Sunset cruising

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Care Center resident “Grandma Yamashiro” acknowledges her family as they pass atop a decorated vehicle Thursday during the Sunset Cruise in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The sign atop a visitor’s truck says it all as it cruises past a bank of Kaua‘i Care Center residents Thursday during the Sunset Cruise in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Eddie Taniguchi’s mo‘opuna demonstrate the delight of not only seeing “Papa T” but also being participants in the Sunset Cruise Thursday at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea, where Taniguchi is currently staying.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Eddie Taniguchi leads a bank of residents enjoying the parade of cruise-by visitors Thursday during the Sunset Cruise at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Eddie Taniguchi, left, is a paniolo, and the ‘ohana brought the ranch, including a truckload of pig-hunting dogs, to visit Thursday during the Sunset Cruise at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    An Eddie Taniguchi mo‘opuna comes to visit “Papa T,” parked to the left with an attendant, on his horse Thursday during the Sunset Cruise at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The joy of a cruise-by visit is reflected in this family’s run Thursday during the Sunset Cruise at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    “Mom’s awake,” a driver in the Sunset Cruise says as she points out her mother from across the parking lot at Kaua‘i Care Center in Waimea Thursday during the drive-by visit.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Care Center residents await the arrival of cruise-by visitors Thursday during the Sunset Cruise in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Care Center residents acknowledge their cruise-by visitors Thursday during the Sunset Cruise in Waimea.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Care Center residents do shaka Thursday following their flash mob dance that closed the Sunset Cruise in Waimea.

Coordinated by Kaua‘i Care Center Administrator Brandi Hori-Moises and her ‘ohana at the Waimea care facility, the 38-resident population was wheeled into the spacious parking lot Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the Sunset Cruise.

“This is a lot better than the first one,” a waiting parade driver said. “They held the first one at 10 in the morning. It got pretty hot for the residents. Late afternoon is a lot better because it’s already cooling down.”

Over a dozen vehicles lined the road leading to the Kaua‘i Care Center parking lot for the Sunset Cruise, a cruise-by visit by family members and friends with music, and a flash mob dance that in total peeled nearly 60 minutes off the clock.

“I know you,” said Frank Ruiz, a Kaua‘i Care Center resident who donned a cowboy hat to keep company with Paniolo Hall of Famer Eddie Taniguchi. “I live here now. This is my new home.”

Taniguchi, who also was featured as a grand marshal of a previous Koloa Plantation Days Parade, was one of the star attractions, as his residency drew a caravan of vehicles, and even a horseback rider.

Taniguchi’s ‘ohana brought the ranch to visit, including a mo‘opuna guiding a steed between the ranks of residents that lined the spacious parking lot, face-masked and socially distant in the afternoon sun.

His attention perked and his eyes widened as a command whistle from one of the trucks carrying a load of pig-hunting dogs turned the corner.

“This (no-visitors policy) has been really hard,” said Marissa Purcel, whose grandmother is staying at Kaua‘i Care Center. “She’s been here after falling at home and breaking a leg. My grandfather is 91 years old, and for them not to see each other for this long is just really hard.”

Grandma strained to keep herself in control as the caravan containing her husband, daughters, grandchild and great-grandchildren passed, pausing only briefly before leaving the parking lot.

A flash mob dance with the residents dancing to the lead of a staff member closed the afternoon of excitement before everyone was wheeled back inside before the last rays of daylight faded.

•••

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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