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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Note From Pua

It's hard to describe. My heart is heavy, but also overflows with gratitude at the same time. It's hard to imagine that House of Tiki will be no more. Yet, there is no mistaking that it has indeed, left a footprint. For me, a bit more, a handprint on my heart.

Through H.O.T., I've met some of the best people in the world. People who have become more than friends. I have a hanai brother, Wes, to add to the 7 brothers and 6 sisters born to my 'ohana. And I have my hanai keiki Justin ("Juice!") to add to an already overflowing pu'uwai. To me, they couldn't be any more true kama'aina than if they had Hawaiian blood flowing through their veins. We will forevermore be family.

The Aloha Spirit I felt when I first came to H.O.T. I found in Sharon, her daughter Kaytee, and in Wes and his son Justin. It was home away from home and like a tonic to a homesick Hawaiian. That is how it's been these years.

There have been the highest highs and now the lowest low, but its been a great ride.

I want to thank everyone who has shown us love these past few days. Since we made the announcement, the outpouring has been phenomenal. I want to mention everyone by name, but the list would go on and on. There are, however, some House of Tiki 'ohana that deserve mention because they bent over backwards to help us and would not accept "we're fine" as an answer:

Lance; you're the man. Coming by nearly everyday to ask what you could do to help. Standing behind that shave ice machine for 10 hours straight and then standing behind your own tiki bar for a couple more to nurse our wounds and battle scars with your fabulous MaiKai Mai-Tais. Thank you Dear Friend.

Sharon, Gary, Kaytee, & the Tropical Paradise Dancers; Mahalo nui. In true Aloha, you offered your time and talent and turned what could have been a sad day into a celebration. Thank you. Sharon, thank you for the special trip you made to help us out. I wish I cold put into words how much that meant. You are an angel.

Caris, Charlie, Averie, Juice,...You've always busted 'okole. You've been there through everything and worked your tails off. You always said; "How can I help?" and "What can I do?" and you never asked "What's in it for me?" You did what you did because your hearts were always in the right place and always at the right time, and because you loved us. Thank you.

Sis, Phil, Rick, Trent...It was a long way to come for just a hug and a kiss, but you did that because that is who you are and that is why I love you. Thank you for always listening to my rants. Thank you for always providing a soft place to land, an ear, a shoulder, and always, without question a good laugh when laugh therapy was needed. You know that there will be more tears, and you give me the freedom to do that without judgement and you hug me through the hard parts. There will be no more House of Tiki, but I know there will always be your love for me and that is the greatest comfort of all. I love you.

Jim Dow. I don't know what else to say but thank you for always being there at the drop of a hat. Whenever. Whatever. And again without ever once expecting anything in return. You're a good, good person and I look forward to seeing you at happy events outside of the hut.

Big Ed; Mahalo for the special trip. As you could probably tell by the end of the day Saturday..it wasn't without merit. You "rock" and I'll miss those Big Ed bear hugs.

Nick; the fact that you drove ALL THAT WAY to support us and to say Aloha will always be something I look on as special. It really meant so much to see you there. Thank you. I hope your son is loving his "surfing ants". :)

Holden; I honestly don't have words. Mahalo. From the bottom of my heart. From the words of encouragement through a really hard week, to your generosity in keeping our shelves stocked with the best mugs in the world, and for always listening with a kind ear and an open heart. Most of all, thank you for being there Saturday. It meant more to me than you can know.

To the TC 'Ohana who wrote notes and sent emails...mahalo for your heartfelt wishes. I know this isn't the end. It's just the beginning of new adventures.

To the friends and customers who've come through the years...thank you for your support. If I've forgotten anyone, please forgive me and know that you are in my heart and I am grateful.

Finally, to my hanai brother Wes; though it is heartbreaking to see our little hut close, we did what we could to nurture it. Because of that, friendships were made, bonds were formed, and new family was born. I watched you pour out a generous heart year after year. In my small kid days; my uncle always told me to do what you could with what you had, even if what you had was only manini (little). I've seen you do that again and again. You gave when you had little and you never expected a return. 'Ohana is more than just a word for family. Hanai goes beyond adopted family. It is the life which revolves around the extended family and the clan. It is a group of both closely and distantly related people who share nearly everything: land, food, children, status, and most importantly; the Spirit of Aloha. You have been more to me than the owner of a little shack of Aloha here on the Mainland. You are my friend. You are truly my brother. I adore you and I have been blessed and honored to have shared this experience with you. Me ke Aloha pumehana my dear and beloved friend. I do not know where the wind will blow us, but I know that there are new adventures ahead. This is not goodbye. Remember...Kulia i Kanu'u and IMUA! Malama Pono, Pua

Aloha `oe, aloha `oe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A ho`i a`e au
Until we meet again. (Queen Lili'uokalani, 1878