Honolulu, Hawaii – With Diamond Head sitting quietly in the distance and with the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku always present, Waikiki Beach is one place where your feet should be – at least once in your life.
Eternally famous in films and books and songs, Waikiki withstands the hustle and bustle of downtown Honolulu, which is literally a stone’s throw away. Stroll the shops, sample a Mai Tai in a hotel lobby bar, and then simply cross the street and you’re on the beach at Waikiki. People from all over the world spread their towels and enjoy the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean lapsing up to the shore. Surfers bob up and down, waiting for a gentle wave – practically the only kind you’ll find at Waikiki. Serious boarders head out to the North Shore or Pipeline or any of the dozens of beaches further away from Honolulu to catch the real waves.
Meanwhile back at Waikiki, more Mai Tais are prepared, more burgers are cooked at Duke’s – a fabulous bar and restaurant overlooking the central part of the beach where the Waikiki Beach Boys – a service group – will take you out in their outrigger canoes. Or give you a surfing lesson, teach you how to paddle board, orprovide you with their other services that include burial at sea.
Asbury Park, NJ – Cherie and I tripped through here last summer. She’s a Jersey girl. Used to pay fifty cents to see Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Stone Pony before they made it big. For me, finally making it to Asbury Park was many moons too late. Still, I had to smile walking along the boardwalk. All of those lyrics by Springsteen came back to me. “Kids huddled on the beach in the mist…”
Out on the beach a few families hung out, a rocky pier jutted out about 50 yards into the cold blue Atlantic, and a lifeguard stood nearby. At the end of the boardwalk was a long, red-brick building stretching from Ocean Avenue to the edge of the shore – the Asbury Park Convention Hall. We walked inside: shops, a concert hall, posters announcing the coming concert featuring the Turtles and other ‘60s rock groups, and a restaurant and bar.
A crowd gathered on the boardwalk to watch guys pound a sledgehammer and try to ring the bell at the top of the tall mark. Moan and groans. Nobody was coming close to reaching the top.
The Stone Pony faces the beach in Asbury Park, NJ. A little bar in a little Jersey beach town. So simple, so beautiful. This is where it all began for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band a long time ago. The great Clarence Clemons, the band’s saxophonist, had died two weeks before. Pictures and posters and flowers lined the beach side wall of the Stone Pony on that cloudy Sunday afternoon in July. The Big Man, the big smile, the big sound – gone.
Further down the boardwalk stood a fortune-teller’s shop. “You know the cops finally busted Madam Marie for telling fortunes better than they do…” I wish I had been here forty years ago.
Austin, TX – It can’t be real. HEB, the largest grocer in the Central Texas area, has discontinued selling frozen limeade concentrate, the primary ingredient (well, there’s tequila too) in frozen margaritas.
I first noticed no limeade concentrate last Sunday on a casual trip to the grocery store. The shelves were completely empty of the familiar green and black cans – no HEB brand, no Minute Maid brand, no limeade period. Today, Tuesday, Cherie and I happened to be in a different area of town and stopped in to pick up the key ingredient. Nothing.
We drove to another part of town, to a different HEB. Nothing. (Sure, a couple of cans of largely ignored Bacardi “margarita” concentrate sat there freezing). Cherie asked the store rep at the checkout area about the so-called missing limeade. “So, you’re just not carrying limeade or what?” she asked. That got the attention of the four store “associates” who were going over next week’s work shifts. Justin, with red shirt and name tag, took the lead for the group and said he would call his “grocery manager.” We waited, casually commenting that a shortage of limeade at various HEBs didn’t make sense because it’s, well, the key ingredient. It’s Austin. It’s getting hot. Silence.
Justin got off the phone and reported that the product has been discontinued. “This is usually because of poor sales,” explained Justin, who apparently has never had a frozen margarita in his life, much less made one in a blender.
A quick Google of the local Wal-Mart brought a sigh of relief. They have 12-ounce cans of Minute Maid Frozen Limeade Concentrate. I should have my trailer over there tomorrow morning, when I will offload a Bobcat and remove the pallets Wal-Mart has into safe keeping here in my freezer. Crisis over.