A couple of memories that came to me while I stood on the deck of the King County Water Taxi during my morning commute:
1) swimming in the stream at Kahakuloa Village after a hike.... we were in jeans and muddy t-shirts and splashing among the slippery rocks and it doesn't seem to me that it was just family. But I don't remember much more than this. And being deliriously happy about it.
2) swimming in the ocean just off the rocks at Keanae. There was a swell that caused some surge, and this is when I learned that if the water is pushing you into the rocks, you swim out. You can use the upsurge to lift you out onto the rocks if you're ready, but if you're not ready, you back off so you aren't smashed into the lava. I remember being deliriously happy this time too, happy that I was able to splash in the refreshing salty water, happy that I was big enough to do what the other kids were doing, happy that I was there right then.
That's it. One fresh water memory, one salt, both somehow key moments in my pre-8yo world. I think I'm turning these sorts of things over in my mind because I'm watching the girls grow into awareness and enjoying that experience trememdously, while also wishing they were growing up in a place with warm water and more sunshine... in short, wishing they were growing up on Maui (but Maui back when agriculture was king and tourism was a small bit of the bigger picture).
There was a moment, when I was in college on the east coast and visiting NYC with friends, when a friend turned to me and said "man, you're a real hick!" I argued against it, but slowly the realization sunk in that they were absolutely correct. I grew up in a small town (that small town happened to be an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but...) and was comfortable with farm animals, with irrigation ditches and dogs running free, with tractors on the road and wind-blown dust at harvest time, with rodeos and barns. Hell, I drove a tractor for a summer (and unloaded pineapple trucks for another couple of summers).
I grew up a country hick. At least at last I know.