In 1986-87, I was on sabbatical at The University of Hawaii, where I did research and taught. While there, I read about but never visited the island of Molokai. That island had a reputation for having had an isolated sanctuary/colony for sufferers of leprosy, but other than that, the general impression was that Molokai was not very exciting or even interesting.
Last fall our friends were telling us about how they and some other people we know spend months, every year, on Molokai. I was surprised and asked them about what the attraction was. They told us that where they spend their time is in a condo complex on the west coast of the island. It is isolated, relaxed, peaceful, calm, and it has wonderful views of sunsets.
We were later told that Molokai has NO stoplights, NO elevators, NO escalators, and no buildings taller than a moderate-sized palm tree. The nearest grocery store to the condo complex is 21 miles away. These facts capture an important aspect of the island. They are proud of their slow-paced lifestyle, and they fiercely defend it.
When our friends suggested we should visit them, we hesitated, partly due to the expense and partly because I'm involved in several shows in London. Fitting a trip in between shows looked possible, though, so I conferred with the director/producer of Cabaret in which I have a couple of minor roles (March 21-31, McManus Theatre, London Ontario), and obtained approval to miss rehearsals for the week we would be gone.
It's a long flight. It could be uncomfortable being cooped up for 9 hours, and we're old. So we booked first-class tickets. The flight from Chicago's O'Hare to Honolulu was on a United Boeing 777. I was surprised at how poorly equipt it was in the first class section: no plug-ins for recharging phones or laptops, no seat-back screens for watching movies, the red wine they served was ice cold, limited music selection. But there was one amazing redeeming feature: serviettes (napkins) with a buttonhole in the corner.
I had seen these a number of years ago on a flight, and over the past few years I've sewn buttonholes into many of our cloth serviettes here at home. Here is why:
Serviettes with buttonholes are SO sensible, I'm surprised restaurants don't provide them.
Our friends greeted us and took photos as we disembarked from the plane.
My older son, David Ricardo Palmer, wondered whether we'd flown Islay airlines and had gone to Islay (home of several of his and my favourite scotch distilleries). Nope. That was Island Air.