We had just moved into the Kuhua Camp neighborhood next to the still-operating Pioneer Mill and, in starting our own family traditions, we took our two young children “trick or treating” near our home.
We walked up a few wooden steps to the porch of a neatly kept, simple “cane house,” and the kids sang out their “trick or treat” refrain. An elderly woman with a curious, yet kindly, demeanor opened the screen door and dropped handfuls of candy into the bags toted by our wide-eyed gremlins.
As we thanked the lady, she motioned me to come to the doorway. Caught a little off-guard, with the reservations of a newcomer to the camp community, I approached her with apprehension.
She smiled, reached down into a cooler inside the house and handed me an ice cold Miller Lite beer. Tastes great? You betcha! On that night, it would be tough to find a happier trio of trick or treaters!
This was our first close encounter with the kindest kind of our new home community of Lahaina, and, most thankfully, it would not be our last.
We grew to be neighborhood friends with the lady, Asayo Sera, and also with her family. Mrs. Sera would take daily walks by our house and take a break on the rock wall shaded by mango trees around the corner. Whenever we would pass by, she would always say hello and give us the courteous bow that characterizes greetings of this generation.
It was another sincere bonding with the family-oriented camp culture of that era that would shepherd us into the golden happiness of Maui life.
We grew to be closest to the Seras’ third son, Edwin. It is my belief that the offspring of people are the truest gauge into the depths of a personality, and, with this in mind, we can see the genuine kindness and courtesy of Mrs. Sera compounded through the compassionate manners of her son, Eddie.
He is simply a nice guy who represents the best of his family and of the Lahaina community, a friend, and a bartender at the Hyatt Regency Maui for over 30 years who leaves you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart each time you meet him.
Even in her peaceful passing on April 27, we feel the richness and peacefulness of her 92 years of life.
“Mom lived a happy and long life,” Eddie remembered last week. “We all had a wonderful upbringing here in this camp. We had so much fun, and mom was a big, important part of that.”
The Lahaina community sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Asayo Sera as she now joins her husband, Yoshio Sera, in their next life.
Mrs. Sera is survived by sisters and brothers in Japan; three sons, Donald (Elaine), Steven (Harriet) and Edwin (Kathleen); daughter Aileen (Glen) Nishimura; nine grandchildren, Dawn, Derrick, Stephanie, Suzette, Chad, Ryan, Carrie, Kaitlan and Kelleen; and four great-grandchildren, Trent, Tiana, Chelsie and Tyler.
Funeral services were held on May 21 at Lahaina Jodo Mission, officiated by Rev. Gensho Hara and assisted by Rev. John Cho-on Hara.
“Amida Buddha surrounds all men and all forms of life with Infinite Love and Compassion. Particularly does he send forth loving thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow, to those in doubt and ignorance, to those who are striving to attain Truth, and to those whose feet are standing close to the great change men call death. Amida Buddha sends forth oceans of Wisdom, Mercy, and Love.” — Namu Amida Butsu