Stephie Smith never dreamed of becoming a writer until a series of her humorous essays about family were published behind her back. Unlike most things done behind her back, this one she actually liked.
And now she writes.
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Tag Archives: my naked cousin
You probably think I came up with that title just to get your attention. Well, I did, but getting naked really is the topic of this blog.
I had the good fortune to be invited to the Island of Kaua’i by my cousin, who has been there six or seven times. It’s one of the places where she feels really grounded. She ought to, considering that she spent half her time hugging the trees.
It’s also one of the places where she takes off her clothes at every opportunity. And I mean every opportunity. I’m not just talking about “home,” which was the cottage we stayed in. I’m talking about the yard, the outdoor Jacuzzi, the beaches, the ponds, the waterfalls, the paths through the woods. Heck, I’m surprised she wasn’t naked on that helicopter tour. And everywhere we went, I trailed right behind her fully clothed.
Okay, so I’m a prude. I admit it. Always have been, always will be. Or maybe not. My mother used to be a prude and now she pretty much takes her clothes off in front of anybody, whether we want her to or not. But then, as she says, she’s old and can do as she pleases.
But back to me and my cousin. We rented this nice cottage above Secret Beach, which turned out to be the “nude” beach. I’m sure my cousin knew it because she and 24 other people once rented the main house. The cottage was down the lane (or through the orchard) from the main house, which was directly above the 300-foot almost-vertical decline to Secret Beach.
The first night it was too late to go down to the beach, but I could hear waves crashing so loud that they sounded like thunder. It was pretty scary, actually, and I wondered what a beach could look like with such powerful waves pounding it. When I slipped out at the light of dawn and went down by myself, I don’t think I even noticed the beach because right there passing back and forth across my line of vision was a naked guy, strutting as proudly as anyone possibly could. I can only use the word strutting because that’s what came to mind. And if I were a guy and I looked like that (naked), I would be strutting, too.
I thought about taking a photo, but there wasn’t much light and he wasn’t close enough for the flash to help, so the shutter speed would have been slow and the aperture would have been large, and the problem is that anything moving would be blurry. Sure, I could pan horizontally as the guy walked across my line of vision and that would keep him in focus, but there was a part of him that wasn’t moving horizontally; was, in fact, doing more of a vertical bounce. And if I couldn’t get an in-focus picture of that, the photo wasn’t worth taking. I swear to God (who probably will not like my oath on this particular subject), it’s a miracle that thing didn’t wrap around his knees and trip him.
That wasn’t my first experience with public nudity, and it certainly wasn’t my last. During our trip, my cousin went swimming naked in Bette Midler’s pond, in the lake under Wailua Falls, at Secret Beach and Ke’e Beach. When we went to the Blue Room, which is a cave that looks crystal blue due to tunneled sunlight, I thought no way would she swim nude in the freezing springs water. And when a family spilled out of the car next to us, I was even more relieved—until my cousin said, “Damn, I hate getting naked in front of kids.” I guess the parents didn’t care much for it either, since they magically disappeared about the time the halter top came off. I have to admit that those double D’s scared me a little bit too.
So while I have some beautiful pictures of Kauai, they are mostly devoid of living, breathing (and naked) people. I have plenty of memories, though. Memories of an (unexpected) truckload of Hawaiian workers gawking at me from 10 feet away the one and only time I gathered enough courage to walk naked to the outside Jacuzzi.
And then there’s that other, albeit made-up (though I’m sure it really happened), memory of my naked cousin and 24 of her naked friends climbing down that 300-foot cliffside to Secret Beach. I’m only glad I wasn’t waiting for them at the bottom because that would be a memory I’d never forget.
But maybe that would be okay, too, because aren’t memories supposed to be what life is made of?