Happy B-Day/V-Day… I Pray

By Ernie Witham   |   March 5, 2020

After about a decade of marriage, I came to the realization that my wife has a birthday every year.

That was also about the time she told me that I had given her the same humorous birthday card four of those years in a row. She also showed me the three “unique” heart necklaces with ten-caret gold plating that I had given her, the six sets of glow-in-the-dark lingerie, and the vintage black light that it took me weeks to find on a San Francisco website.

It’s not easy being a guy.

Pat’s birthday also falls just a few days from Valentine’s Day! Different card requirement and more hours spent shopping for just the right gift. Then, come to find out, she doesn’t even like Costco chocolates in the 12-pound variety family pack.

“Seriously! So… you’re not going to eat these? Chomp, chomp, chomp.”

Some years I lucked out and it all came together. “Happy Super Bowl Birthday-slash-Valentine’s Day bash! I ordered your favorite pizza, without all those weird mushrooms and olives, of course. I also sprung for the cheesy garlic bites, and I bought a twelve-pack of gaily decorated beers in a winter motif. You can even sit in my favorite chair for the pre-game show!” This was the point I closed my eyes and puckered up. A mistake one doesn’t make twice.

This year was different. Call it guilt. Call it atonement. Call it brilliant. But this year I suggested we go to Hawaii for the celebration of a lifetime. I even offered to buy all the tiny bottles of booze she wanted on the plane and give her the aisle seat. “Ta-da!”

That’s when Pat reminded me that we were already going to Hawaii during that time period for a family wedding and she had already bought the tickets. “Woo-hoo!” I thought. “Oh dang, that’s too bad!” I said out loud, putting my credit card away.

Fast forward to the big gala… “I bought this for you,” I said. “It came in green and yellow, so you get first choice.”

Pat opened the package and took out the hooded see-through Hefty-bag-like poncho with the Waimea Valley logo on it that I had paid six bucks for. “Yellow,” she said… excitedly.

She had suggested we spend her celebration day hiking to Waimea Falls, even though it was raining, and even though I had thoughtfully suggested instead looking for the “parrot guy” in Honolulu so we could get a cute portrait with large live birds standing on our heads.

“How far to the falls?” I asked the ticket guy.

“About thirty minutes,” he said.

“Each way?”

“Yup. Longer, if you take the side excursions to the Ku’ula fishing shrine, the agricultural terraces, and Kauhale site. Waimea is a wahi pana. Many generations of kahuna nui once lived here, including Hewahewa, high priest under Kamehameha.”

“Ah, right…” He handed me a map and a bird identification guide. “Any cockatoos or large green parrots for photo ops?”

“Nooo, but I have some good news.” He smiled. “You won’t be needing to slather yourselves in sunscreen today.”

It was a nice walk, albeit uphill. Pat, the historian, loved it. And I took photos of monkeypod trees, hibiscus, and grass-roofed huts between the raindrops. The 30-foot-tall falls themselves were roaring. Sometimes you can swim in the pool below the falls, but today it was muddy brown and moving really fast. It would have been fun to see someone getting tossed about like a slipper sock in the dryer, but no luck. Halfway back down the trail, a shuttle bus passed us. “They have a shuttle!”

“Let’s go back to Waikiki,” Pat said, “and go to Duke’s on the beach for mai-tais.”

“You got it! My treat.”

“Perfect. Jon and Patrick are meeting us there.” I felt my wallet thinning, but hey it was better than going to the Honolulu Hallmark.

After copious drinks and appetizers, and one of those Hawaiian sunsets with the large clouds, I paid the tab and we walked back through the International Marketplace toward our hotel.

“So, was this one of the best B-Day/V-Days ever?” I asked.

“Depends,” Pat said. “Did you buy me any neon undergarments?”


“Then yes,” she said. “It was perfect.”


You might also be interested in...

  • Woman holding phone

    Support the
    Santa Barbara non-profit transforming global healthcare through telehealth technology