Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Bryant Family: A Comedy Show Unto Ourselves

A few days ago I wrote a humiliating blog about my sister, Kathleen and I being captured on video trying to snorkel for the first time.  My mind hasn't left the beautiful Kaanapali Beach shoreline in Maui, Hawaii yet and the "endless summers" my family spent there during the 1980's.  Most families would have lovely memories of calm afternoons lying on white, sandy beaches or quiet dinners at open air restaurants with little umbrellas spiked with fresh pineapple slices in their blended fruit drinks.  Sure, sure, we experienced these moments too - BUT my dear friends and blog readers - we were the BRYANT family; nothing ever went according to plan.

My mother loved scheduling special outings for us.  This, of course, was when I first discovered that I was the "weakest link" in mi familia.  In other words, yours truly does not have a strong stomach for boats, trains, airplanes, or twisty roads.  THIS is a horrible discovery within a group of siblings whose primary function it is to tease and torment one another at every Thanksgiving Meal for the rest of our adult lives.

On one particular vacation, my mother rented a small Cessna touring plane to fly over the island of Kauai.  That was fun (sarcasm); however, Kauai is a highly mountainous island and to fly over it is extremely bumpy.  Uh oh - yep, you guessed it - barf bags?  I didn't enjoy the flight at all.  All I remember was my brother Paul laughing his ass off from the front seat and my sister Kathy saying, "Eeew, gross!"

Another summer, my mom wanted the family to sail around Maui on a catamaran, a type of fast, multi-hulled boat which skims across the water.  Another hilarious future story for the holidays.  You see, my mother wasn't informed that the lovely sailing craft wouldn't be docked.  I don't blame her for not asking.  I would have assumed that a fully staffed boat would be moored and waiting for our family upon our arrival.   Nope.  Not so.  How foolish of her to assume especially having paid such an exorbitant amount of money for the excursion.  I'll never forget the anger on her face when it was explained that one, we would have to split up in pairs and take a "dingy" out to the catamaran and two, swim past enormous waves to get to "said" dingy.  Oh my GOD!  Woe to the man who had to deal with my mother that afternoon.

Let me set up the visual.  Lahaina seaport is a huge tourist destination in Maui.  The beach was packed with tourists and sunbathers.  We kids were wearing swimsuits beneath our shorts and t-shirts; however, my parents had not planned on swimming.  My dad was wearing slacks with suspenders and a golf shirt and mom was in her classic, long Hawaiian mu mu dress.  It was a disaster.

My sister, Kathy and my mom attempted boarding the dingy first.  It was windy and as I had previously mentioned, the waves were huge.  Mom barely made it into the raft with her mu mu weighing her down but with the help of the itty, bitty, blonde crew member hoisting her in, she conquered it.  My sissy, on the other hand, wasn't a good swimmer and could not pull herself up.  Much to her mortification, my other sister, Ellenmary and I were left watching the spectacle on the beach.  We started with a low chuckle and as the scene became more intense, our laughter increased to loud, hysterical cackling.  Soon, the tourists were standing along side of us watching the horror show unfold before their eyes.  I couldn't hear Kathy over the wind, the waves, and our laughter but I'm certain she was throwing out words which could have easily excommunicated her from the Catholic Church.  Eventually, the itty, bitty, blonde crew member had to jump out of the dingy and literally fist Kathy by the ass into the boat.  Eeew.

Next, it was my turn.  Dammit, why did I have to draw so much attention to the situation?  I was sure as Hell not going to have the itty, bitty, blonde crew member fisting my ass into the dingy.  I waited patiently and timed the waves.  One, two..I took a running leap into it and...OH FUCK!  I almost fell out the other side of the raft in my excitement to make it in!  Hysterical cackling.  Shit!  I guess I had that coming...

I had mentioned it was a windy day.  The boat was a rockin'.  To and fro - fro and to.  Barf bags?  No such luck.  Just Bri hanging off the side of the rails for most of the trip, my brother, Paul laughing his ass off, and my sister, Kathy saying, "Eeew, gross!"

Land HO!  Finally.  No more movement under my feet.  The nice, soft, white sand and again - hysterical cackling.  I turned around to see what my sister Ellenmary was laughing at this time.  It was my mom and dad dripping wet, clothes hanging off them as they were walking towards the parking lot.  My mother was screaming at my baby brother to stop running away from her, my pop was yelling at my mom to stop screaming, and my brother Paul was throwing chunks of wet sand at my sister Kathleen during which was drawing a huge amount of attention from the crowd of folks on the beach.  The Bryant Family.  We were a tourist attraction and entertainment unto ourselves.  Wherever we went, we should have charged admission - we could have made a fortune.