A Maile Lei for the Blogosphere

Maile LeiJust in time for Memorial Day. It certainly took long enough. Why was the maile being so elusive? At the last minute I thought about Flower Fair — a little floral shop at the top of Fort Street next to Hawaii Pacific University. I pass it at least three or four times a week. Sometimes I stop in just to breathe the fragrances there.

I stepped in the door of their shop the other day and there it was! Hanging right there on the refrigerator doors. Waiting… for me. I’m sure it was waiting for the person that ordered it, but I’m going to say it was waiting for my camera so I could share it with you. The lei was not the only thing to greet me. I was also greeted with warmth and a normal welcoming atmosphere, in spite of the fact that they were very busy filling orders that morning.

I couldn’t help but think about this little song written by Norman Kane in 1963 and later recorded by Karen Keawehawai’i. I wonder what Karen is doing now. I haven’t heard about her in a while. I guess I’ve got to go find out!

A maile lei for your hair
Has a special meaning
It’s a sweet aloha
Made with love and care

The mountains kissed with the dew
Near the ridge of heaven
I have made this maile
Maile lei for you

Maile, fashioned by the sun
Beauty, just for you my lovely one
A maile lei for your hair
Is a crown of glory
It’s the sweetest story
Of my love for you

I tried to get one of them to model it for me to get it away from the glare of the glass, but, they were camera shy. So, in the interest of getting it away from the glass doors to prevent the glare, one of the curators took it and said, “Here, I’ll hold it for you.” That was beyond the call and so appreciated! Talk about a difference in attitude! This little shop was so full of aloha and so willing to share!

I asked about a recent comment that was made to me about the scent of the maile coming from the Cook Islands as being stronger than that of those coming from the Hawaiian Islands. The curators reply was simple. He said, “They’re full of it!” I was informed that the only reason the florists order from the Cook Islands is that the ones from the neighboring Hawaiian Islands are “ballahead.” That’s short for bald or, in this case, very few leaves.

Maile is a vine and the production of leaves on those vines is directly correlated to the weather conditions. To make a beauty like the one you see pictured here would take three or four strands of maile if the leaves were sparse.

The scent of maile, to me, could be likened to that of sandalwood sprinkled with sugar. Our beauty here is entwined with pikake which takes the fragrance level up to intoxicating!

Flower Fair Sign

Mahalo to Flower Fair for the aloha and the welcome mat laid down by your personality! If it’s raining or you’re having a bad day, I suggest you duck in here… with your checkbook!

Flower Fair
1188 Fort Street Mall #100
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
808-531-3248

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carole // May 30, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    It was worth the wait. Thanks, Evelyn!

  • 2 Evelyn // May 30, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Carole! Thanks for visiting and for your comment! I only wish I could send the fragrance through the wires. 🙂

  • 3 Carole // May 31, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Yeah, would you get on that, Evelyn? 😉

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