Something has been missing at our beloved condo this past week, or more accurately someone, but I’ll get to that later. This morning we slept through the rooster somehow but did manage to catch the 7:13 bus with all of our snorkel gear on board. After seeing the snorkelers at Kapalua Bay yesterday on our hike, we were eager to swim in the bay. It was a fairly easy entry but our masks were fogging something awful. A little spit and polish helped and we did see many interesting and shallow reefs, so the fish were really close up. We saw another eel and a turtle surfaced near by but we didn’t find him underwater. After about an hour or so we were tired and the waves were sloshing us around a bit more than desired. We rinsed off at the beach shower, dried off, dressed, and got back on the bus.
Today was a fresh coconut at the farmer’s market kind of morning. We grabbed enough apple bananas to get us through our final days on the island, a few more passion fruits and star fruits, just the tropical indulgences that we won’t be able to get easily on the mainland. Back at home, we spent the morning drinking coffee, eating coconut meat and enjoying the sun by the pool. I made my new favorite reinvention of an old classic party dip. We’ve all had Lipton’s sour cream and onion dip. Stir dehydrated onion mix into sour cream and serve with potato chips, right? Knowing how awesome the Maui onions are, I wanted to remake this old classic real food style. Melt a few tablespoons of cultured butter down in a large skillet and add thinly sliced and diced sweet onions. Stir often over medium high heat until caramel brown. Add two cloves of finely minced garlic and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper and then let cool. Mix with sour cream and refrigerate. Serve with chips. We heard the conch blow and headed out to the pupu party with our contribution.
Debbie, the friendly office manager, invited us to her table and we had a chance to chat with her and some friends. Greg asked after our helpful groundskeeper, Willie (no Simpson’s fans, that’s not a joke, that really is his name.) Willie was going on vacation last Friday, right before the storm and Greg asked Debbie how long he’d be gone for. Debbie gave Greg a distressed you’ve suddenly grown three heads sort of a look. No, Willie wasn’t coming back from vacation, he had passed away. What?! Apparently his flight was rescheduled during the storm, she had contacted him on Saturday looking for the number for the exterminator and figured he didn’t answer since he was on vacation. His best friend hadn’t heard from him for a few days and he hadn’t made it to his vacation destination. I guess while Greg was surfing on Sunday we missed the ambulance and the news that Willie was found in his apartment. Debbie thought all the tenants had heard the news and apologized, thinking we’d known. We finished the evening chatting with neighbors and friends with a distracted concern in the corner of our minds.
We dedicate this post to the memory of Willie and while we did not know him well or know him for long, we enjoyed his company and his labors. He kept the grounds immaculate and swept the stray leaves from our front door each day. He watered all of the orchids and kept a beautiful herb garden by the BBQ grills. Willie helped us combat the larval invasion of week one and helped us secure our patio furniture before the maybe big storm of last week. Now he is gone. His Bronco with the West Side marlin sticker sits idle in the parking lot and dry leaves collect in the hallways. Death is a part of life, even in paradise. Life goes on here, but even knowing you for a few weeks, we miss you Willie. Your hard work and your calm presence are missed in this beautiful place. Peace be with you, friend. Peace be with you.