Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale …
If you took the glamour and fashion sense of Ginger and mixed it with the spunk and hearty optimism of Mary Ann, you’d begin to get a sense of Pat, also known as Tiki Paka. Although she might not have the resources of a millionaire’s wife, she definitely has the resourcefulness of the professor, especially when it comes to finding treasures on, what these days may feel like, a deserted tiki isle.
The castaways’ ability to fashion an array of useful objects from bamboo, gourds, vines, and other local materials into useful treasures became a common theme in many episodes of the now-loved classic sitcom Gilligan’s Island. When Pat was little, she felt like there were days when she lived a similar life. She and the other kids would often spend days in the woods next to the beach along the Hudson River, making things with what they found. For lunch, they’d take a couple of eggs, and couple of hot dogs, and a loaf of bread. They’d build a firepit from a stack of rocks, use an old refrigerator grate for a grill, cook their meals, and enjoy the day – just like the castaways. Although those childhood experiences were long ago, Pat has never lost her joyous optimism and her innate gift for finding treasures.
When you visit Tiki Paka’s “Isle” – it’s not a home tiki bar, or one tiki room, it’s an entire tiki home. Pat and Dave live in an 1850’s Greek Revival house nestled in the woods close to the Hudson River. The home is packed full of vintage tiki, long-playing records, recent tiki art, along with treasures from tiki conferences over the past two decades. If the house is not enough to overwhelm your cravings for all that is tiki, Pat also has an amazing tiki hut and large tiki carvings in their back yard. Both the home and the hut contain a wonderful array of lamps, carvings, art, musical gourds, vintage mugs, and more. The hut’s walls are wallpapered with exotica album covers. The wonderful collection of lights range from lava lamps to trap-style lamps to vintage 60s rock candy style to black light torchieres. Her mug collection includes vintage mugs, newer Bosko, Kowloon bowls, Honeymoon Bowls, and one of the largest sets of “Into the Volcano” mugs by Raffi. Her black velvet paintings include recent acquisitions from artists like Gwen Rosewater. She even commissioned tiki artist Benzart to carve a beautiful pendant of her and Dave. And, if you’re especially nice, Pat might even show you her giant flat box display of old dental teeth. As with any great tiki bar, you can circle the rooms more than once and still not take it all in.
Tiki Paka is known for her kindness and her enthusiasm for connecting tiki people together. She loves to travel to tiki conferences and meet, face-to-face, the people she’s known via Tiki Central and/or Facebook over the years. She’s known to get people up and dancing. I was a witness to her skills as she worked the pool crowd at Ohana: Luau at the Lake. She put people at ease, introducing people to each other. It’s a wonderful skill to possess. She’s also known for her fabulous fashion sense. She and Dave are often spotted in vintage 60s and 70s finds. And early each Saturday morning, before the tikiphiles have recovered from too many rum drinks, you’ll find Pat and Dave thrifting for more great tiki and LP bargains at antique stores, yard sales, and/or estate auctions.
I’m glad for my three hour tour of Tiki Paka’s Isle. Although I could have offered to help her escape the island using yet another outlandish and comedic scheme, she and I both knew it was much better to remain a castaway in such a perfect, uncharted getaway.