Thirty-five years ago, after life and love curdled in the cauldron of South Texas, I followed the example of my pioneer forebears and turned my face to the West, resolved to put as much distance between me and my troubles as I could manage. A quick map search showed me that 1400 land miles and 2500 ocean miles separated me from Texas if I hauled my ass to Maui, Hawaii, gem of the Pacific. On May 20, 1980, at the still tender age of 36 years old, I boarded a jet plane and chased after the mauves and golds and crimsons of the setting sun.
To describe all the wonders I found on Maui and how she changed me would fill the covers of several novels. Some of the adventures will find their way into these Coming of Age Croneicles as stories, but for now, I would like to introduce you to the Ladies of the Round Table.
Charley’s Saloon was a local hangout and eatery located in the tiny ocean side village of Paia on the windward side of Maui. Far back in the corner of the bar was a round wooden table, cigarette scorched, pockmarked and gouged with lovers’ initials, where six, eight, sometimes ten of us gathered nearly every day – the Ladies of the Round Table. We hailed from many places on the Mainland, predominantly California, but New York had a representative, as did Washington, Ohio and New Mexico. I was newly transplanted from Texas with a burr still stuck under my saddle and a twang on my tongue. We ranged in age from 30 to 40 years. Most of us were divorced or separated, some had almost-grown children, and all of us were searching — for what, we really didn’t know, whatever was missing from our lives, I suppose.
We whispered and raged, laughed until we cried, cried until we laughed, and lifted our voices in shaky harmony with whatever song played on the jukebox. We shared our stories and our quests, sympathized and praised, questioned and explored.
The Ladies were a vibrant source of fun and inspiration for over two years but slowly dwindled and disappeared as life’s journeys sent us in different directions. What we shared there, though, what we learned and how we grew, never diminished and never disappeared. Every one of us was transformed in some measure around that table.
Let’s create our own virtual Round Table here in these Coming of Age Croneicles, a place to meet and share and learn and grow, our table nestled in a grove of palm trees at the very edge of a white sand beach with padded chairs for our old bones, our eyes entertained by the vibrant colors of hibiscus and bougainvillea and our nostrils teased with the perfume of paradise by pikake blossoms. Why not conjure up a rainbow to shimmer at us every afternoon and a champagne rain to stop by and caress our faces while we’re at it?
Think of it. No dressing up, no slathering on make-up, no ratting our hair, no jumping into a car. Just a group of crones comfy in our pajamas lounging in a favorite chair with a glass of cardboardeaux of choice on the table beside us, visiting, swapping stories, sharing, laughing and making life better and brighter and lighter for us all. What do you say? Shall we give it a whirl? Care to join me at the Round Table?
Then please, stop by anytime. You’ll find stories, memoirs and jottings on random topics here on the Home page and quotes from some of the greatest minds of our world in the Voices section. I invite you to follow these Coming of Age Croneicles by subscribing to email notifications of new material. Your comments are welcome and will be appreciated.
I hope to see you soon. Until then –
Aloha nui loa