The Ultimate Luxury

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By Diane Haynes Woodburn

Diane Haynes WoodburnBy the time you read this, the election fallout will (cross your fingers) have subsided, and we’ll be starting what I hope will be a bright and beautiful new year. It’s still 2016 as I write, but to help 2017 get off to a rousing start, we offer our annual Luxury Issue.

It’s not a hard task. Maui boasts world-class resorts, chefs admired all over the planet, oceanfront homes, iconic big waves, and open roads that all lead to Paradise. We’ve been busily working to fill these pages with tips to find it all.

In fact, in just the last month (purely in the line of duty), I’ve been to the Four Seasons for a pampered stay, a weekend at the Fairmont Kea Lani for the Noble Chef (a gala that celebrates and supports Maui’s culinary industry), and an ‘Aipono dinner in the spectacular Kapalua Cliff House — characters from The Great Gatsby would have felt right at home.

This morning, however, luxury is a distant memory. Yesterday I cooked and served a huge Thanksgiving dinner. Today I awoke to a miserable cold, a sink full of dishes, and a deadline in two days. So I am allowing myself one last indulgence, by sharing with you “the day after Thanksgiving” from 2013. This way, I get to go back to bed (luxury!). Enjoy!

Last night we had a holiday dinner for twenty. As usual, a deadline is looming, and I am seriously behind. Our house is filled with friends and family: Jamie’s twin brother, Jeff, and his wife, Elaine, are in the guest bedroom; our son Jon, in-between rentals, is camped out in my maybe someday home office; and our Kā‘anapali friends Deb and Chris are bunking in my husband’s office. This means my “desk” is once again the kitchen table.

I’ve almost cleared enough space in the kitchen to start breakfast, when Jamie comes in and starts clattering pots and pans. “I think I’ll make some liliko‘i butter,” he announces. Jeff emerges and begins assembling our first-ever fake Christmas tree. I move to the kitchen table and try to work. (Ours is a great room — kitchen, dining room and living room all in one big, open, unsoundproofed space.)

“I’ll get breakfast going as soon as Jamie clears a space on the stove,” I promise. “Oh, no need,” Elaine says. “I’ll bring out the leftovers.”

I retreat to the far end of the table to make room. Jamie leans in behind me to read over my shoulder. “What’s the theme?” he asks. “Luxury,” I reply. “As in, ‘a room of one’s own,” I mutter to myself. Debby joins us, dressed in flannel PJs, and offers to adorn the tree. Elaine volunteers as elf, and I cave in to the food and fun as well.

An hour later, guilt gets the better of me, and I begin to clear the table, hoping to get some work done, when Jon emerges from the office that just won’t happen. “Ham and eggs?” I offer.

“You may as well leave it all out,” Debby advises. And she’s right. Jamie brings the gardener in for pie; our neighbor stops in to pick up the dish he left last night, and sits down to gab. My nephew drops by for a sandwich, and our two other sons arrive to hit the buffet line. By now, I’m looking around for a spot to put a cash register, or a menu board with the day’s specials.

The day is nearly over, and l haven’t finished a tenth of what I had hoped. Then I take a deep breath and look around. Right here, right now, is real luxury: a home filled with family, friends, laughter and food.

I head back to my computer, grinning.  “What are you doing?” Jamie asks.

“I’m trying to work.”

“Oh, right,” he says. “Pass the potatoes.”

Wishing you a year filled with family, friends, food and joy. And perhaps, a room of one’s own. (I finally did get that room, in 2015.)


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