Last night, we went to St. Andrew’s Cathedral downtown and had gumbo, salad, bread, and Bananas Foster, all while listening to New Orleans-style jazz. The benefit, put on by the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii, was to raise money for Katrina victims. The food was good. I was surprised, really, because I have family from New Orleans and I know gumbo. The people here did an excellent job.

But the icing on the cake, so to speak, was the dessert. A chef, complete with spotless white chef’s tunic embroidered with his name and awards, and military-style ribbons hanging from his chest, presided over the flaming bananas with a Germanic-like authority that dictated you wouldn’t dare to ask him for an extra ladle of sauce. The warm sauce and cool ice cream melted in your mouth like all the best desserts you’ve ever had in your life combined into one supremely sweet dish. (I was motivated to dig out my favorite Cajun-Creole cookbook for the recipe when I got home.)

Typically, Mike managed to sit next to a guy who gave Mike his dessert ticket. So, as Mark and I sit there concocting a way to get another ticket, Mike trots off for seconds. He quite nicely shared with us, whether from pity or a sense of duty I don’t know. Hell, I’m not complaining, since I did get a few extra spoonfuls.

I was enjoying the plan Mark and I were concocting though. It involved Mike distracting the ticket lady, me peeling off a strip of neon pink tickets, and Mark giving absolution for the crime. One of the advantages of hanging out with a priest is having absolution on tap, I’ve decided, though I suppose when it came right down to it, he’d have prevented the crime and forgone the extra dessert. 🙂

When we left, we had to walk a couple of blocks back to the parking garage off of Punchbowl and Beretania. A low stone wall fronts the cathedral grounds and we began to cut across the parking lot as a short cut. But I was wearing a skirt and no way could I get over that wall. Besides, the wall connects with the governor’s property. Her mansion sits next to the cathedral, and her yard looks strangely unguarded, like it’s just another house. There’s no gate with guards either, though the property is fenced. I had visions of us hopping the cathedral wall to get back to the street and setting off some sort of high-tech intrusion alert.

And there we’d be, two sinners and a priest, hauled down to the HPD headquarters half a mile away and interrogated beneath bright spotlights until we broke down and ratted each other out in a typical game of prisoner’s dilemma.

Mike and I saw the governor at dinner one night. We were in Compadre’s in the Victoria Ward Centre one Saturday night not long ago when she stopped at a table beside ours to talk to a family she knew. She was flanked by several women with very short hair, all in their 50s or older. Compadre’s is okay, not great, and I remember thinking, “Wow, the Governor of Hawaii eats here?”

She looks different in person, not so big and masculine. On TV, she looks like a bear of a woman. But that night, she looked feminine. Her edges were softened, and her hair, which always looks so severe on television, seemed to suit her. It must be tough, being the first elected woman and the first elected Republican governor in a blue state.

Probably, though, she wouldn’t have been very sympathetic had we set off her alarm system. So, Mike and I went around to the gate while Mark hopped the wall somewhat farther from her property. Thus ended another adventurous night.