Once upon a year, New Year’s Eve found us on a sailboat going snorkeling in Aruba. As we board, I can tell there won’t be seats for everyone, so I inform the fella in charge that my mother needs a place to sit. But he pays me no heed which requires a minor hissy fit on my part before we shove away, a hissy fit that results in the day’s bartender clearing my mother a space right beside him and the all-day free punch. With Mother taken care of and the rest of the famdamily comfortably reclining in the sun, I take my seat in the shade with my cup of ice water and commence to reading my book on curriculum theory.

Yes, curriculum theory.

We sail, we lunch, we snorkel . . . well, not “we” because I’m sure you remember that I have that engrossing book on curriculum theory. Around mid-afternoon, I hear much laughter and wooping and a few wolf calls for good measure with The Hokey Pokey playing rather loudly in the background. More annoyed than interested, I look up to find my mother standing in the middle of the crowded sailboat. Doing the hokey pokey. With the bartender.

I’m not kidding.

That’s also the day when my brother – who adores Hawaiian shirts – stops at a vendor and purchases a rather bright one on his way to the sailboat, and upon our return to the cruise ship (and while rather under the influence of hokey pokey joy juice), he stops by the exact same vendor and purchases the exact same shirt a second time.

I’m not kidding about that, either.

So if we’re ever together and my cell phone starts singing the Hokey Pokey, you’ll know it’s my mother calling. And when I bust out laughing, you’ll know I’m picturing my inebriated brother coming home with two – count them 2 – matching hot pink Hawaiian style shirts. I’m not sure there’s a ring tone out there that adequately sums that part of the day up.


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