A PARADISE COME TRUE – (Lyric from a Billy Barnes Song)

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I want to Talk (and talk, and talk) about how pleasing it is to have had a vision, and then have it realized, even better than one could have dreamed.

At sea, with the Girls and our Guys: Barry Moss, Joan Weber, Carolyn See, JJ, and Richard Jordan.

At sea, with the Girls and our Guys: Barry Moss, Joan Weber, Carolyn See, JJ, and Richard Jordan.

I’ve been talking about my planned trip to Hawaii with two of my girlfriends (from Thomas Starr King Jr. High School, since 1946!) Carolyn See, Joan Weber, and I still refer to ourselves as the girls and behave as such when we unite. This was a special holiday full of Aloha spirit as our original purpose, as we are edging eighty, was to experience Joan’s first visit to Hawaii. I can only wish the same fulfilling experience to all of you….

“DAMES AT SEA”: As the title of this jaunty musical suggests, we girls were up for anything and everything. The ocean, the town, the upcountry, the dining, and especially, doing nothing but enjoying the view from our ocean-view rooms at the Westin Maui Resort on Kaanapali Beach (to me, the best beach ever). The General Manager, Gregg Lundberg, must be doing a lot of things right as we were treated with endearing respect by all the staff, with special Mahalos (thank yous) to the lovely and lively duo Sumithra Balraj (Director of Public Relations) and Venus Yi (Sales & Marketing Coordinator). Barry Chu (Tropic Restaurant Manager) made sure we had a meal to remember which adorable and patient Tracey served. Every morning we went to the Westin’s casual ‘Ono Bar and Grill (next to a huge pond filled with resplendent koi, a flock of flamingo including one passing duck, a black swan, and gorgeous tropical water flowers). We were served breakfast with endless smiles and friendly familiarity as the week passed, so big mahalos to Connie, Nazzy, and Melinda.

AND SO IT GROWS: When I say “we,” allow me to introduce two gentlemen who embellished our merry group. First, Barry Moss, New York Casting Director and devoted Billy Barnes friend and fan, came from New York to be with us and to visit his family who happen to own and operate the best restaurants in Maui (or anywhere, we all felt!) Remember their names; MALA OCEAN TAVERN and HONU on Front Street in Lahaina town in Maui and please have a Seared Ahi Bruschetta and think of me pining for more. (Check their website and see their beauty and the menus … luckily they are five minutes from the Westin and are a good reason to locate in that area of the island for a mind-blowing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. How can we thank owner-chef Mark Ellman and his wife Judy for such an amazing first night dinner and for catering our Oscar party? And Mark’s sister (Barry Moss’s really nice niece) whose choices for our lunch at Honu were so scrumptious? A Mahalo with much Aloha will have to do; they are forever in our hearts.

And speaking of heart, before leaving for Maui, I asked Richard Jordan if he would like to join us, as he was planning to take Billy Barnes’ ashes to Hawaii at some point. Thank goodness for all of us that he accepted, as Richard not only accommodated so many unexpected (or un-thought of) needs, but also was wonderful company and he allowed us to participate in a very private and loving service for his former partner. We went to sea with the only small charter boat in Maui, Captain Woody’s, who gently took us out to a quiet spot in the blue Pacific and played Billy’s favorite song, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” recorded by the late Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Richard spoke from his heart, touching us all deeply. Barry, a long time pal, spoke of Billy’s’ light; Carolyn, a renown writer, read a piece she wrote that encompassed Billy’s talent and songs; I sang a bit of Billy’s song, “City of the Angels,” with a tilt of the lyrics, making The Waters of Hawaii be that “Paradise Come True.” Joan, a gifted artist, made a montage with photos of Billy and Richard and floated it out along with Billy’s ashes in to the waters of Hawaii. This was so perfect and peaceful. It set the tone and spirit of our whole trip.

I’ve barely started this piece and have to finish. I could fill the paper talking about our more and more magical trip, so this is just Part One of the Edging Eighty stories.

By the by, you can Google Captain Woody if you are planning to be in Maui and have a group of 6 or under who want to whale watch or whatever. The personal touch, with no waiting for a crowd, certainly beats an excursion. And pricewise, five or six tickets most likely adds up to Woody’s fee?

Part Two, next column. How, with my infinite and detailed planning, I managed to get Carolyn, who has a wicked knee, on the plane early, along with Richard, and then Joan (for whom I was planning the greatest pleasures), and I managed to miss the plane.

Nooooooo … We’ll Talk….

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