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Monday, October 05, 2009

You Want Me To Do WHAT?

The last day the store was open, Wednesday, was just a lousy day. Not that there weren't terrific moments in it; there were. It was just a bad day in the sense that it was the last day. However, there were some wonderful highlights thanks to wonderful friends:

* Mel Kernahan, a longtime customer, friend, and noted anthropologist, stopped by and gave me an autographed copy of her book; "White Savages in the South Pacific", a first-hand account of her days in Tahiti and the Cook Islands and the changes that took place in the 50's, 60's, and early 70's. I was, needless to say, touched by her kind gesture.

* Mark and Lisa, also longtime friends of House of Tiki, stopped by with ice cream and lots of hugs.

* Carol brought cookies. And also hugs.

* Sondra came by, literally at the drop of a hat, to help when things got busy and a little crazy.

* Lance showed up to offer moral support in the form of Mai Tais. Yes, he brought me Mai Tais. And yes, I drank them during store hours. On duty. Because as he so aptly put it; "Who's gonna fire you?"

It was a long, hard day. But I do have to say, as emotional as it was, it couldn't have been a more fitting so-long for House of Tiki. All day, Wes had been calling and texting from Hap's (his mom) place in Washington. I was sending updates as I could, but it was very busy. So he kept making me promise that I would call when I had a break because it was "URGENT" that he talk to me. I said I would, but I never got that chance. Until AFTER the doors had finally closed at 5:30.

I turned off the "OPEN" sign for the last time and let the bamboo window blinds down while Lance helped me take down the closing banner and bring the last of the tikis in. Once I said goodbye to Lance and got a farewell hug, I went back inside and just sat down behind the counter for a minute. I looked around the nearly empty store, gave a quick sigh, wiped away a tear or two, then I picked up the phone to call Wes. When he answered, I apologized for not being able to get back to him until now. Then he said:

"Are you sitting down?"

"Yes, why?"

"Because I need you to do something."

"Okay. What?

"There's a ticket waiting for you at the airport. I want you to get on a plane and come up here to Hap's."

"Um...You want me to do WHAT?"

"I think you need to come up here. Call Charlie, and talk to him. Hap and I want you to come up here. We need to talk and you need to get away now that the shop is closed. Just do it."

:::laughing::: "You're crazy. You're both crazy."

"I know. Can you come? Will you call Charlie and then call me back? Your ticket is on hold. All I need is the word from you, but I need it soon."

"Well, yeah I guess. I'll call Charlie."

"Okay, call me back as soon as you can."

I sat there, in the quiet store, and shook my head. Crazy guy. Flying by the seat of his pants. Gets an idea in his head and WHOOSH! He's off. Is this insane? Yeah. But he's been saying for years now that Charlie and I need to get up to Hap's. That it's beautiful, Hap would love us to come and he would love to show us around. But you know how that goes. We've always talked about going places together with our families; Hawaii, Mexico, Washington. The problem is that one of us would ALWAYS have to be at the store. If one of us was gone, someone had to man the ship. Now, what was to stop this fast-moving freight train? I DID have things I wanted to talk with him about with regard to the business, and he DID allude to us having things to talk about. It would be a business trip.

I called Charlie and told him about Wes and Hap's crazy idea. He did the usual Charlie thing, laughed, and said.."Well Honey, did you REALLY need to call me? It's not like you're gonna be missing work! Call Wes back and tell him you'll be on the plane." And so, that's what happened.

I went home, threw crap in a carry-on, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Seattle. Wes and Balik (Hap's incredible Alaskan Malamute) drove up to the airport curb and picked me up. Soon, we were on a mission to find crab for dinner at Pike's Market. Then, with arms full of artisan bread, fresh flowers, crab, salmon sandwiches, and some fruit, and of course stopping periodically to answer people's questions about Balik and letting him get the "rock star treatment" from passers-by, we were on the road to Anacordes, an hour and a half away. I was still shaking my head. Was I really here?

I thought of my sister Wanda, and my brother Kimo, and wished I had the time and opportunity to stop and visit them. It was a bit ironic that here, my niece Joy was somewhere in this state, about to give birth, and I was THIS close! I just didn't even know a few hours before that I was going to be here, so I never grabbed my address book. It was crazy. Simply crazy. But here I was, in Washington.

It was activity from minute one. Wes was giving me the quick tour of the city, and on the way out of the city, I joked with him about the casinos we passed and how Charlie, Loke, and Phil would love to stop at those. Then, we talked about the events of closing the store and all that transpired in such a short time. Soon, we were pulling in to Hap's driveway and receiving a warm welcome.

We walked, we hiked (YES! I hiked! Me..I hiked!), we met with friends, we ate incredible food, we saw incredible things, we rode ferries, we shared stories and we laughed. Oh, did we laugh. I forgot all about the tears and the heartache of closing the store. For weeks, sleep had eluded me. But here, I slept soundly, bundled in comfort with a belly full of wonderful seafood. Being away from everything was the perfect prescription. Just what the doctor ordered. The only thing missing was Charlie. But he was part of every conversation and everywhere we went, Wes or I would say.."Charlie would love this." Yes, we would return together. Tomorrow couldn't be too soon.

Wes and I talked, worked some things through and came to an agreed resolve. It was time to let go and move on. I didn't hurt so much anymore and I wasn't scared of what might be in the future. I had been thinking with an emotional heart and not a practical head. I was grateful to Wes and I honestly couldn't adore Hap more. She's an amazing woman. It went by in the blink of an eye, and then it was time to go back to reality. A reality that's not so frightening anymore. No matter what unfolds in the future, everything will be okay.

The Seattle Prescription