Leslie Granat–E Ola Makamaka! Long live our friends!

December 29, 2015:  Got a call from Fred & Jane Litt last night notifying me that my great friend Leslie Granat passed away. Her burial was in Haiku this morning at 11 am. I’m deeply saddened by her passing but grateful and blessed to have known Leslie during my lifetime!  Here are a few of my thoughts about my dear friend Leslie.

A few Thursdays back, Nancy and I went to Makena Beach & Golf Resort to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. We went to share a romantic dinner and hear the Kathy Collins Talk Story event, held around an open campfire at the old Imu Pit -Luau Grounds at the resort. (Kathy has been performing her Talk Story event at Makena for over 18 months.) During one of Kathy’s story, she spoke of ʻOlelo Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language) and how unlike it was from English. The action or verb always comes first. Well for me, Leslie Granat was like that. Her actions always came first! Here’s a partial list of her actions and why I loved her:

Action #1: Patron of the Arts
When I first started the University of Hawaii Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music, it was Leslie who stepped forward, offered her home, and invited over 50 of her Wailea friends to a dinner event that raised over $75,000 in a single night. That money was doubled by Johnny Baldwin and his Foundation to $150,000!

Action #2: She loved and supported life!
She lived in a whimsical dream world building a tree house and lookout in her backyard at Maui Meadows! She followed and lived her dreams! She collected and supported all forms of art: visual paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, and an eccentric collection of nik-naks and do dads. Her home was a tribute and feast for any artists’ senses, especially the eyes, ears and nose. She wore outrageous muumuus and hats and things protruding from her hair! She delighted in being festive and full of it! She was full of Aloha! She was the embodiment of Aloha in human form.

Action #3: She lived life like there was no tomorrow.
She was a mentor to me and gave me great advice about Kickstarter crowdfunding and other finances for my many projects including Andaz! She loved fellow artists Led Kaapana and Dennis Kamakahi and supported our Slack Key Guitar Masters show for over 12 years. She came all the way from Maui Meadows (Wailea) to Napili monthly, to support our Hawaiian culture and music. She even attended Keawalai Congregational Church Celebration Events in Makena where I played music over the last 20 years

Action#4: She shared
Her home, her smile, her laughter, her love for the Arts with anyone she came across. Even though she was originally from the East Coast, she was a Kama’aina in heart and action; participating as a child of this land in Hawaii, on Maui!

Action #5: She was a reincarnated, sophisticated, no nonsense Tutu
…who loved her yapping dogs! She is a friend for life! Even in her busy schedule, she always found time to sit down, relax, talk story and become a fabric of our community. She was “fo real!”

A final thought. In my younger days, for over a year, I was blessed to watch a flock of nene geese fly overhead. Leslie was like this flock of nene geese each individual taking different roles throughout their lifetime. Like the nene geese, she was sometimes a leader, and other times a follower. But mostly she was a supporter of many like me in our Maui Community! She was one of a kind woman. I believe that when she was born, God broke the mold and threw it away. She was one-of-a-kind and she will surely be missed. Leslie still lives through her actions and our memories.

E Ola Makamaka! Long live our friends!

-Uncle George