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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

The real meaning of “Aloha” in Hawaiian is Love, Peace, and Compassion.

I took a red-eye flight departing the Midwest at night to arrive in Honolulu on the main island of Hawaii bright and early, twelve hours later. I knew that I could sleep on the plane. For reasons lost in time, my plane was diverted on weary peregrinations up and down the west coast of the continental United States. I think that I recall a middle-of-the-night transfer to a different plane where all passengers were herded like sleepy toddlers from one plane across the runway tarmac to another plane with flight attendants running our luggage along side of us, but that may have been a bizarre dream. Ultimately I arrived in Hawaii at 3:00 AM in the middle of a subsequent night. As part of my tour package, I had purchased an “Aloha Greeting with floral lei” adding me on to another group who were being greeted by hula dancers at the airport, but I was a day late for that. My wait at the baggage claim was also unrequited, and I toured my first several days in Honolulu living out of my carry-on bag. Finally, enough was enough and I waltzed into the finest Waikiki beach resort retail shop that I could find to buy vacation clothes, with full intention of charging all of it to the president of the airline. My bill to him included: floral muumuu which local ladies my age wore but which I knew would make me stand out like the geekiest tourist in Hawaii but I had always wanted one, sandals, and lace underwear which I had never before purchased because they did not look comfortable. The last aforementioned was scratchy and oddly lumpy but very pretty. The airline president responded to my complaint letter and receipts with a prompt check for same. I think he might also have sent a personal letter of apology. The afternoon of my defiant purchases in Waikiki, the airline called to tell me that my luggage had arrived, which was fortunate for me as I had been unable to find my usual travel attire of protective walking shoes, wool socks, cotton underwear, baggy jean-and-shirt ensembles to discourage attention on my solo explorations, and a granny swimsuit in a nice shade of black.

In that Waikiki beach resort retail shop were also some nicely handcrafted offerings made by local artists. I purchased a hinged shell case of perfectly matched, luminescent white shells, for a fraction of its value. Most who browse through that upscale shop could have afforded to pay much more than a fiver for something so unique. I asked where I could visit the artist, but no one knew. I bought a silk flower lei of white ginger which I hung on my rear view car visor for many, many years thereafter.

Caption: Annmarie Throckmorton In Pretty Old Lady Muumuu At A Waikiki Resort, Hawaii 1998.

—photographs by Annmarie Throckmorton, Hawaii 1998.

Caption: Hinged Shell Case And Charms, Hawaii 1998.

—Scan by Annmarie Throckmorton.

I purchased the Hawaiian-themed charms,

at a Walmart located at the base of Mauna Loa volcano.

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