October 1, 2008
By Joseph Hungate, PORTLAND, OR

“Wheeeee” I yelled as I hurtled down the water slide yet again. I splashed down into the shallow pool of water at the bottom of the slide. I squealed with delight and ran up the steps to go down again.

“Joseph!” my mom yelled “only once more because we have to get back to the hotel in time for dinner.”

“Okay mom!” I yelled back. I got to the top of the small platform and waited in line until it was my turn at the front again.

“Go ahead son” the lifeguard gestured to me. I swooped down the slide lying on my stomach ignoring the lifeguard’s objections. As I slid down on my stomach and hit the pool at the bottom yet again, I got a nose full of water. I started bawling to my dad who jumped in and carried me to the shallow end of the pool where I could stand. I sneezed out the last of the water and skipped out of the pool to my mom lounging on her beach chair. She gave me a towel to dry off with and told me to start walking back with my dad who was waiting for me. I skipped towards big the hotel in the distance with my dad close behind.

We had the best hotel in the whole world. It loomed up into the sky of about twenty stories high! We had a luxury suite with two big beds and a pull out couch. The hotel had five different swimming pools along with a swim up bar. It had underwater cushions that amazed me every time I sat in them. There was a kiddy pool, a grownup pool, a pool with a water slide, a pool with the swim up bar, and the indoor pool for adults only as well. On top of that we had a whole beach a half-mile walk from our hotel. I learned how to swim in the very pool at the hotel. It’s also where I learned how to boogie board. Every morning I would wake up and go to the outdoor buffet with all my favorite foods. After that we would go down to the pools or to the beach. For lunch we would order food from a good restaurant and they would bring the food right to your lounge chair! After that we would usually swap the activities we were doing. If we had been at the beach in the morning we would go to the pool for the afternoon. Then for dinner we would either go to a Hawaiian restaurant or just snack on the food we had bought at the store before coming to the hotel. After dinner we would usually see if there were any events going on like a fire show, or a band playing. If there wasn't, we would go back to our room and hit the hay. My parents always got one of the big beds, and my siblings and I would have to work out who got the big bed and who slept on the pull out bed.

Going to Hawaii has always been a tradition in my family every year. We would usually go there every summer or winter. One of the most important reasons that Hawaii is such a good memory to me is because Hawaii is where I first learned how to swim, boogie board, and snorkel. I remember my swimming instructor was a big muscled Hawaiian teacher. I used to be afraid to even dip my foot into the water for fear that I would drown. After I learned how to swim, which took me about two years, my dad bought my brother and I our very own boogie boards. We would run into the ocean and plunge stomach first right onto our boogie boards. We would always be looking over our shoulders to see when the waves were coming. We would always let the small waves go right on by because the bigger the wave, the farther you get when you boogie board.

Sometimes when an event was about to start, my brother and I would play football on the soft, green grass that felt so good on our bare feet. Rarely when we were playing, a big group of boys about our age would come and ask us to play. We would have a great time dividing up into teams and missing almost every throw that the quarterback threw to us.

The swim up bar was definitely my favorite part of the swimming pool. My mom had told me that we could only get two milkshakes a day. One in the afternoon, and one in the morning. This was hard for my brother and I, because we spent almost every day at the pool and we were in the mood for another milkshake almost every hour.

Now I hope you see why Hawaii is such an important topic to me. It’s one of the few things that I could look forward to as a small child. The deep blue ocean, the five swimming pools, the outdoor buffet, the luxury hotel room, and of course the swim up bar. Going to Hawaii has always been a tradition to our family even if it meant missing Christmas. I hope that our family will continue to keep this great tradition, and go to the same hotel on the island of Maui.

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