Anticipation lit the way across Kula and into Makawao. The urge to twist Dancer's throttle into the regions of the illegal was resisted with the help of a familiar mantra chanted after a late start: "I'll get there when I get there."
Not much going on in Makawao. About right for a Monday night. The four-way stop required just a feet-up pause. Mentally giggle at a four-way stop marking the intersection of two avenues, Makawao and Baldwin, and two roads, Olinda and Kaupakalua.
Dancer jounces over the St. Joseph Church speed table and rumbles along the deteriorating asphalt into the often-practiced turns down into and out of Maliko Gulch. Another pause at the top of the rise. Down Kokomo, an avenue that invites running 45 to 50 mph. Keep it more or less legal. Run 35 in the 30-mph zone.
Very little traffic. Dancer's high beam skewers the dark. A relaxed mutter marks the motorcycle's passage between the modest houses. It's an old neighborhood that bleeds into more recent developments near the 4th Division Marine Park and along the roadside base of Puu Kauhikoa and its towering Cook pines.
The anticipation builds. For the third Monday in little more than a month, look forward to satisfying a couple of appetites by plunking down in a friendly spot and curling up in a particular kind of live music. It's fine out on the edge, but a solitary life requires occasional contact with like-minded members of the human herd.
Swing into the Haiku Market Place parking lot, one of the few on Maui that is concrete - the floor of a long-gone pineapple cannery. The slab is lumpy, the victim of rain, traffic and time. The remaining portion of the cannery is a small shopping center.
Slip Dancer into a sidewalk area past the tiny "Smoke Shop" and its "No Smoking" sign over the door. It's closed. Flip the switch and doff the helmet. The Hana Hou restaurant is an oasis of light and music in the dark. The place was built after the 1980 storm took off the cannery's roof. Look closely and you can see remnants of railroad track, probably for carts carrying pineapple mash to a drop-off point on the other side of the restaurant. A concrete landing still hangs over Haiku Road.
The Hula Honeys have drawn a respectable crowd. Monday is not normally an eat-out and party night. The two women plus a bass player have been working on Maui for decades. Monday, 6 to 9 p.m., is a weekly gig at the Hana Hou. They also play each Wednesday at Cafe O'Lei at the Dunes from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
The food and atmosphere are a frequent draw to the Hana Hou on other nights but the music is the reason to attend tonight - a smooth blend of classic island melodies and jazz performed by professionals who don't take themselves that seriously.
Ginger Johnson and Robyn Kneubuhl are the Honeys. Both grew up around entertainers who made Waikiki famous during its golden era. Robyn is the daughter of Emma Veary. Ginger's father was the house photographer at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Bass player Miles Yoshida paid his dues touring the state with a cabaret show and working with the likes of Gabby Pahinui and the Society of Seven.
Old-styled banter punctuates the songs. Both women have a lively sense of humor and don't hesitate to trade jibes with audience members. Verbally, they complement each other as well as they do musically. Take a listen to them on Maui FM, 102.9, Monday through Friday from 7 to 10 a.m.
Ginger's soprano meshes perfectly with Robyn's alto. Think Annie Ross and Diana Krall. Their harmonies are the stuff of chicken skin. Both are accomplished ukulele players with Ginger usually taking the lead. For both, think Ohta San. Miles' stand-up bass is a liquid stream of rhythm. Think Ray Brown.
The song list covers a lot of ground, from classic Hawaiian such as Andy Cummings' "Waikiki" and Gippy Cooke's "You're At A Luau Now" to swinging renditions of jazz and American songbook standards. Nearly all of them have something to do with love. The Hula Honeys closed out their performance Monday with a Nona Beamer lullaby, "Pupu Hinuhinu."
Appetites satisfied, I rode home under a half moon and in my head: "Pupu Hinuhinu / Pupu Hinuhinu e / E moe e moe / E moe e." "Shiny shell / My shiny little shell / To sleep, now to sleep / To sleep, to sleep."
* Ron Youngblood is a former staff writer for The Maui News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.