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Paradise Lost

Compromise is the key to marriages and volcanoes.

For example, my wife, Kate, who is a flight attendant, had three Maui trips back-to-back. She suggested I go with her.

“Can we afford it?” I asked. “After all, we’re trying to live on your salary while I write the Great Novel.”

“I can get you a free flight. You can stay in my hotel room in Hawaii.”

“Will I have to change rooms when you’re off flying?”

“You’ll just have to walk down a corridor,” Kate said, “I’ll have to put in ten-hour shifts, busting my buns on wide bodies.”

“OK. OK. I’ll go with you,” I said, ever willing to compromise.

She became teary-eyed. “We’ll explore Haleakala together,” she said, “It’s a magnificent and romantic volcano.”

As we flew to the Pacific Paradise, Kate, while serving lunch to 250 tourists, inadvertently gave me blue cheese dressing instead of Roquefort. I lived with it — compromise, you know.

At our hotel, the buses had left for the volcano so we went swimming in the sparkling Pacific. Kate had forgotten most of our suntan lotion and I accidentally used what there was. (My skin is more sensitive than hers.)

Kate, cussing her sunburn, woke me the next morning. I did not criticize her for forgetting the suntan lotion. Things like that happen. I say, take responsibility, move on with life.

After she left on her flight, I slept through the afternoon, then had an OK feast at a luau.

The following noon, Kate returned and woke me from a sound sleep with kisses and flowers.

Her doctor forbade her to go outdoors because of her sunburn so I was forced to attend another afternoon luau by myself. I suppose we could have gone to an evening luau together but the time difference made me ravenous. (Remember, it was because of Kate I had to deal with a strange time zone.)

The following morning, when I woke up, Kate had gone to work. A note, pinned to my pillow, said we had not yet seen the volcano and hinted of a sensual “eruption” when she flew back to me.

Realizing her sunburn might prevent her from sightseeing, I decided to visit the volcano by myself. I took Polaroids of what turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the famous crater.

Wouldn’t you know it — Kate, after working an all-nighter, woke me up by slamming our door the following noon.

I couldn’t stay annoyed long because she had brought my favorite chocolates from the mainland. (I had nothing for her — but as she said what can you get a lady who is already in paradise with the man she adores?)

Kate stared at the volcano Polaroids, then at me, then at the Polaroids, then fell asleep in her uniform.

I switched on the Olympics, figuring they would keep her awake, thus making it easier for us both to get a proper night’s rest.

Luckily she was awake too, because an airline supervisor phoned and ordered Kate to fly immediately on a rescheduled late-nighter. I postponed my luau and applied antibiotic ointment to Kate’s festering sunburn. I kissed my lovely wife goodbye and sent her off to work.

It never ceases to amaze me the way Kate can work such long shifts without sleep. I guess her cheerfulness rubbed off on me because I found myself whistling as I moved to a new room.

But the cheerfulness didn’t last — I felt sad my wife had to work all night with a sunburn. I couldn’t get to sleep. I opted for a moonlight volcano tour.

When Kate returned the following day, she wept uncontrollably over the beauty of my latest Polaroids, then collapsed onto our bed, snoring before her pretty head hit the pillow.

Romance would have to be postponed.

Did I complain? I think you know me better than that. Alone at the hotel bar, I watched the Olympics, then re-visited the volcano. Someday Kate will thank me for taking additional sunset pictures of Haleakala. I was delighted to do it for her.

Like I said — with marriage and volcanoes — you have to be willing to compromise.

How about a nice cup off Kona Coffee? Here’s how you make it?

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