For just a few seconds, I was wondering whether there would be another hour, another day, another weekend.

It was while my wife and I were on vacation, celebrating 40 years of marriage, remembering how we said through thick and thin, through good health and sickness, through ups and downs, through years with no kids and years with our one son. It's been a journey fersure. 

We discussed many things before we said "I do" in the chapel at Fort Dix in New Jersey in May 1983. Other things came along that we didn't expect, things for which we didn't plan, and we faced them with determination — together.

We shared many adventures along the way, right from the start. There were the initial, hello-nice-to-meet-you greetings at house parties in Camden, New Jersey when one of us had absolutely no sparks flying. There was drama planning our wedding day, with great emphasis on a rocking-good reception. There was drama the day of the wedding. Thunderstorms intensified as the appointed hour drew near. The Lord looked down on us, though. When the church doors opened, my beautiful bride was standing in bright sunshine.

After the wedding, it got darker and darker. Clouds burst open. Thunder and lightning struck. Heck of a start for a honeymoon night.

It was already an adventure.

After four decades, we've grown used to planning and adjusting, little or no adventure as well as planned adventure. There have been unexpected adventures, like the time we went on an overnight Cub Scout family camping trip, heartened by a good weather forecast.

Unfortunately, no one told Mother Nature. That night inside the tent was one of the most miserable nights of my life — and it's the reason my wife never went camping again.

That was one of many unplanned, unexpected adventures.

Big Island Olive Green Beach

After four decades of twists and turns, we decided this would be a great time for a planned adventure — a trip to see our grandchildren in California, then head to the "Big Island" of Hawaii.

What an adventure! Most of it planned.

The first day, we sunned ourselves at the Royal Kona Resort lagoon with Pacific waters crashing onto the black rocks. We sipped happy hour drinks overlooking the ocean. Then an oceanside dinner.

The plan started well.

One day we put ourselves in the hands of Chris at Wasabi Tours. I hesitated when I heard the start and end times of this "tour." Pickup: 7:50 a.m. Return: "You should be back before 8."

"P.M.," I asked?


We agreed, in the name of adventure.

In that single day, we saw mongoose dashing in front of cars and trucks. We saw goats grazing. We saw a large Hawai'ian sea turtle and a huge Hawai'ian monk seal. We saw volcano steam vents, volcano tubes and lava. We tasted fresh Kona coffee and Hawai'ian sweet bread. We saw a light brown sand beach and a black sand beach. 

Big island olive green sand in hands

Columnist Will Sutton holds some olive green beach sand in his hands while visiting Hawaii's Big island, one of only four olive green beaches in the world.

On other days, we saw an olive green sand beach, one of only four in the world, and Kona's annual downtown Christmas parade. We ate fresh poke. Heck of a thing in a place where McDonald's has spam on the menu.

As boomers who like to try new things, especially finding aspects of Black culture and small but unexpected parts of local culture, we went one night to see Fuego Latin Orchestra, a fabulous, eight-piece Latin band, at Honu's On The Beach, King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort in Kailua-Kona. 

All Spanish. No English — unless you order a drink.

The joint was jumping. I had no idea what they were singing and saying, but I recognized some salsa, bachata, cumbia and merengue moves. I was impressed.

Band leader Yumbel Marassi told me later that he knew there was "an earth movement" toward the end of the show. "We like to make the ground vibrate with a groove — but not as much as an earthquake," added Marassi, an Argentinian who lives in North Kohala.

The band was grooving. "Tu Amor me hace bien." "Ven devorame otra vez." "Cuarto de tula."

I was bopping and rocking.

Then my wife and I began shaking.

I saw tables, chairs and people shake — and they all quickly got down on the dance floor.

There was an EARTHQUAKE beneath us!

Not an aftershock. The real deal.

We experienced a 3.9 earthquake recorded just off Kailua-Kona, about 8 feet under sea level. It was one of two that night.

This was not part of our planned adventure.

But it was another adventure. among many we've shared — one we'll always remember.

Email Will Sutton at, or follow him on Twitter, @willsutton.