She gave the traditional greeting as I stepped into her display at the local artists store near the Maui Ocean Center.
“Aloha,” I replied.
“There’s lots more shirts over here,” she said.
“Thanks, I’m just looking.”
I had decided I wanted to get a bandanna or two in an Hawai’ian pattern. “I will know it when I see it,” I told Tricia, Bruce, and Nancy.
“What are you looking for?” she persisted.
“Do you have any bandannas?” I asked.
“No,” she replied. “A number of people have asked, but I don’t.”
“Oh, well. Thank you.”
“What size would it be?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Take it off,” she pointed to the bandanna I wore.
“Is it square?” she asked as I removed it.
“I think so.”
We measured. And it was not square. Close. But not square.
“I could make you one,” she said.
“Really?” I asked.
We went to a table where she had fabrics. She moved through them. A red. A green. And then.
Black and gold. A traditional pattern. In Pittsburgh colors.
“This one,” I said.
“I don’t know,” she sounded concerned. “I could do red … ”
Her voiced trailed off. I did not understand. She turned and rummaged in a bag.
“Yes!” she said with a broad smile as she placed a skein of yellow string on the fabric.
“How many do you want?”
“How much would they cost?” I responded.
After we agreed on a price, she asked, “How long are you staying here?”
“Well, I could come back in a couple of days,” I replied.
“No. How long are you staying here today?” she asked. “Are you going to the restaurant?”
“We already ate,” I said. “But if you can make them today, I would wait.”
“I will make them,” she replied.
I went and found Tricia and told her what was happening. We wandered around the Pacific Whale Foundation and then each of us went our own way. I told her where to find my new friend and said I would meet her there.
After fifteen minutes or so, I went back. My friend was working away on a sewing machine. “Almost done,” she said.
I found Tricia. We bought a couple long sleeve shirts for our trip to Haleakala National Park. And then we went back.
“I made them a little larger than the one you had,” said the artist.
She started to bag them up. I asked her to stop and picked one up.
“You want to try it on?” she asked.
“I want to wear it out of here.”
She laughed and watched me put the bandanna on my head. “So that’s how you do it.”
“It’s my sunscreen.” She laughed again.
“I am Mark,” I said.
“I am Emi.”
“This is Tricia. And one more thing, if you are willing. I would like Tricia to take a photo of you and me.”
We ended up taking photos of Tricia and me. And Emi and me. We used Tricia’s phone. We used Emi’s phone. We laughed and smile.
I got her card. We exchanged “Mahalo” multiple times. And Tricia and I left.
I knew what I wanted. I had seen it. And with Emi’s help, I have it.
See you along the Trail.