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Aloha Spirit from Alabama to Hawaii
Dedicated to Jack Butler
Submitted by Rachelle
Having been a single mother for twelve years--- independent, strong, loving, and hard working--- I was not accustomed to being treated like a princess. My usual day was spent rising at dawn to get ready for work, feeding the kids, getting them dressed and in the car, heading off to various schools, then to work, and backwards toward home at the end of the day. I had no time for love or romance, just my two jobs, the bills, and the kids.
On August 23, 2003, I was coerced into a girls night out. There, in a Waikiki club, I met Jack. He had a big bright smile that caught my eye, but I was not interested in meeting a guy in a club of all places. He came over to talk to me. I tried to scare him away by telling him that I had three kids.
"Oh really? How old are they?" he asked, genuinely.
"Why? Why do you want to know?" I asked sarcastically. Surely, he couldn't really want to be involved with an instant family.
"I love kids. I practically helped raise my nieces and nephews back home," he said smiling. He told me their names and ages then gushed on about how he loves to go back home to spend time with them. From there, I felt he was the one. We've been inseparable ever since and my kids just love him.
A year and a half later, we visited Jack's hometown of Orrville, Alabama. There, I met the people who shaped this wonderful man into who he is today---his mom and step-dad, his real dad, grandmothers, sisters, brother, the nieces and nephews he spoke so highly of, aunts, uncles, friends, everybody. I had so much fun and felt so welcomed, even though I felt like the only Asian in the whole county. The "Southern Hospitality" reminded me of the "Aloha Spirit" in Hawaii. Even though I was different, Jack's family made me feel at home. Jack's grandmother, Ma Dea as they call her, gave me big hugs when I ate up all her home cooking and proudly wore the Hawaiian dress we brought for her. Jack's mother introduced me to the family as her Hawaiian daughter-in-law and kept me close to her, almost protectively. We spent a glorious 10 days in the South. I attended a small country church service where Jack's uncle is the reverend, I saw all the local sights and ate southern dishes to my stomach's content, and went from house to house meeting very nice people. Being in such a loving and warm environment confirmed that this was the man for me.
So now, two years since that first meeting, we are in the midst of planning our August 2006 wedding. As a surprise, we are planning to fly Jack's mom and step-dad to Hawaii so they can experience the "Aloha Spirit" for themselves, with balmy breezes and blue waters as a bonus.