An extraordinary evening with friends…

Spotting these yellow tipped stamen on these Anthurium was a first for us.

Last night we made our way to Cathi and Rick’s beautiful home for dinner arriving at 5:45, smack dab in the middle of the suggested 5:30 to 6:00 pm. It’s funny when one is invited within a range of time how we contemplate whether to show up at the earliest point in the range or the latest or, in our case, the middle in order to play it safe. 

I only recall too well when we often invited dinner guests, how difficult it was when they showed at our door a little too early while we were still getting dressed or washing the kitchen floor after a messy day of cooking.

This is a view easily found in many backyards of homes in Princeville.

Having been out to dinner with Cathi and Rick in the past with another friend in attendance, and together at a few parties, the prospect of spending an evening at their home became much more intimate. 

As we all know, a four person dinner party can go one way or another with people you don’t know so well. In our old lives, we usually entertained longtime friends always able to count on having a fabulous evening. 

With the history of times spent together combined with mutual interests, humorous stories and lively banter, a good time was always expected and achieved. But, with new friends, it’s easy to experience a bit of trepidation as to how the evening will go.

The St. Regis Hotel down the road from us doesn’t seem to mind when tourists stop by for photos as we’ve done here.

Last night was no exception. Our inability to reciprocate by an invitation to our tiny condo leaves us feeling a little frustrated. Throw in the reality of my restrictive diet, inviting us could easily become a nightmare for a host.

To lighten the risk of any extra work for our hosts over what to cook we’ve always brought along a few items to add to any meat, fish or poultry dish they may be preparing. By doing so, the hosts can prepare any main dish and sides, they choose, leaving me a four or five ounce portion of the protein included in the dish.

Last night, we brought six of our homemade Low Carb Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins which they loved, (I’ve already sent Cathi the recipe this morning) and a low carb salad, hoping these additions would defray the concern. 

African Tulip trees are seen throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

I can easily recall how difficult it was over the years entertaining guests that were vegetarians or with certain food allergies, worrying there wouldn’t be enough food they could eat, resulting in my spending considerable time researching and preparing appropriate additions to the meal. This extra effort was never expected but was always appreciated.

With their plan to cook filet mignon and mahi mahi on their grill, we were thrilled. With no grills allowed at our condo, having grilled meat was appealing to both of us. It was delicious, cooked perfectly, seasoned with finesse. In addition, Cathi steamed a huge batch of al dente asparagus topped with butter, which added to our wonderful meal. 

Tropical plants and trees are blooming now that it’s spring. Hawaii’s year round warm climate experiences seasons, although they’re less pronounced than in other parts of the world.

The entire meal was comparable to one of those delicious meals we make for ourselves almost every single night; a protein, a vegetable, a salad and a low carb grain, starch and sugar free muffin. 

With our hosts at ease over the meal and us, especially at ease knowing I wasn’t having to refuse one item after another, the dining portion of our evening couldn’t have gone better. They set a Martha Stewart worthy table with linen napkins, woven placemats and Hawaii appropriate dinnerware. Add the candlelight on the lanai, a drink for Tom, drinks for themselves and the best iced tea I’d had in years.

At the end of the road at Anini Beach.

Many moons ago, when we lived in Minnesota, I’d often go to lunch at a chain restaurant with friends or client that has long since wafted away, the Good Earth. What I always remember about that “healthy” restaurant which eventually went out of business was their flavorful iced tea.

Last night, when Cathi poured me a glass of iced tea, my taste buds went into a frenzy over the spicy yet sweet (no sugar added of any kind) flavored tea. “This tea is amazing,” I told Cathi.

This may be a Fishtail Palm Tree.

“Its the same tea they served at the Good Earth restaurant many years ago,” she told me with a wide smile on her pretty face. We both broke into laughter. Indeed it was the Good Earth’s tea a remnant of years long ago, the exact same recipe.

Much to my surprise and delight, she insisted I accept an entire box of tea bags so I could make my own, at least while we’re still here in Kauai. I’ll savor each and every tea bag either hot or cold. She buys it online by the case. I wish I could do the same but, with baggage restrictions and space limitations doing so would be a frivolity.

From the dinner or the lanai, to standing at the granite topped island in their gorgeous kitchen in their equally gorgeous home, to Rick sharing some of his professional music skills with us, to sitting on the comfy sofa in their living room as the evening waned, every moment was memorable.

More interest buds on a scrub. 

The laughter, the freaky commonality that Cathi and I share in many details of our lives, the hysterical banter with Tom and Rick at times poking fun at us girls for our “overly detailed” organizational skills, every moment was filled with warmth and a blooming friendship one doesn’t easily find in this world.

This is in no manner is intended to diminish the quality of all the fabulous friends we’ve made both here in Kauai, Marloth Park and other parts of the world. 

Memories easily flood our minds of many friendships we’ve made in these past  months in Kauai, going back as far as our first few days on the island when we met Vicki and Jerry at Hanalei Beach or, the fabulous time we had last Friday night with Alice and Travis and of course, our friend Richard…and everyone in between.

New macro photo of tiny wild flowers, as small as a bean.

Perhaps, these friendships mean all the more to us with our vagabond lifestyle. Perhaps, the fact that we’ve simplified our lives to a degree that “less is more” we’ve come to appreciate friendships in an entirely new light.  That’s not to say we didn’t love and appreciate the friends in our old lives. We did more than we can say and will always love and miss them. But, everything is different now.

Oh, and I should mention that Cathi and Rick have also been to Kruger National Park on safari (soon to return) and fully grasp the power and depth of feeling such an experience embeds into one’s heart for a lifetime. 

We even went as far as to discuss the possibility of meeting up in Africa in the year of my 70th birthday (Tom’s pacifies me with this possibility when I say I miss Africa) to see what we all had missed; the gorillas in Rwanda, Victoria Falls, the Rovos Rail and more. One never knows what lies ahead.

Exquisite colorful plants and shrubs are found everywhere in the Hawaiian Islands.

For now, they’ve invited us to two more events, both beach parties, both coming up this weekend, both of which we’ll excitedly attend. We thank them for including us in their lives, for opening up their home and their hearts to us, for the laughter and for an evening we’ll always remember.

To respect their privacy, we haven’t included any photos of them or their home. However, snapshots of our evening together will always have a place in our hearts and minds.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2014:

My dinner plate, a mixed grill, one year ago in Marrakech at a local restaurant in the souk was excellent. Our story described the nuances of living with a household staff of our, two of whom were in attendance almost daily from 9 am until 7:00 pm. Please click here for details.

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