It was a lazy day in Kihei ending with the realization of a young man's fantasy and an old man's faint wish for yesterday.
Huapala, a Maui girl from birth, lives on Oahu but visits an old family beach home on Maui on a regular basis. The invitation was to enjoy an escape from a multitude of chores at home. Her house also has cable television, which would enable watching professional basketball seldom seen on plucked-from-the-air TV.
The welcome was warm. She'd already begun a late-afternoon meal. "OK if I watch the tube? There are a couple of basketball games on." A'ole pilikia. "I'm still working on the food. How's roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, ginger carrots and broccoli sound?" "Ono!"
There was time to check the ocean held at bay by a thick hedge of naupaka and a large tree that has survived decades of storm-tossed waves. Inshore, the ocean was flat. A few waves broke on the outside reef.
A solo stand-up paddler maneuvered to catch the waist-high rollers. A couple of boats sat on the horizon. Off Kalama Park, ripples bobbed a diver's float and flag. The water off Cove Park, which used to host student surfers, was speckled with clumps of tourists wobbling on their boards and tentatively dipping their paddles.
A motion pulls eyes right. A juvenile turtle had come to the surface, showing its entire 20-inch-wide shell. That's unusual. Most of the time, all there is to be seen is a head. There's little or no beach, but the shallow water encourages limu that seems to attract the turtles.
(Before the beach disappeared decades ago, one of Huapala's kids nearly stepped on a mother hihimanu and a convoy of her baby stingrays hovering over the sand just inside the near reef. A couple of years ago, a monk seal beached itself on the rocks near the house. Everyone was worried about its health. Turned out it was just resting.)
The boats on the horizon hadn't moved. Hmm. Into the house for the binoculars. Yup. They've found at least two whales. The humpbacks are frolicking just astern of one the boats. Judging from the size of the flukes, the whales are two adults. Even at a distance, the sight is thrilling for an Upcountry resident.
Head back into the house.
"Got a critter report," I said, "one honu and two whales." She ran out to see for herself. The honu poked up its head. Peering through the binoculars, she saw the whales.
The day lazed on. Basketball on the tube and enticing aromas from the kitchen. "Do you realize this is stereotypical domestic scene?" I asked, "the guy watching sports while the woman cooks?" She laughed.
After an excellent meal, it was time to get ready for the night's entertainment - a showing of "Les Miserables." We had to go after seeing weeks of TV ads and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. For the first time, I'd obtained tickets online.
We were moving slowly through a kapakahi line at the ticket window, not sure how to obtain the pre-paid tickets. A quickly moving individual caught my attention. The young lady was more than worth watching - slim, elegantly dressed in a blouse and skirt that hinted at curves, and a cap of short, platinum-blond hair. In a word, beautiful. She looked as if she had just stepped out of a fashion magazine cover.
We were close enough to hear her ask a young man near the ticket window, "Are you Jason?" He must have answered yes. They joined in a pro-forma hug, she stood back a couple of feet and leaned forward for the chaste embrace. The question made it obvious this was a blind date - the realization of a young man's fantasy and the kind of occurrence that makes old men wistful. Mea culpa.
Wandered around in the lobby, looking for what the online info called a "kiosk." Finally ask the concession cashier for directions. She pointed over to a machine that looked like an ATM. It certainly didn't qualify as "a small open-fronted hut or cubicle."
Watched a couple of what appeared to be complicated transactions. My turn. Followed onscreen instructions: "Swipe your credit card or enter the last four numbers of your card." Swipe. The machine belched two tickets. We walked past two lines for other movies and quickly found seats.
The movie was OK. Maybe it lived up to the hype.
It was a satisfying day. Good company in a beautiful setting, the realization of a Maui fantasy shared by individuals around the globe. And no need to be wistful.
* Ron Youngblood is a former staff writer for The Maui News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.