The daughter took my wife, who has always had a keen interest in fabrics, to the Aiea Fabric Mart. It is no surprise that this massive store is located in Aiea. We will have to spend much more time in Hawaii before we get the hang of pronouncing town names like Aiea. My wife reported that she felt like she was in heaven, that is, heaven within a tropical paradise. You can hardly do better than that. (Photos by Tom Sadowski)
The daughter took my wife, who has always had a keen interest in fabrics, to the Aiea Fabric Mart. It is no surprise that this massive store is located in Aiea. We will have to spend much more time in Hawaii before we get the hang of pronouncing town names like Aiea. My wife reported that she felt like she was in heaven, that is, heaven within a tropical paradise. You can hardly do better than that. (Photos by Tom Sadowski)
This is it. It’s our last day. The tide quickly turned from beaches and bicycles and touring around to cleaning up and packing. The daughter was flying off first so in a moment of bonding, she took my wife shopping to a fabric store my wife had wanted to visit. It’s heartwarming: apparently nothing joins a mother and daughter closer than shopping together.

Driving around and back and forth to the airport so many times we witnessed the transformation Hawaii is undergoing in a gradual conversion to alternative energy. Major wind farms are starting to dot the landscape, solar water heaters are present on a lot of roofs and a large base of solar electric panels is now installed on a great many buildings. We were recently in Miami and it’s nothing like that there. What’s the difference? It must be either the humidity or the political climate.

There is too much stuff to pack. How did we accumulate the extra baggage over two weeks? I complain that we have too many things to take back while my wife disagrees: the problem is that there is not enough room in the bags and that the baggage restrictions are too stringent.

At the airport we check our two bags. The limit is 50 pounds each. One is at 40 the other at 60. There is nothing that pleases me more than opening luggage at a crowded airport and transferring dirty laundry from one bag to the other. I root around for heavier objects like shoes and pipe wrenches. You would be surprised how much a 24-inch steel pipe wrench weighs. Finally both bags are of equal weight.

The big bag closes easily but the baggage handler actually comes and stands on the smaller bag so that I can zip it shut. “Wow,” says I, “that bag is so stuffed it looks like it’s going to explode.” I am immediately taken down by federal agents. No, just kidding. I would never use the word “explode” within 5 miles of an airport. As it was, I had to try really hard to stifle myself to keep from making jokes about transporting a tiny submachine gun in my wife’s midget gangster-like ukulele case.

We are begrudgingly let past security. While I wait in line to board, my wife goes to seek food we can take on the plane because on the way over, there was no food service. I ask her to be careful not to bring any smelly food that might bring us unwanted attention or even an attack by hungry passengers. She returns with a hot pizza.

Luckily we got on a 777 which is a more comfortable aircraft than any we have taken so far. We are far luckier than our daughter who texted us that the plane she boarded was so old, each seat still had ash trays built into the arm rests. The flight map shows that in 4 hours we will be crossing over land just around the US-Mexico border. We are headed to Dallas-Fort Worth. How on earth, I wonder, do you put enough fuel on a plane to get it from Honolulu to Dallas?

I check the seats in front of me and do not detect any babies. We lift off after sunset. Since the flight is so interminably long, I search for two or three movies that are deep enough to keep the mind occupied but not overworked. From the seat behind me a small but very shrill voice chants “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama …” as the volume incrementally increases.

I slip on my noise-canceling headphones and adjust the audio.