Memories of Lahaina Hawaii and steam locomotives
The Sugar Cane Train was my intro to Lahaina in Maui
After working in a newsroom for three different news outlets, I’ve heard bad news so much that I’ve grown (troublingly) desensitized to it — usually. But every blue moon, long after I walked out of my final traditional newsroom, some stories will stick around in my mind for a beat before I move on to the next bit of good news (or tragedy).
Although the recent news of the Maui fire and Lahaina destruction is very fresh, this is one of those stories that will permanently stay with me. By no means are my memories anywhere near as significant as locals who are currently dealing with the destruction of the island. And my heart goes out to the families of the 90 people (so far) who were killed in the blaze.
According to the Washington Post, for two days, the National Weather Service employees in Honolulu were “sending out ominous alerts about powerful easterly gusts, whipped up by Hurricane Dora passing 500 miles to the south.”
Maui was already experiencing a drought, along with “the drier leeward side that includes Lahaina.” When a fire started in the dry grass near one resident’s home on Lahainaluna Road, power poles fell in the neighborhood and wires snapped. I still wasn’t prepared for the video footage in the afternoon of Tuesday, August 8, submitted from Kevin Foley via Storyful.
At 9:30 a.m., it looked bad. Footage at 4:36 p.m. was even worse. The video footage at 9:30 p.m. was heartbreaking. And the next day at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 9, all I could do was sigh. I repeat, by no means is my sadness at seeing Lahaina destroyed comparable to the locals who were born, raised and live(d) there. Still, because I’d been there before, I was more connected to this news story than the average weather news report.
What’s my deal with Lahaina and Maui?
Being in Maui was one of the top five favorite moments I’ve ever had in life. It’s where I spent my 30th birthday on 11/11/11 — although I almost didn’t make it at all. And one of many places I bounced around in was Lahaina. While I was in Honolulu a few years later after some particularly bad news, my Maui trip was much happier. While reading these recent news stories, I didn’t want to remember Lahaina the way it is now. I pulled out a massive container full of old journals, knowing I wrote about Lahaina while I was on that Maui trip. This is what I had to say.