Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Old Friends

I was so happy and pleasantly surprised when my friend Connie Sutherland asked me to join her, her daughter Leslie and son-in-law Nelson for her birthday dinner last Friday night. She turned 72 - hard to believe when you see her and experience her energy.

Connie was, literally, the first person I met when I moved to Maui more than 27 years ago. I think she's probably getting tired of being introduced that way! She and her husband Chuck - a lovely man and wonderful artist who, sadly, died a number of years ago - owned and operated The Whaler, Ltd. a shop on Front St. specializing in all things nautical - no touristy kitsch here, beautiful and well-crafted work. For whatever reason, we took to each other right away. As the years went by - and I moved from the west side to the south side to upcountry hither and yon trying to find my place in this place - we simply didn't see each other as often as we did in the early days.

A few years ago, we got back into close touch - I can't even remember how that happened - and we now get together often. If more than a couple of weeks pass, we at least talk on the phone. Connie has had more than her share of tragedy over these last few years. But I've yet to see her without a smile on her face, moving forward.

When we picked up Leslie and Nelson last Friday night on our way to Sansei Kapalua, Leslie said she thought the last time she and I had seen each other was more than TWENTY years ago...in NEW YORK. I hoped she was wrong then and I still hope she's wrong now. I'm still wracking my brain trying to figure out how that could be possible. I reminded Nelson he sold me my first "Maui cruiser" - a white Datsun (not Nissan) station wagon that hauled tons and tons and tons of food when I had my catering company back in the mid-80s. Reminiscing often does and should lead to laughter.

We had a great dinner and then moved on to Roy's Kahana. Connie's gorgeous 24-year-old grandson Russell (if you think I'm kidding, see his photo above - he's on the far right) works there and was waiting with fabulous chocolate cocktails - that he had invented himself for the occasion - and pretty much every dessert in the place. I'm not sure I had ever even met him before. Maybe when he was a toddler.

The moral of the story is embrace old friends. And family. Make the time. What could be more important than the important people in your life?

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