It's Benny and Nanea's birthday today, and they're having some friends over for a small beach party. We wanted to surprise them with a party, but Benny really wanted to set up his Shave Ice stand that day. Ah, well . . . the best laid plans of mice and men . . . and Islanders . . .
"Oh, Benny! I'm so excited! Do you think we have enough leis? I can run over to the Pearl Stall for more, if you think we need more. I want to make sure that everyone gets one. They do make things so much more festive. Do you have enough cones and drinks for everyone? And please don't forget Janie's chocolate ice cream sundae. The sign is just perfect. Do you think it's high enough to keep it from getting wet? Ooooh, I'm SO happy, dear brother. Don't you wish we could have a birthday every day?!"
"Everything is perfect. Stop worrying, and let's just have fun. I sure hope Nachito can make it. We haven't seen him in a while, and a I'm a little worried that he won't have finished his boat repairs in time to make it today. And Fletch said he's bringing us a surprise visitor. I hope they get here soon. And I hope Janie gets here soon, or her ice cream sundae will turn into a chocolate shake."
"Now who's worrying? You're right, as always. Let's just have fun. And Janie won't care what she eats or drinks, as long as it's chocolate. You know that. Wish Flossie could have been here, but Bunty and Eliot didn't want to let her come home yet. Benny, do you think we have the only Grand Champion chicken that goes on vacation by herself? Ooh, I hear someone coming! Get ready!"
"ALOHA, Nachito! ALOHA, Marie Simone! We're soooo glad you could share our birthday with us! Nachito, we'd like you to have this remembrance of our special day. It's a lei that I made all by myself!" Benny relaxed, now that his friend was here. "Hey, man! How's the boat repair coming? Come on over and get a snowcone, then you can fill me in."
Nanea pulled Marie Simone to the side and left the boys to themselves. "Happy birthday, Nanea (and Benny)! Everything looks just perfect! You have such a gift for decorating. How do you find the time?" Nanea handed her friend a lei and a snowcone. "I just make time, that's all. You know, it's so much nicer to have everything looking festive around you. And I love festive! You look great, Marie Simone! Is that a new suit? Well, it suits you. Get it. Suits you." The girls giggled, but the boys didn't pay any attention.
"Hey, Benny! I think I see Zale coming! You'd better find Nanea, and don't worry about me. We'll have plenty of time for a good long chinwag later. Right now, I'm going to sit here and soak up the rays while I enjoy this snowcone. Later, man."
"Here comes someone else, Benny! Excuse me, Marie Simone. I must greet my guests, in true Island fashion, of course." (Nanea is always the attentive hostess.) "Zale! Aloha! Welcome to our Birthday Party! Oh, you really shouldn't have. We put "no gifts, please" on the invitation so that no one would feel like they had to bring something. I'm ever so glad you did, though, because I just LOVE gifts from friends!"
"I know what it said, but I just couldn't come to your party without bringing something." Benny was more interested in Zale's new short wetsuit. Maybe he should get one of those. I wonder if they come in any other colors . . .
"I made this just for you. It's a lovely shell that I found a while back, but I've been waiting for just the right occasion to try my hand at painting it. And this was the right occasion. Happy Birthday, and many more!
"Ooh, Zale! It's just perfect!" (Nanea uses "perfect" to describe anything she really likes. And she really likes a lot of things.) "Benny look at how wonderful this is. Doesn't this give you ideas?" Being twins, Benny knew just what Nanea was thinking. His only problem would be to convince his sister that she should sell them and not give them away. He often thought that "FREE" should have been Nanea's middle name.
"Oh, Zale! Thank you! It's beautiful! I know just where to display this in our house! And you say you painted this yourself? Hmm. Benny and I need to talk to you . . ."
Benny's mind was racing. And it had nothing to do with wetsuits. "Zale, here's a lei that Nanea made just for today! Thanks for coming, and Nanea's right. We do need to talk."
While Nanea admired their friend's handiwork, Benny recovered his manners and offered to make a Shave Ice cone or Slushie for Zale. "Pick your poison! What? Oh, sorry, Zale. Nanea doesn't like me to say that. What flavor would you like?"
Nanea felt like a mermaid princess looking at the most beautiful shell in the ocean. She just knew that her Pearl Stall needed these to give away. She could hear herself, now . . . "Free ALOHA shells! Free painted shells!" Er, um, uh . . . she could hear Benny now . . . "ALOHA shells for sale! Painted shells for sale!" She'd work the fine points out later. Right now, she was just going to bask in the sunshine of good friends and warm sand.
"Can't we talk NOW guys? What's 'the idea'? It's just a seashell that I painted for you. Did I spell something wrong? A-L-O-H-A, right?"
"Oh, it's just perfect! There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's so perfect that we have an idea about offering them at the Pearl Stall, if you think we could buy a stack of them from you." (Notice how smooth Nanea was about that? "Offering", get it? She'd address the "free" or "for sale" with Benny once they got them in the stall. Or not. He isn't there too often these days, so maybe it won't have to come up in conversation. "Zale, we love it! Get something cold from Benny, and I know that Marie Simone's been waiting for you to get here. Over there, wiggling her toes in the warm sand. Sure, there are chairs under the tree by Nachito. Help yourself, while I find a place to display your gift where everyone will see it."
Zale felt like Kelly. What to choose? Benny assured her that he had enough for her to have as many as she wanted throughout the day. Except for the Ice Cream Sundae, of course. Smiling, she said, "Let me guess. Janie's coming!"
Don't leave! The party isn't over yet! Part 2, coming up!