ALOHA Maui * Friendship * Finale

HAPPY GIRLS: This is what edging 80 is. Being happy with my dear friend Carolyn See, a noble and renowned writer of novels and stories, currently reviewing books for The Washington Post (friends since 11 years old.)

HAPPY GIRLS: This is what edging 80 is. Being happy with my dear friend Carolyn See, a noble and renowned writer of novels and stories, currently reviewing books for The Washington Post (friends since 11 years old.)

I want to Talk about saying Aloha, the swaying syllables that say, “Hello, goodbye, I love you, ‘til we meet again” … the soothing word that brings one’s mind back to Hawaii and the prevailing spirits within. So, it’s Aloha to the Westin Maui with many new golden memories that I hope will inspire readers to take a special time with special friends. It’s never too late….

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: We, Carolyn See and I, started out surprising our friend Joan Weber with her first trip to Hawaii. All of us are edging eighty, with a wealth of old, and now new, memories of our long friendship. Of being girlfriends. Since World War II ended and we started our growing up at Thomas Starr King Jr. High.

Our week of Aloha was full of happenings and leisure and shopping. The Westin Maui is right next door to the Whalers Village, a terrific shopping area. They have anything from fancy to chancey, jewelry and surf shops, dining and fast snacking, and an ABC Store that offers everything from wardrobe to Maui potato chips to wine. My favorite Mumu store is there, Blue Ginger, so I could refresh my collection. (I always wear mumus, not just in Hawaii. I may look like a little old lady to some, but guess what! Edging eighty. The Hula Hut at Whalers is an island-y place to have a snack, and they have a Whale Museum (great for children), with much history of Lahaina when it was a bustling whaling town.

We all, the girls, along with our friends/escorts Barry Moss and Richard Jordon, visited Lahaina to stand under the famous Banyan tree, and case the colorful shops where Joan found a shark jaw (just the teeth part) as a gift for a grandson.

And of course, at the end of Front Street, right on the ocean (with a sea turtle haven), are MALA and HONU, our dining spots of divine delights. Our culinary hearts are with Mark Ellman, the owner-chef of these superb dining spots who treated us with supreme Aloha, of which he is an expert (Mark’s book, Practice Aloha, can be purchased online, along with his cookbook and very cool tee-shirts.) On Oscar night, we noshed on MALA salads and famous Pizzas in my hotel room. It was a delicious and memorable Oscars.

UPCOUNTRY MAUI: Talk about two different worlds, from the Ka’anapali Coast, up to cowboy towns, wineries, goat farms, and a big volcano, within an hour Maui transforms. There were two upcountry ventures, one with my Joseph Cousin, Rita Goldman, who is an important writer in Maui. We lunched at the celebrated upcountry restaurant, the Hailemaile General Store, and then toured the art institute and the cowboy town, Makawa. The other trip was to see goats and local dives. All a part of our “paradise come true.” So with those lyrics of Billy Barnes, the soul of our venture who is now part of the Hawaiian waters, we fulfilled and surpassed all hopes.

It was hard to say goodbye to the hospitable Westin, so it was Aloha, until we meet again. We all made our planes back to L.A., unlike the plane I missed heading there.

MISSED PLANE: Here’s how that went down … Going through the LAX security body scan, a nice TSA gent told me to remove the silk scarf around my neck. So I threw it into one of my bins and walked through. I made sure Carolyn got on the plane, attended to by Richard. Joan waited with me while I responded to an announcement to call TSA security area. While waiting for them to answer the call, I kept thinking that my scarf must have been left behind. Panic. My mind pictured the beautiful scarf that was a gift from David. I think he found it in Lugano. It would have been too terrible to lose it. Turns out, they weren’t even paging me. So we went to the gate and I cheerfully asked to get on the airplane. They told me, it already left. “Nooooooooooo,” I bellowed. (Chagrin, disbelief. reality.) I wangled a flight to San Francisco/ Maui and we were in time to meet the gang for dinner at MALA.

All’s well that ends well, and we’re still edging eighty.

Treasure old friends.

Aloha, we’ll Talk….

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