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The word Aloha means multiple things in Hawaiian. I’m using it to say goodbye in this instance. Unless you’ve been sleeping beneath a rock during the past month, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the wildfires that struck Maui, killing well over a hundred and destroying the historic whaling town of Lahaina.
Maui has had a special meaning to me and my family. My father first took me there in 1974 as a father-son bonding. It was a miserable bonding trip since my emotionally dead father couldn’t relate to his teenage son and scheduled flower tours instead of ocean sports. My father loved Maui so much that he asked that his ashes be spread in the ocean outside Lahaina. It was a desire I granted in 2017.

My father made up that 1974 failure ten years later when he paid for my honeymoon at his Maui timeshare. My wife and I secured well-paying jobs post-marriage, so we continued to visit Maui about every other year until we invested in our own timeshare just west of Lahaina in 1999 for the last two weeks of the year surrounding end-of-year vacations. We didn’t miss more than a year. Many of my books are written around Maui, Lahaina, and historic Front Street. My son grew up spending every Christmas vacation in Maui. Those were terrific vacations. I will miss the beautiful sunsets over the neighboring island of Lanai and watching the ocean expectantly for the humpback whale beaches. I got my advanced scuba certificate at Lahaina Divers, which burned down with the rest of Front Street. We were regulars the restaurants like Long i’s, Kemos, and even the crappy Bubba Gump’s. Every Sunday morning, we attended Maria Lanakai church, built in 1847, making it the oldest Catholic Church west of the Mississippi. Following services, we’d stroll down Front Street to Cheeseburgers in Paradise to sip Mimosas and eat a fried egg on a cheeseburger while staring out at the neighboring island of Moloka’i. Miracle of miracles the church survived the blaze while the rest of Lahaina burned. I was glad to see that the 150-year-old banyan tree in central Lahaina is still staying. I feel fortunate that after twenty years, we sold our timeshare to a Canadian family who can start their own memories in 2021. The COVID shutdown had destroyed the Front Street restaurant business and many of the old tourist activities and haunts.
For the moment, I’ll survive with my fond memories, reminded of the many photos I took. This really isn’t about me when so many lost everything. I can only pray for the survivors while donating to the Red Cross. I don’t believe this wildfire was the result of climate change. Anyone familiar with the island’s history knows the mountains surrounding Lahaina yearly burn. This year was made worse by high winds. Still, democrats can never pass up any opportunity to push their agenda.