Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Aloha Oe

A plumeria blossom floating with a single droplet of rain in honor of my friend Bill.

Last week while cooling off in the pool, a wind whipped up and a few plumeria flowers drifted down to the water. Watching the flower floating in the calm clear water mesmerized me back to all the great times I’d had living in Hawaii. Hawaiian music sweetened the air and I realized how much I miss my friends there. I appreciate the quality friendships I earned during my twenty years in the islands. It was a pleasant reminiscence but one without regrets, because I am happy here in the Yucatán. I still think that my best survival and recuperation option was to relocate, and for me this feels right.

Luckily in today’s world we can stay in touch via Skype and Facebook and Twitter, etc. Today, not only can I talk to my friends, we can watch each other AGE on our webcams!

When I first moved here I was staying in touch with several friends, but we all got busy with our ever-changing lives and the communications waned. Time passes and we realize we have lost contact with those who we hold dear.

Two days after my Hawaiian moment in the pool, I received word that two of my friends in Kona died last week. Today is Wild Bill Burke’s burial. I am sorry I can’t be there to say a final farewell, so I offer the above photo to send my aloha and my condolences. Bill was a great person, and he will be missed. He was a crusty foul mouthed sailor with a New England accent. He was as wild as he looked and he liked to suck up the scotch. These were part of his most endearing traits, because he always kept us laughing. As a friend he was always there for you when you needed him. I doubt he ever did another person wrong, although due to his generous helpful nature, people took him for granted sometimes; he even took that in stride. He could fix anything, and was invaluable to the success of the Fairwind operation for years. He was an excellent sailor and boatman. Bill went to lunch with friends one day last week, enjoyed his cocktails, spun some tales, and when he went to sleep that night he never woke up. He lived his life to the fullest until the very last day. Since he passed in peaceful sleep, I feel confident he is in eternal peace right now. Or raising hell in some other time or space.
Here we are, left to right, Bill Burke, me, and Dave Winter enjoying an authentic kava party at the coffee shack in 1991.
The most important rule at a kava party is that everyone don a 'lava lava' (men's pareu) Dave, Todd and Bill are learning to securely tie on their first skirts!

Our other friend who passed away was not someone I knew very well, but she was part of our Fairwind family. She had been around in the early days of the family business and knew just about everyone who passed through Fairwind doors. Penny was frail when I last saw her a few years ago, and her health had been failing. I do hope she is in a happy place. She is already notably missed by her loyal kitty and close friends. In her honor, I would like to offer this floating flower to send my sympathies to all her friends and family.

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