Sunday, June 22, 2014


Until last week I’d never been to Hawaii. Most of our vacations had been to visit grandmas and grandpas, all the Texas relatives and that one time I almost pushed a Huffman teenager into the Grand Canyon.
But thanks to my husband, he and I got invited to this fancy schmancy wine festival at this fancy schmancy resort on Maui. At the Ritz-Carlton.
I’d never actually set foot in a Ritz. The only Ritz I knew was the crackers in my pantry. When we go on vacation we usually end up at a Hampton Inn or an aunt’s spare bedroom. There is no “staying at the Ritz” for the Huffmans.
You know the wine festival is only four days, my husband reminded me. We might have to leave the Ritz and move to a cheaper hotel after that, he said.
I looked at him.
Yes, I’ll leave the Ritz to go stay in a budget hotel, said no woman ever.
Luckily, the Ritz took pity on our formerly Ritz-free lives and gave us a very un-Ritz discount to stay a few extra days. Perhaps they wanted to avoid the ugly scene of me being dragged from their hotel kicking and screaming. Also crying.
Good thinking, Ritz people.
Wine people are usually pretty happy, but take 1,000 wine people, send them to the Ritz on Maui to drink wine, and you get a whole lot of wine people in a really good mood. In fact, everyone on Maui was in a really good mood. It must be the flowered shirts, leis and all that Aloha-ing.
Aloha hello, Aloha goodbye, Aloha peace, Aloha spirit. You can add “Aloha” to almost anything and the more you say it, the better you feel. I can see why people visit Hawaii and never leave. It’s Aloha-gotcha.
Besides someone making the bed every day for me, I liked the Ritz pool the best. They give you not one but two towels, one for covering the lounge chair and one for drying off. The pool guy/gal comes over to take your drink order and then personally delivers your pineapple juice. At one point, a Ritz pool guy carrying a tray of fruit walked to the edge of the pool, put down the tray, dived into the water, uniform and all, and then picked up the tray and carried it around to reach those of us floating in the pool. As if we Ritz guests couldn’t possibly swim five feet to meet him at the edge of the pool. But the best part was when another Ritz pool guy came over with a little cloth and offered to clean my sunglasses for me.
I have arrived, I told the woman sitting next to me. I am never ever ever leaving the Ritz.
Of course, then I had to leave the Ritz. It was time to go home. A home where there is no pool with endless piles of freshly folded towels, I clean my own sunglasses and the pineapple comes in a can.
Aloha Maui. Aloha Ritz. I miss you already.

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