At the upcountry lavender farm we meet Deborah who just started working there again. We discuss the art work they have on display, the plein art painters and art festivals on Maui. She writes the name and contact info for one of her friends in the plein air group. I call his studio and he returns my call the next day. To tell me he had tried to send me the schedule but somehow had been given my email address with a mistake in it. He invites me to paint with the group any time I want. Unfortunately, it's near the end of our trip and the dates don't work for me. He sends me an email and suggests I join them next time we are on island.
On Valentine's Day we stop to share shave ice in Kahului. A couple who also are eating shave ice readily agree to take our photo with my iPhone: one of the nicest photos of us on this trip. They come to Maui every year. It's where they were born. They now live in Washington State. Another man, also enjoying a shave ice, tentatively strikes up a conversation with us. His manner is reticent: he doesn't want to intrude if we don't want to talk. But we are happy to chat. He shares that he's a firefighter who lives in Hana. Spending a couple of days on this side of the island for SCUBA training. He describes some of the variety of rescues firefighters are involved in on island. He waves at us to end our conversation as he answers his cell. We hear his happy greeting:"Happy Valentine's Day." He misses his Sweetie on this day. Later that day we hear of a daring, successful rescue in Haiku by firefighters from Hana and Kahului of a young man who has fallen 40 feet from a waterfall. We wonder if the firefighter we met is among the rescuers.
Then there's the couple who share some of the shade from their umbrella during the Whale Day festival. And the tall Hawaiian man whose shade I stand in while waiting to buy Italian ice. He notices my pale skin and graciously offers to let me go ahead of him if I'm worried about getting too much sun. I thank him and say I'm happy to stand in his shade. The Italian ice seller, who despite the line of customers, takes time to offer me a sample of flavors and assures me all are gluten free. No one in line appears to mind the delay. I've bought a couple of extra "script": the young couple with a baby graciously thank me when I give them the unused food tickets.
A little connection with the guitarist / singer who performs with John Cruz on the evening of Whale Day. We go to the evening concert at Stella Blues. After getting cleaned up, I wear my lei from Valentines Day. From the stage the accompanist asks me if it is my birthday since I'm wearing a lei. I suppose that is the traditional decoration to wear on your birthday. I deny it's my birthday, just reusing the lei from Valentine's Day I say. When he and Cruz finish their performance and leave the stage, he gently taps my shoulder and says, "Happy birthday, anyway."
This morning I help a woman who looks like she needs a steadying hand as she climbs down a few rocks to the beach. She invites me to join her in painting. Maybe next time--we are leaving tomorrow. She gives me her card, tells me she is on island every year about the same time we are. She and her husband live in San Jose. That's the same city where we stopped on our way to Maui to visit an old friend from college. We talk about San Jose and staying in touch with old friends. Strange how you find connections.