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Lunch at the Waiehu Golf Course Clubhouse

April 10, 2013 - Ray Tsuchiyama

My friend Ted called me and asked me if I was open for lunch. I said yes. I expected we would go to a restaurant at noon, but instead he said he would pick me up at 11:15 AM.

Ted is un-Mauian in that he is punctual; he is a small businessman and quite proud of his ethics and hard work. He also drives a big Toyota Tacoma truck.

After entering Lower Main Street we cut right to Kahului Beach Road that led into Kahekili Highway. Peering at the large homes now on hillsides to the left, I asked Ted what was “around here” when he was a boy. He replied, “Nothing, there was nothing.”

At Waihee Ball Park we turned right on Halewalu Road into the increasingly familiar bumpy way to the Waiehu Golf Course – and yes, I was returning for lunch.

At that time of day, the Waiehu Golf Course parking lot was full. We found a stall along the hillside where there is an ominous sign that declared “Park at your Own Risk” – golf balls from the upper “back” Nine Holes may somehow change trajectory and crash into windshields.

As we walked in the bright sun I told Ted of my fears of a golf ball attack on his truck like a Kim Jong-Un rocket barrage, and he dismissed such bad luck, bad balls with a simple wave. Ted was fearless. Or he had been there too many times.

He also had memorized the Waiehu Golf Course Café O’Lei restaurant menu. Even before we entered the restaurant from the back (workmen were drilling and fixing something, like the front doors), he said that he will have the fish special.

The friendly waitresses all knew Ted. He stopped to say hello to trio of golfers. After I sat down, one golfer cried out my name: he was a CEO of a local firm. I asked about his Dad, and he was grateful that I mentioned him (it is unusual in our time that the CEO’s father had an office next-door, but it was a Maui family-run business that dated from before World War II).

The waitress updated us on the specials – and indeed there was an ahi “special”, and Ted immediately ordered that. I had the roast pork plate with rice and macaroni salad (no pork adobo today). We both had iced tea.

At what I believed was an “early” lunch, there were many people wandering in. Some had burgers, some had saimin, others had the katsu-don special. Some looked happy – and these individuals were usually retired. Waiehu was great – a club of happy people.

Ted pointed to a rise by the clubhouse and reminisced that some years before people took practice shots from that high perch and some fell by golfers trying to maneuver into Hole 9 (my approach shots were pretty good for that one).

Back to lunch: my roast pork plate was enormous, with so much gravy it looked like the Missouri River had overrun my two scoops of rice, and I valiantly forked quickly to save my macaroni salad from becoming part of the massive brown gravy pool. A losing battle, yet I did eat a lot. I barely could finish it all. Ted left a clean plate and looked like a Chesire Cat with a wide grin and satisfied demeanor. The waitress said something about ice cream, but we both shook our heads simultaneously.

Ted drove us back to Kahului in his big truck, and we talked more about our fathers in the Maui Class of ’37, and about our fathers’ passing – coincidently in the same year, as well. Although we did not know each other until a year and a half ago, we shared common threads in our family histories. That is, if my father had never left Maui in 1940, he and Ted’s father would have continued to be good friends, and Ted’s life and my life would have intertwined through many decades.

When I arrived home that evening, I said to spouse C. that I wanted a “smaller”-portion dinner (salmon, rice, broccoli, Japanese cucumbers) and she complimented me that I was working hard on a healthy eating program. I nodded weakly; after cooking the salmon and then munching through dinner, I could barely move out of the couch the rest of the evening.


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