La Mariana

The rope braid, the tiki totems, the fishing floats and scallopshell  lamps still watch every sunset on Sand Island at the La Mariana yacht club.  The seabreezy, salt-crusted, time-tested wicker banquettes and tables laid with Heinz ketchup, too, and the waterfall grotto, minus running water.

Our visitors ask if this is a tourist bar or an old salt’s hangout—a glance at the menu prices answers that question.

I came here last with my sister—she wore a long muumuu and a warm sweater, and we ate ahi poke and cheeseburgers with our beer, the French fries tasting like so many childhood trips to Maui.  Back then you could still say Maui was O‘ahu ten years ago.  La Mariana was Maui another two decades back.  Mrs. Nahinu, then 90, kissed you at the door.

Two years have passed since her death, and kisses aren’t on the new menu.  The pianist is still blind, but gone is the playlist that included anything akin to “Beyond the Reef” and “Mapuana” and “Tiny Bubbles.”  Now when the waitress requests “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, she gets it.

Today, he tired of requests, and fiddled with piecemeal tunes before settling into Van Morrison and Carl Douglas.  Jay-Z’s remix of “Forever Young” had fallen flat and slipped away.


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