’d missed it. I think we were smoking a lot of weed at that time. Another trip to Mexico for Christmas had Dad in the hospital for 2 days with a sinus infection, and me with a serious case of Montezuma’s revenge, trying to take care of him (sound the gong). 

We thought we’d try it again regardless. I asked Dad to bring one of my guitars with him as a carry-on; I’m slowly trying to get all my instruments out to Nelson as they wouldn’t all fit in my car en route here last fall. So, I’m waiting at the gate in Vancouver and the flight is about to board. Still no Dad (I should mention that Dad is famous for being late, or doing everything at the last minute. We’ll be ready to head out the door to go to a wedding and he’ll step into the bathroom as I’m getting the car keys, “I’m just having a quick shower honey!”). Over the airport loud speakers comes a voice, “Paging MiKe Calvert. Mike Calvert. Please come to gate 14B immediately. Passenger Mike Calvert”. Here we go, I thought. I walked over to the gate and asked them what was up with Dad. Apparently, he left my guitar on the plane; it had been tagged as a carry-on that gets left at the front door with strollers and such, and then have to be picked up after getting off the plane. I guess Dad missed that part, and left it there. The WestJet peeps told me not to worry, that the trolley was bringing it to the gate, but they were confused as to where Dad was. His Toronto flight had landed an hour prior, and he still wasn’t at the gate. Luckily, the flight was delayed a half hour, so he made it. Turns out he got caught up at the Duty Free buying rum. 

Fast-forward to the airport in Hawaii. For some reason, my cellphone wouldn’t work, so I couldn’t call the rental car dude to meet us. And I had his number on my phone and email, which I couldn’t access. GONG. I asked a shuttle driver if I could use her phone, and took my computer to look at the Skype numbers I’d called the previous week to find his digits. It worked. Mike showed up a few minutes later in our car, which Dad immediately coined an “old stove”, which it kind of was. I found the car on Craigslist, so it was pretty cheap; it was a 2004 Dodge Intrepid which looked like it had been around the block and various beaches numerous times. I wasn’t sure it was actually our car, until he dropped us off at his place and had us sign the papers. The stove was full of sand, the gaslight was on empty and there were Starbucks cups rolling around under the passenger seat. However, it worked. So, Mike followed me to the gas station because I was afraid we’d run out of gas at 11pm on the dark Kauai roads. We made it to Poipu with no issues. Once there, the lock box we were supposed to use was hidden behind a window, so it took us another half hour to figure that one out. I still had no use of my phone, so it was only when I tried to put my phone near the house to get on the wifi that I saw the lockbox. Success. We had a few sweet, albeit windy days in the south, then headed up north to Princeville for the remainder of the trip. 

It was cold and windy. And sometimes rainy. Apparently we hit their winter season, and a lot of people were actually wearing down jackets around. Not exactly what we’d expected. GONG. However, we prevailed, shivered and still hit the beautiful beaches of the north. We were like Bonnie and Clyde, breaking into the Westin to use their hot tub while we weren’t registered there. We celebrated our Irish Heritage with a Guiness and listened to an Irish band, and Dad downed enough booze to supply a small wake. Seriously. He never got drunk, so I wondered how he did it. It’s in the blood I guess. We bought a 24 of beer, 2 huge bottles of red wine, 2 forty ounce bottles of rum, and a bottle of white. I had 2 glasses of red, 2 glasses of white, 2 beers and 2 rum and ginger ales. Yet, by the end of the 12 days the booze was all gone. Which leads me to the best part of the story. 

On the last day, Dad had to be at the airport at 9:45pm; I was supposed to fly out too, but I extended my trip another 2 weeks. We dropped my stuff at Poipu and then had dinner and relaxed a bit before heading back to the airport in Lihue, which is about a half hour drive north. I asked Dad if he could drive; I was exhausted after driving for the whole of the trip and needed to chill. He said he would. And so, he poured himself a traveller of rum and coke in a travel mug and off we set. This is usually totally not cool, and I’m not an advocate of drinking and driving by any means, but I was so tired that I let it slide. The guy is 74 and old school. I’m not going to change him. We pulled into the Cosco gas station to fill up before going to the store to pick up some goat cheese for me, and vodka for you-know-who. We pulled over just before the pumps to find the Cosco card, and it was here that Dad realized he was wearing flip flops, a Blue Jays tank top and shorts. Not ideal for landing in Toronto the next day, which was a reputed -8 and possibly snowing. And so, there in the middle of the Cosco gas station parking lot, Dad got naked…buck naked, and put on his Toronto clothes. GONG. It must have been a serious sight. We got a couple of honks, which was better than being arrested. He couldn’t get his shoes done up (his belly is a little larger than usual, could be the contents of the small bar he’d ingested over the 2 weeks), so he sat down in the car and yelled, “Fuck! This getting old’s for the birds!” and I came around and did up his shoes. Next, we pulled in to fill up, but then were told they didn’t take cash or credit. Only Cosco credit cards, or cash cards you have to buy in the store. By this time, we were already running 20 minutes behind (due to the naked incident and re-organizing of Dad’s bag). I pulled away quickly, not realizing that I’d already taken the gas cap out of the car, and set it on the roof. After our Cosco shop, we headed back to the gas station to fill up, and it was there I noticed the lack of gas cap. GONG. I retraced my steps (drive we’d taken) and sure enough, ran around to find it 5 minutes later by the side of the road. I raced back to the car, filled the tank, paid with the cash card and left, promptly getting lost on the way to the airport, and had to pull over to a Jack In The Box to get directions. We made it finally, with Dad only slightly drunk, me slightly stressed, and both of us very late. He made the flight. I made it back to Poipu. My teacher Yogi Bhajan said, “I don’t believe in miracles. I rely on them.” I concur. 

 

I had the next couple of days to reflect on our time together. I found myself laughing out loud and remembered some of our chats, him telling me stories of how he and his buddies used to travel to Acapulco in the 60s and stay until they ran out of money. We watched PBS at nights which usually had amazing musical shows on and Dad would tell me stories about seeing famous folkies at Woodstock, or seeing the Guess Who at the Key to Bala, reliving the adventures about taking to boat to the mainland, and driving on those twisty Muskoka roads. I realized that he’s pretty cool. I also realized that it’s pretty cool that we could actually spend 12 days together, and still be talking. Not too shabby. While we were away, a good friend from high school lost her dad to a massive heart attack, so it really made me grateful for our time together. Also when I was away, a good friend of mine from Invermere, Tim Goldie, passed away from cancer. This also gave me some time for reflecting and it made it easy to decide to stay an extra couple of weeks. I wasn’t ready to go home yet, and it was so clear that this gift of life is so short. 

I hope that I can continue to live each moment with this sense of gratitude, knowing that each moment is precious and fleeting. For now, I’m grateful to be sitting in my little cabin in the woods, candle burning, thoughts flowing, breathing. Living. 

Question for You: What is a memory you have of travelling with a parent? 

I so look forward to hearing your responses; it is truly all about sharing and I’m humbled that you continue to read and come along on this journey with me.

Love and Light,

Sarah

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