Memories of Lahaina

The next morning we eat left-over cake from Calen’s birthday party and head to the highway to whatever the name of the town was, oh yes, Lahaina. I’ve seen a few pictures and it looks kinda cowboy-like and right on the water. I hear tell it used to be a whaling post too. No doubt we’ll see an ancient sailor carving a piece of scrimshaw as old and yellowed as his skin. He’ll spit Indonesian tobackie between rafts of swear-words and salty oaths. He will sport a grizzled beard, like Old Joe Conrad, looking as nautical as possible. Unfortunately, I think these thoughts aloud.

“You’re going overboard again, Thkinny,” she crinkles her nose.

“So maybe I am. So what?” I raise my eyebrows and give her a look, like I don’t care.

I’m in deep ****. From this angle she looks glamorous. And it’s only one of her angles. I’m falling apart, crumbling like Ozymandius. I’m a sucker for her good looks. With this woman, my romantic ideas move into third gear. Senses heighten. Blood flows well when hearts beat faster. We’re both on point and racing like crazy. Like Colombian Expresso Supremo. Like Java from Jarkarta. The dark warm liquid flows soothingly down our throats like a torrent of happiness. We know what we’re drinking, and it’s flavored with love. She’s right. I’m going overboard. Lost at Sea Me, Mister Swept Away.

When we get to Lahaina it’s very much as advertised, except for the number of tourists. This kind of stuff bothers me. The scene is complete. The ‘main street’, if you can call it that, is narrow and short. On the ocean side, there’s only one set of buildings between us and the Pacific. And the buildings are wooden and look like they came out of an old Western set on Paramount Studio’s back lot. But since the days it was a whaling port it’s all gone commercial. There are tourists every street and on the sidewalk. Lahaina suffers a plague of locust-like tourists; they’re creeping around everywhere you look. In Bubba Gump’s they file by with glazed eyes in a consumer daze sporting sunburned shoulders, Nikon cameras, and Japanese calligraphy name tags stuck with tape on their Hawaiian shirts.

“You see any grizzled old salts carving scrimshaw?”

Barb looks around. She’s humoring me.

“Not one.”

“What about that guy over there?”

On the end of Bubba Gump’s there’s a space of about twenty yards right on the sand near the surf. This piece of sand is his art showcase. There are five or six piles of rocks, but I don’t mean piles exactly, more like stacks, stacks of rocks balancing on each other. For this balancing act the grizzled old dude is collecting money from the tourists. They’re so irregular but perfectly balanced you’d swear he used Gorilla Glue.

Down the main street a block more and I ask Barb to stand and pose by a Banyan tree. Some outa-towner and his wife are coming up behind her, and since Barb’s back is turned, the dude leans near and puts his arm around her for the picture.


Barb turns with a look of surprise, and the dude is already two steps past her, only his wife remains.

And his wife! If looks could kill, Barb just reached her expiration date.

Then it’s up the block to Hilo Hattie’s and we catch a young couple smoking a cigarette. Well, maybe it wasn’t a cigarette, after all this is Maui Wowi Territory. They do seem to be in an awfully good mood. It may be because they’re young, or it may be because she’s straddling him with her arms around his neck, or it may be they’re infatuated with love. Their future’s so bright they have to wear shades, so you can’t see if their eyes are dilated or star-struck or moon-struck or what.

Then it’s back Up to the Villa just like Maugham.

It was one of those places you never forget.

©StevenHunley2015 Over the Rainbow