Summertime in Hawaii always worth savoring


POSTED: Sunday, August 09, 2009

Humidity, heat, threats of hurricanes, Mr. Higuchi's sublime mangoes and other physical world phenomena clearly verify the season.

Summer's also typically the interval for vacations and Linda Lingle is dutifully conforming to this custom, flying to Idaho to rub shoulders with fellow Republican governors, sans Sarah Palin, then taking “;personal time”; for a dozen or so days to hang out on the mainland.

Where exactly Lingle will go for her voluntary furlough wasn't in the news releases her office sent out, although her people painstakingly emphasized that she isn't bugging out while there is work to be done.

No contract talks with state government workers' unions are pending and she'd already inventoried the first of the women and men whose jobs she is eliminating.

Felicia isn't due to storm through the islands, if at all, until tomorrow or later in the week and she'd already reminded residents to stock up on water, flashlights, medical supplies and Vienna sausages should there be a turn for the worse.

The governor's office also stressed to the point of belaboring that she was paying for her airplane tickets, hotels and other expenses while taking time off. Not that this isn't appropriate nor is it likely a financial hardship since, as a one-person household with free room and transportation, she should be able to sock away a good chunk of her salary for rainy days or holidays.

The governor sure deserves some downtime; it's been a rough seven years. I hope she gets away from it all — maybe back-country hiking somewhere (except the infidelity-tainted Appalachian Trail), museum touring in New York City or window-shopping in Santa Fe — and isn't job- or campaign-fund hunting.

I can't blame her if she is, though; after vacating the Washington Place annex, the woman's still got to eat, and while her prospects for further political positions are many, few top the fifth floor of the state Capitol.

Besides, she may not want to continue enduring the high temperatures she has had put up with no matter the season. However, when she returns she will have to deal with the bitter chill of Hawaii's economic freeze, as will we all.

The migration of free-spending tourists that has been the usual marker for our summers is particularly thin this year and when visitors will return again in goodly numbers is anyone's guess.

A glacial financial atmosphere casts a gloomy spell over the high season, yet there is much to appreciate.

Before being called back to classes, the grandkids have the leisure to sprawl stomach-down on daybeds to read books, strum ukulele and guitar on the sofa, meander with grandma through the backyard to check out the lemon tree and dribble syrup over homemade shave ice.

Summer moons drift fat and lazy from behind the Koolaus to cast silver on the shorebreaks. Carnivals dazzle with colored lights amid munchkins' screams from thrill rides. Lychee plump with sweetness and chubby heirloom tomatoes make cameo appearances at farmers markets and Mr. Higuchi's sumptuous fruit fulfill mango cravings enough to last through autumn, winter and spring.

Cynthia Oi can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).