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Talk Story Inn Paradise with Connie & Major Inch

No `ono`o pono i ka mea e `olelo ai.

To reflect well upon the thing to be said.
– Hawaiian dictionary

Escape Reality. . .

Lydgate Beach, Kauai
Lydgate early morning
We have been living our dream for 17-years and would love to share it with you. Come, you too can wander down the white-sand beaches, with a sky the shade of blue that you haven’t seen in years. Feel the warm sea gently rippling on your bare feet as you stare idly at the delicate cowries and coral that lay along the beach. You’ll be in another world as your thoughts drift. . . Take a break from your reality and join us to Talk Story.

Ever wonder why we chose to call our newsletter “Talk Story” or where the term came from? ‘Talk Story’ is a tradition in the islands, people coming together to share stories about their lives. With the slower pace of life comes the time to smile and say aloha to the people you encounter as you go about your daily life. You can talk story anywhere, and that’s the problem, you start out on errands and never know exactly where you’ll end up or what time. Just ask Connie why she takes a book when she goes to the store with Major, he talks to everyone, it takes him an hour to buy some milk. Life is much more fun and exciting this way, even if it seems less efficient! All the little miracles between folks are where the magic happens! Make a little magic, talk story!

This year we had the pleasure to start off the New Year with music. Classical music that is, something we don’t always get the chance to hear performed live on Kauai. This year classical musicians Frank Huang (Violin) & Gilles Vonsattel (Piano) gave a one day a performance at the Community College Performing Arts Center.  Both were recent winners of the Naumburg International Competition. They played selections from Beethoven, Prokofiev, Ysaye, Chopin and Brahms. After a standing ovation they gave us another Violin Sonata to thank us for coming. 

We were also able to see Laura Lewis & Tom Rozum a little later at the end of January. It was bluegrass music with a modern twist, Lewis' stage shows are known for their musical virtuosity and front-porch friendliness. Coming of age in such a convivial music scene, she has a gift for inviting audiences into her music. As with everything she plays, the point is sharing, not strutting. 
Lewis' performing companion is mandolinist-singer Tom Rozum. Their 1996 CD, "The Oak & the Laurel” was nominated for a Grammy. "Tom is a very conversational mandolin player, always responding to what's going on at the moment."

Maile getting her teeth floated
Maile getting her teeth floated
In February Major had Maile’s teeth floated by Dr. Sims. Dr. Scott Sims is our new veterinarian for Maile and our parrots. Scott’s emphasis is on horses and birds. He received his doctor of veterinarian degree from UC-Davis and spent over 12 years working in Marin County before relocating to Kauai. In addition to his North Shore clinic, he has a mobile clinic that is equipped with everything from; a surgical laser, medication, medical records, a portable ultrasound, X-Ray and air compressor to run his dental business.

Maile is getting pretty old, has lost a lot of her molars and they need to be kept ground down since they continue to grow, especially if the opposing tooth is missing. Maile is a good patient, she never complains even when a training vet takes a try.

Connie’s mom and our good friend Beth visited us this year in March to celebrate their 80th birthdays. It turned out that this March would be the rainiest month on record. We had over 60 inches and Lihue had over 34 inches. We had a reservoir break up north that took the lives of seven people and washed the road away, so the people up north could not get down to the airport. Connie’s mom and Beth being the troopers they are, made the  best of it, the ladies did a lot of shopping. When there was a brief let up in the rain, Major joined them in some sight seeing.
Beth, Connie & Mom
Beth, Connie & Mom

Beth is an artist and makes quilts. She has made us quilted Christmas items each year for many years. In 2003, she made a leaping dear. After we brought it home, she sent us the “patch” for the back to say that it was her creation and asked if Connie could sew it on. Connie began sewing the patch on in her usual way, with a stitch that one would use for a hem. As she sewed, she recognized that the binding from the front of the quilt to the back of the quilt had to have been hand sewn. Comparing her clumsy stitches to the invisible stitches of the master quilter, she modified her own stitches to disappear as she saw the stitches on the quilt disappear. What started out as clumsy became more accomplished. The gift of our friend’s quilts goes beyond the physical gift to a gift of life’s quality. Our personal quality is demonstrated in our daily activities and enhances every life it touches. We have been “touched” by these gifts from our friend for life. This year she brought us an exceptional  quilted bed spread in an island theme.

Major's Roadsters
Major's Roadsters
Major purchased a 2004 Pacific Coast Roadster Thunderbird on the mainland in May and shipped it over from California. Major loves his new toy, but doesn’t want to part with any of the old toys. Connie will be selling the Model A if Major doesn’t get busy and do it.

Many of our guests have asked about Donald, the duck who mysteriously appeared in our pasture and made fast friends with our horse, Maile, and her food bucket. Donald disappeared just as he had appeared. He was a young duck when he joined us, and one day he was seen heading for our second pasture, where he had never ventured before. Major commented that day that Donald was heading for the second pasture, turned and looked at Major as if to say farewell, thanks for everything, and then waddled off into the second pasture, never to be seen again. We think he matured for the time he (or she) was with us and then headed off to find a mate. Our photos and memories of this duck visitor always bring smiles to our faces.

Major acquired an inflatable classroom called Aunty Honu Nani, a giant turtle sewn from colorful parachute material that stays inflated with pumped air while children are inside learning. He bid on Aunty Honu Nani at the silent auction when at the Taste of Hawaii, (an excellent annual food event the first weekend of every June; worth planning a trip around.)  He won the bid for a day’s performance by Mark Jeffers, a well-known storyteller and television personality here in Kauai, and all of Hawaii, for our children at Kaleidoscope School-Within-School.  Major Setting Up Honu

Mark is the creative genius for “Russell the Rooster,” the star puppet of his T. V. show. The children made underwater creature puppets which were used in connection with Mark’s storytelling, poems, dances, and songs, while experiencing the delight of learning about the ocean and its creatures, especially about sea turtles, which are an endangered species. Excitement was in the air all day while Aunty Honu Nani welcomed class after class of kindergarten through third-grade children, eight classes in all. I’m sure Kaleidoscope was the envy of Kapa`a Elementary School. The turtle was a prominent attraction to the rest of the children school-wide. Major is the children’s hero and a “movie” containing many of the photos taken on that day was presented to Major and Connie by Kaleidoscope. The movie, with music, brought tears to Connie’s & Major’s eyes and will remain a lasting part of their memorabilia from their teaching experiences.

Sunrise at Nukoli`i Beach, Kauai
Sunrise at Nukoli`i Beach
(AKA Kitchens)
Major has been trying to walk 4 miles a day in effort to stay mobile. He tries to get out before the sun is up and has been enjoying spectacular sunrises at the beach. 

Connie joins him on the weekend, and now she is hooked since she found a glass ball that was 14-inches in diameter.  Walking up on the path she spotted the ball out in ocean. She wasn’t about to wait for it to come in, she stripped to underwear and swam out to get it. Major watched the sea rescue and then went and got the truck so  Connie could go home and get some dry clothes. Now every time Connie walks with Major she is like a turtle when we come to the area where she spotted the glass ball, walking very slow and looking out to sea.
Connie's Glass Float
Connie’s Glass Float

Glass Balls
Back at the Inn, Greg & Priscilla with their treasure
Finding glass floats can be addictive, just ask Major. Connie used to get him up at 2:00 AM for low tide and foul weather to check out the beaches. This has stopped since Connie has to be to school by 7:00 AM. Major no longer has to get up on those stormy nights when the floats are most likely to come in. However, over the years we have acquired quite a collection of glass floats and tend to talk about finding them to guests. This way when they do their beach walk they will be looking for them too. This year Greg & Priscilla, guests, found one walking the Nukoli`i Beach. Needless to say they were quite excited about their find, and so were we!

Other interesting things to do, besides looking for glass floats, while visiting Kauai:
The Limahuli Gardens, a National Tropical Botanical Garden located up north near Haena, is a window to ancient Hawaii. It is the vision of Mrs. Juliet Rice Wichman  to preserve the Limahuli Valley as a living classroom for those wanting to learn about the ancient Hawaiian plants and culture in the spectacular beauty of their natural settings. The cost is nominal ($15) and the self guided tour book is worth the price of admission.

Another great tour is the Hindu Temple located about a mile from our home. The Hindu Monastery is open to the public daily from 9:00 AM to noon. A two hour tour takes place approximately once a week. We highly recommend the guided tour because it is so informative and to just see the beauty without hearing the story behind each detail seems a shame. One of the interesting facts about the Temple is that each stone is hand-quarried, since they feel that if the stone is dynamited it will lose the pure “tone” of a hand-quarried stone. The granite’s tone, “its song”, is a key part of the spiritual integrity of the temple. Without a doubt, your visit will bring peace and renewed enthusiasm to the beauty that surrounds your life.

If you like to hike, you will enjoy the hike to Waipoo Falls, located in the Waimea Canyon. The road to the trail head is located off Kokee Road (Hwy. 550) at the Puu Hina Hina Outlook; a quarter mile past the lookout, look for the NASA satellite tracking station on the right, a two-lane dirt road leads to the Waipoo Falls trail head. The hike will take about 3 1/2 hours so give yourself plenty of time to get in and out while it is daylight. It is one of Kauai's best hikes. The two-tiered, 800-foot waterfall is quite spectacular,  reward yourself with refreshing splash in the pool but be careful, all those rocks you see were once up at the top and they sometimes do come down in the falling water.

Another scenic hike close by our place is the Kuilau Ridge Trail.  It is about 3 miles out on Kuamoo Road. It is a peaceful hike, not many hikers on this trail so you feel alone in Mother Nature’s garden. You will be able to see a variety of plants and birds on this hike so take your time and enjoy. We like to take a little snack and share it at the picnic table that overlooks a lush valley. In the distance you will have a fantastic view of Mt. Wai`ale`ale. 

Kolohe and his pet dog napping
Kolohe and his pet dog Ha`akea napping
After a day of hiking, treat yourself to a refreshing lilikoi shave ice. Also known as passion fruit, this tropical fruit is said to be named for the passionate propensity it promotes. Many years ago Connie won first place at our county fair with the lilikoi we grew down by the chicken hutch. If you’re not into shave ice, then you can do what Kolohe does after a hard day of play, curl up a friend for a nap.

There are some new activities that may entice the more adventurous travelers; a zip line across waterways and a tube ride through old water tunnels with lighted miner’s helmets on your head. While we can’t give you first-hand information on these activities, both are reported to be fun and exciting by the guests that have stayed with us.

We thought we had lost our favorite restaurant that made the greatest Peking Duck. The owners closed for a few months and were forced by the management of the complex to change their name so it did not conflict with a new restaurant chain coming there. (Only in Hawaii!) Panda Garden is now called Pacific Island Bistro. They have upgraded their menu and it is better than ever. We have always touted their Peking Duck and have found nothing to compare to it, even in our travels to multiple “China Towns” in various countries. They have added several new dishes, all of which are delicious. Bistro Seafood Curry, the Steamed Sea Bass, Honey Walnut Prawns Herb Crusted lamb Chops, and the Pork Tenderloin with garlic potatoes now actually rivals our choice of Peking Duck.

Other interesting restaurants continue to come and go, creating an ever-changing landscape of food choices and a variety of environments in which to enjoy a meal. Many are fairly expensive, but there are inexpensive choices scattered about, such as the quite famous Hamura’s Saimin. We eat there whenever we are nearby and don’t mind standing for 15 minutes to get a couple of stools as they empty out around their counter space. On those rare occasions when we are there on a weekday morning or early lunch, we always order their manapua, a delicious steamed bun with meat and onions in the middle, to go with our bowl of saimin and chicken grilled on sticks.

In December we renewed our vows for our 40th anniversary at the Oldest Lutheran Church in Hawaii. The church originally started services right after the arrival of a group of German immigrants in 1881, who came to work at the Lihue Sugar Plantation. It was a trip of nearly six months, sailing around Cape Horn. The long experience on board ship was reflected in the architecture of the church. They carried out the symbolism of a ship; the floor slants like the deck of a ship; the balcony is the captain’s bridge; the ceiling is like the hull; the lights are ship lanterns; and the pulpit the forecastle. The altar painting is an original work by Ernst Marx (1864 – 1942).
On the forecastle with Pastor Paul
On the forecastle
with Pastor Paul

Connie's anniversary necklace
Connie's Anniversary necklace
Connie’s anniversary necklace represents their rings joined together, forming a heart around the island of Kauai.

Major blew his lines...
On the BIG day, Major forgot his lines...
Major and Connie Inch, Kauai
...But he got the job done.

After our anniversary we headed for the mainland to visit Major’s brothers for the holidays with a quick drive north to see Connie’s family on Christmas Day. Then a long drive back to southern California where we spent another week with the brothers.

Brothers, Major, Seeley
Burdette (Bob) and Joseph 1947
A little more portly in 2007,
Brothers, Major, Seeley
Burdette (Bob) and Joseph

On New Years Eve Brother Joe captained a Duffy Boat around Newport Beach so we could enjoy the Christmas Lights from the waterways. Joyce, Joe wife, was in charge of the galley and made sure we had plenty to eat and drink. We bundled up with everything we owned that was warm and certainly drank our fair share of HOT chocolate since it was cold weather for islanders. But fun we had, the company was great and the lighted Christmas decorations absolutely stunning. What a great way to start a New Year.

Major and Connie Inch
Connie & Major staying warm,
on the mainland of course!

Have a great year, and may you have love, good health, warm memories and plenty of time to enjoy them all.

Warmest Aloha,


Major & Connie


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