Archive date: October 8, 2010
Happiness is Hawaii: A Tribute to Bea Loo
Thirty years later, fond memories abound
Usually when someone takes a trip to Hawaii it is a long anticipated vacation. My return to the islands this week was a bittersweet journey. Thirty years ago I was a resident on Oahu working for S & S Plants in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Being that far removed from home and devoid of familiar faces can be a pretty intimidating situation. Fortune smiled on me however. I came to know Al and Bea Loo.
I don't know if Al and Bea viewed me as a novelty or just felt sorry for me. The first time I met Al, he asked me where I was from. Of course, I said "Nashville, Tennessee". To which Al replied, Oh, Dolly Parton! Little more than a month ago Al celebrated his 90th birthday (if he told you he was 70 you would never question it). I spoke to my good friend Alan Lincoln, who works in sales at the garden center on weekends in spring and fall; His company, H & L Landscaping, has done Miss Dolly's landscaping for many years.
I asked Alan if it might be possible to ask Dolly for an autographed picture for Al's birthday. He asked, and Dolly said yes, and graciously autographed a photo which we sent to Al. Needless to say Al was thrilled; Bea was perhaps less than thrilled. I think she viewed the photo with a dubious eye. Perhaps she felt like Dolly was "making a move" on Al.
Bea, a beautiful woman in every respect, was a stylish woman, always dressed to the "nines". A genuine Chinese-Hawaiian beauty, Bea worked for and retired from Hawaiian Bell Telephone. After speaking to her once, her excellent diction and pleasant voice would leave no doubt as to her prior training.
Long story short, I became fast friends with these incredible people. For the last 30 years I have been blessed to consider Al and Bea Loo my adoptive Chinese-Hawaiian parents. The Loo's put together my wife Renee, and my wedding in Waikiki, a complete courtyard ceremony with traditional Hawaiian flowers, a limo ride to our wedding reception dinner, all paid for by them.
We have stayed close for these many years, talked on the phone often, and visited together whenever possible. This trip to Hawaii has been different. We attended a memorial for my beloved Bea. After valiantly fighting declining health for the last decade, her body became too weak.
I will never forget Bea Loo, her beautiful smile, her great sense of humor, her love in action...are but a few of her qualities. My life will be forever better because of Bea & Al.
p.s. Water, water, water…everything, both newly planted and established!