In 1995 a happy convergence of events gave me the opportunity to go to Hawaii to meet up with my wife who was returning from an international business trip. I met up with her in Honolulu and, after spending a day and a night on Oahu, we caught an inter-island flight to Maui where we would spend a week. In the days to come, I would learn of a letter written by Samuel Clemmens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, regarding his own visit to the Hawaiian islands. His words summed up perfectly my feelings about the place:
No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong charm for me but that one; no other land could so longingly and beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.
I understand Twain’s thoughts on the matter – the place continues to haunt my dreams, too. I’ve kept up with matters going on in Hawaii as much as the distance allows. So it is with great sadness that I read this morning that one of the facets of that trip, my inter-island flight on Aloha Airlines, will continue on only as a ghost in my memory. Aloha has announced that it will shut down after today. I’ll leave them to tell the tale themselves but I will join in their farewell words:
Thank you, Aloha, and farewell: Mahalo – Aloha Oe…