As Laetitia walked down Raglan Road in the fresh dawn hour, past the ornate sign that said “Tara” and up the wooden steps to the carved door of the Emerald Victorian, she was in a wistful mood. She was going to miss Ireland after touring there for so many weeks.
Before making coffee, she stopped to read two poems by Thomas Moore—The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls and Sweet Innisfallen—both of which were embroidered on fine Irish linen and displayed on the paneled wall in intricately carved frames. As she read The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls again, she felt Thomas Moore’s sense of loss as he captured in the words of the poem (and song) the faded splendor of ancient Ireland. And while reading Sweet Innisfallen, she felt his sadness at leaving that beautiful place behind as he went into exile.
For Laetitia, the sense of loss was more a mood than a reality. As a Mind’s Eye tour director, she could go back to Ireland any time she wanted. But she knew that if she went back, things would not be the same. It would be like trying to recapture the magic of childhood.
“Enough of that,” Laetitia thought as she went into the kitchen to brew her coffee. As she poured a cup she shed a tear for Ireland, then took a whiff of the dark rich aroma of the 100 percent Kona coffee and said to herself, “Hawaii. That’s where I’ll go next.”
Laetitia did the first day of her United States tour in Honolulu, on Oahu. Several members of the tour group wanted to see the Arizona Memorial at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, so they went there and also toured the Battleship Missouri, upon which was signed the treaty that ended the war with Japan. That evening, they had Mai Tais at the beach bar of the Royal Hawaiian, or “the “Pink Palace,” as it is sometimes called. It is a historic hotel and was once a landmark on Waikiki, but now it is dwarfed by all of the high-rise hotels. An example of what can happen to otherwise sedate Midwesterners when they come to Hawaii is illustrated in the limerick of the day.