For those of you who now reside in this great City but have journeyed
here from far off places, I'm sure your memories of home, no
matter how faded by the passing of time, tug at that special
place in your heart. Maybe you've experienced moments of complete
wonder that you can't help but pass on to others, even though
you realize your descriptions can never capture the pure ecstasy
of the event. My journey begins on the Island of Maui. It's 4am
and we're tired. Mom & Dad whisper quick instructions as
we scurry around brushing teeth and changing clothes. We don't
want to wake Grandma & Grandpa...though they hear us and
get up anyway. No time for breakfast...we are definately on a
schedule. We leave Hali'imaile in the cold darkness and begin
our journey up the slopes of Haleakala. Translated as "the
House of the Sun," it is said that the demigod Maui, standing
on the crater rim, snared the sun and made it promise to go across
the sky more slowly to help crops grow, give fishermen more time
to fish, and allow his mother Hina's tapa cloth more time to
dry. As we wind our way up to the top, we see very little in
the darkness. When we finally reach the summit at 10,023 feet,
it's cold...probably in the 30's. Mom wraps us in blankets and
we walk over to the railing next to the lookout. The freezing
wind stings our cheeks as we huddle together...waiting. As the
sky begins to lighten ever so slowly, the darkness turns to a
deep blue and the clouds, now well below us, appear as a blanket
of white cotton. Soon the crater below becomes visible and we
look across it's vastness, 7-1/2 miles long, 2-1/2 miles wide,
and 3,000 feet deep, and realize that we are at the top of the
world. The sky to the east begins to glow a deep red, then orange.
We gather together with those, who like us have been called to
witness this miracle. Cameras at the ready, the morning has finally
come, and as the sun breaks the horizon and the first ray of
sunlight envelopes us in warmth, we now know what it means to
be alive. Right now...today...and for the rest of my life, I
will cherish this moment. Embraced by the Earth and sky, I am
home...Malama the 'aina and each other.
As you read this article...we are home...mixing business with
pleasure. On the pleasure side, we are spending precious time
with family and friends, re-discovering once familiar surroundings,
and playing music to our heart's content. We are especially looking
forward to visiting the Big Island where we will drive the winding
road from Hilo to Hakalau, to Laupahoehoe, then Honoka'a, revelling
in the absolute green of roadside forests. We continue on the
Mamalahoa Highway, gradually climbing in elevation as we enter
the coolness of Kamuela. Fragrant stands of towering Eucalyptus
greet us as we drive into Waimea. We'll pick up some bento lunches
and drive down to Hapuna Beach. As we head towards Kona, dissecting
miles and miles of old Lava flows, the silhouettes of ancient
warriors trekking over the heated rough terrain seem to materialize
around us. As we near Kona, reality kicks in and we are thrown
back, somewhat unwillingly, into the 20th Century. From the bustling
town of Kailua-Kona, we continue south leaving the taupe colored
dryness of the western landscape. The land begins to green as
we begin to head east toward the rain. We stop at many Heiaus
and stand in quiet reverence to the past. How strange it is to
see the spoils of progress encroaching upon these ancient sites.
At South Point, (Ka Lae), we drive through a field of huge white
propellers, harnessing the energy of the wind. The ocean here
is a deep blue. When it's overcast like this, the water seems
almost black. It will rain soon. We drive the almost eleven miles
back to the highway and resume our journey northeast towards
Kilauea and Volcanoes National Park. I'll be back in two weeks
with the rest of the story. Malama the 'aina and each other.
Our Big Island story continues...We drive through Na'alehu, then
Pahala. The rain is heavy at times. We feel like we're home.
Weather reports say possible clearing this afternoon. We cross
our fingers and hope for sunshine as the rain continues. As we
climb towards Volcanoes National Park, the clouds begin to break
up and we catch a glimpse of blue sky. How unusual. When we finally
reach The Volcano House, the rain has stopped and spent clouds
drift pass hoping to squeeze out a few last drops. We walk over
the wet Earth, our slippers doing little to keep our feet dry.
Standing at the edge of Halema'uma'u Crater, we feel the presence
of Goddess Pele as clouds of steam rise from the black crater
floor. We are now visitors to her home, and treat her with respect.
As an offering to Pele we bring cut heliconias and ginger from
Hakalau and leave them at the crater's edge. Walking through
the dense tropical rainforests that surround this volcano, we
hear the sounds of life. Crimson red 'Apapane birds, once flourished
here with 'I'iwi, and 'Elepaio. Though their numbers have been
greatly reduced...in this forest...they are strong. We can't
help but wonder what this forest would sound like inhabited by
28 more kinds of birds...now extinct. We walk amongst ginger
of every color and variety, red torch ginger, fragrant yellow
kahili ginger, red and yellow heliconias. 'Ohi'a Lehua blossoms
bloom in splendor only to be pounced upon by a hungry 'Apapane.
There are green, red and variegated Ti plants everywhere, banishing
evil spirits from this pristine place. It is hot, humid, and
wet, and we're loving every minute of it. We drive back toward
Hilo...rejuvinated...as if born unto this 'aina once again. As
we enter Hilo, a light rain begins to fall. We realize that the
only thing keeping small town Hilo from becoming big town Kona,
is the rain. We cross our fingers and hope for a downpour...Malama
the 'aina and each other.
Howzit everyone! Well, we're back...at least our bodies are back,
while our hearts and minds remain in the Islands. Every trip
home fills me with an overwhelming desire to stay. Those final
moments before boarding the plane can be torturous, as we bid
farewell to family and friends. Mixed in with feelings of love
and gratitude are looks of sadness and longing...and hope...that
we will someday return for good. These are my hopes too. Anyway,
for now we are here back with our loving extended Bay area family
and truth is...we missed you too.
Well, as we approach the end of summer and the keikis get ready
to return to school, memories of summers past take us back to
a much simpler time, when we spent our days hiking in the lush
forests at the foot of the Ko'olaus, catching crayfish in the
local streams. We worshipped the sun and sea, got "mean
kine sunburn," and sported our peeling skin as a rite of
passage. We ran barefoot everywhere and got "luau feet."
We picked mangos, lychee...and lilikoi, and huddled together
under trees in the rain and ate 'til we were full. We talked
about our future and how we would be friends always. Dad would
take us to Ka'a'awa during 'Oama season and we would stand in
the shore break trying to put the smallest piece of shrimp on
the smallest hook..."If da bait too big, you cannot hook
'em.," dad would say. We never thought at the time about
using the 'Oama as bait for bigger fish. We took them home, cleaned
them, and ate them deep fried...head and all. "ono brah!"
We used to take old sheets and pillow cases, and with some imagination
and colored pens, make Kikaida and Rainbow Man costumes...then
fight imaginary enemies in the yard until our roughhousing resulted
in one of us crying, at which point Mom would call us in for
the day. On The Fourth of July, we'd take our old model airplanes
out to the backyard and blow them up with firecrackers. We built
go carts, (without motors), and raced them down the street. We
mostly took turns pushing them back up the hill, but were often
seen returning home with only the parts that survived. On extra
hot days we set up the slip and slide in the yard and laughed
like there was no tomorrow. We hosted parties for the neighborhood
kids where we sold homemade ice pops and played games, then donated
the money to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. We learned about
fair play, dealt with bullies, fell in love, and hoped that life
would never change. In many ways...it hasn't. Malama the 'aina
and each other.
During our trip home this summer, we spent alot of time playing
Hawaiian music. We played inside and outside, during the day
and at night. We sang about life and love, and about the natural
beauty of the Islands we call home. I have a tendency to close
my eyes when I sing. It's not that I'm trying to avoid looking
at other people. It's just that, when I'm singing...I really
feel like I'm a part of the song and the people around me. Actually,
since I started learning to play guitar I've been getting better
at keeping my eyes open. Unfortunately, now I'm looking at my
fingers. Music has always been an important part of my life.
Playing together with friends is just the best. Sometimes...every
so often...the guitars, ukuleles, and voices all come together
just right and for that one brief moment...it's "chicken
skin" time. There are only a few common codes of etiquette
when we jam. The first is that everyone takes turns choosing
the songs. The second is that everybody sings regardless of their
ability to carry a tune. Sharing music with each other is what
it's all about. So next time someone asks you to pick up the
uke or sing along, "no be scared...Go for it!" Become
a part of the song and a part of the people you're with. Malama
the 'aina and each other.
As I sit here in front of my computer, "two finger"
typing this latest installment, I feel a bit off balance...somewhat
out of sync. The past few days of scorching weather have finally
surrendered to the cold coastal fog which we have become accustomed.
Part of me wants to run into the street and sing praises to Mother
Nature for this welcome relief, while another part of me wants
to curl up in a corner and sulk...perhaps in protest, sort of
a defiant act of voluntary hibernation until the sun returns.
My mind and body are in conflict and neither side can win. The
hot days were typically Hawaiian. On the down side it was muggy
and the heat was draining. On the other hand, the sun was out,
the breeze warm, and there was nary a shiver to be found. The
returning fog seems like a cold compress on a feverish forehead...quick
relief for the symptoms...but you still feel a bit sick. That's
kind of where I am right now, wondering which type of weather
I prefer, as if my choice will make any kind of difference. All
I know is that for the time being, I'll be the confused one curled
up in the corner...singing praises to Mother Nature. Malama the
'Aina and each other.
As the Christmas Holidays approach, I start to get a familiar
feeling in my gut. It's a subtle yet distinct emptiness that
is in stark contrast to the bright colors and well wishes that
the season usually invokes. It is a feeling common to those of
us who are away from home during the holidays. Memories of Christmas'
past live on, filled with visions of family and friends...and
warm winter nights. It was the best time of year. A time to share
stories with visiting relatives who we rarely saw. My uncles
would come over to the house and play music. Uncle Nii played
guitar and Uncle Kikuo played the spoons. My uncle Masa would
sing old japanese songs while cradling a bottle of "Primo
or Oly." They'd get me to come up and play the wash tub
bass. I must have been only 6 or 7 years old. I'm sure I had
no idea what I was doing or how bad I sounded, but they made
me feel like I was one of them. The rest of the family would
throw loose change at our feet and I would get down on my hands
and knees and scramble with the other kids to grab what I could.
It was a time of security and Love, when our biggest worry was
whether or not we had enough fireworks for New Year's Eve. Malama
the 'aina and each other.
Finally, MELE KALIKIMAKA E HAU'OLI MAKAHIKI HOU! Best wishes
to our calabash Aunties and Uncles who have in a sense adopted
us during this past year. Being away from loved ones, especially
during the holidays can be a lonely experience. It's so nice
to feel the love of family when you're away from home. Aloha
to all my kanikapila friends and halau braddahs and sistahs all
over the Bay Area for just being the great people you are. And
last but not least, to all my new found friends who have visited
the store this year, MAHALO NUI LOA!!! I can't thank you enough
for all of your support. My dream was to create something that
would be more than a store, a sort of community center for anyone
missing the Islands. I see myself as caretaker for a store that
has a life of its own. In Hawai'i, everything living or not,
is believed to have "mana," or spirit. Thanks to all
of your good will, The Store is filled with "good mana."
As we come to the end of our first year, we look forward to many
more years of continued growth and friendship. During this Holiday
season, take time to slow down a little, "Hawaiian style,"
and give some of your Aloha to the people around you. It's a
natural resource that costs nothing, will never be depleted,
and does as much good for you as it does for everyone else. Keep
safe during these holidays, and remember to malama the 'aina,
(take care of the land)...and each other. A hui hou.
As I'm writing this, Braddah Who and Kawika, 2 of my kanikapila
braddahs from the band Tropical Breeze are sitting around the
table jamming good kine Hawaiian tunes. There's nothing like
the sounds of familiar music to take you back to your home land
at least in spirit. For a brief moment, you can forget about
the cold, and dream of warm weather and white sandy beaches.
One of my favorite places in the Islands is Ka'a'awa on the windward
side of O'ahu. Picture a two lane road called Kamehameha Highway,
slowly winding its way around the coast, tracing the delicate
contours of the wave worn shoreline. A quarter of a mile separates
the beach from the evergreen cliffs of the Ko'olau mountain range,
leaving just enough space to sit and unwind, but not enough for
anyone to own and destroy. The sharply cut face of the Ko'olaus
lead you to wonder about its ancient origins. What was it like
when lava spewed from these cliffs, a milenneum before people
were born from the Kalo. Could lava once again flow from these
majestic towers? The deep valleys seem to have no end, shrouded
in a perpetual mist. It is enough to wonder where these valleys
end. Though it is human nature to find answers for our questions,
sometimes in our zeal to discover, to explore...we ruin. I will
never step into these sacredplaces...and that will be fine. At
the foot of these cliffs lay pasture land dotted with plumeria
and the resilient Kiawe, dropping its seeds to ensure its somewhat
precarious survival. The ocean here is full of life. Mountain
streams carry nutrients from the land to the sea, coloring the
shorebreak in hues of red and brown. After a heavy rain, nearby
Kahana Bay is murky and brown. Though less inviting to people
looking for a clean shore break to frolic in, this act of nature...not
intended for us, combines the forces of Wakea, (Sky Father),
and Papa, (Earth Mother), for their own preservation. Before
us, they were here. When we are gone ...they will live on. Malama
the 'Aina...and each other.
At this very moment, I am sitting in a large room with a few
hundred other people waiting to be called for jury service. I
glance around looking for an outlet as my powerbook battery slowly
fades. Heaven forbid I should have to pick up a pen. Honestly,
my hand writing is terrible and I blame it on College. When you're
sitting in a darkened lecture hall with 300 other students trying
to copy notes from a distant projection screen or from the dictations
of a mumbling professor speaking through a microphone that has
long since retired, you develop what I call college scratch.
If you are somehow able to retain your handwriting skills after
a few years of college note taking, you're obviously not writing
fast enough. Actually, going to school at the University of Hawai'i
was great! The campus was beautiful, sort of a hodge podge of
structures built during different eras of its history. Huge canopies
of Monkeypod were everywhere, inviting students to recline in
their shade and toil through a chapter of Keats or Tolstoy. Preferred
dress, like everywhere else in Hawai'i was a T-shirt, shorts,
and slippers, (aka., slippahs, zoris, or kamabokos). Those who
dared to call them flip flops were instantly categorized as "from
da mainland." Campus Center was an odd shaped structure
which housed the main cafeteria, a ballroom, the UH bookstore,
the student government, and a student lounge filled with foam
cut in varying geometric shapes for students to lie on and study
or just moe, (sleep), between classes. It was here that sleeping
students dreamed of sunny days at Ala Moana Beach Park, or had
nightmares of impending finals at their heels. In many ways,
I miss going to school. There's something exciting about cramming
for exams and looking up your scores on the bulletin board the
next day amidst the sighs and celebrations of fellow classmates.
Maybe someday...I'll return for more. Malama the 'Aina...and
Among the many lessons I've learned in life, one carries particular
importance. Friends may come and go...but a good friend will
always be with you in heart and mind. Life is full of change,
so we must always be prepared to let go of those we care about.
I met a guy about a year ago here at the store. He saw my flyer
on the bulletin board asking to meet other musicians interested
in Hawaiian Music. He was a local boy, born and raised on O'ahu,
a Kaiser High School Graduate who like me was missing home terribly.
We became fast friends. During the past year, we've spent many
hours drinking light beers, playing music, and talking about
the future. We shared a special friendship because we were both
here...thinking about home and those we left behind. We knew
that we'd made the right decisions when we left Hawai'i, that
we were stronger for having left home, but also that our time
away, growing up...had left an emptiness in us. The adventurous
youths that got on the plane that day sitting on the hot tarmac
of Honolulu Airport, were now years older and wiser...and thinking
about what we'd missed in the last 8 and 9 years. We spoke of
what we'd lost to time like nieces and nephews who were growing
up in our absence. We recalled how our parents smothered us with
love as we tried to break away and be men, and how we now realized
how lucky we were to have been so loved. We made promises of
returning home and never taking life for granted again. Later
this month, Marco's dream will come true. He's not only going
home, but will be married in a few months. As much as I'll miss
him, I couldn't be more happy. Hopefully someday, I'll be back
too...and we can sit and talk about how we grew up...on the Mainland.
Aloha Bruddah Marco! Malama the 'aina...and each other.
I'd like to send a special Aloha and Happy Mother's Day to all
the moms out there, doing all they can to raise their keikis
in this always unpredictable, sometimes dangerous world we live
in today. For your limitless patience, your unconditional love,
and your uncanny knack for knowing just the right thing to say
to make us feel better...we thank you. For picking us up when
we fall, for believing in us when we doubt ourselves, and for
the look of pride on your face when we succeed...we thank you.
For teaching us right from wrong and for showing us that love
is truly the tie that binds...we thank you. And to my mom, the
best mom in the world, for all these things and more than I could
ever say, I Love you and miss you. Happy Mother's Day! Be back
in 2 weeks. Until then, malama the 'aina...and each other.
As Father's Day approaches, I think of my Dad back in Kaneohe.
Nine years ago I left my home and my family to see the world.
My parents asked when I'd return...but at the time I had no answer,
only questions. My Dad grew up in Hali'imaile, Maui on the slopes
of Haleakala, a plantation town dedicated to the growth and harvest
of the Pineapple fruit. After years of working in the pineapple
fields to help Grandma & Grandpa and putting aside what little
he could save, he too chose a different path and left Maui in
search of answers to his own questions. He served in the Army
then enrolled in Trade School and began his life as a civil engineer,
working for the Department of Transportation in Honolulu for
as long as I can remember. As dedicated to his profession as
he was to his family, he worked for thirty one years...and never
complained. In fact, he usually came home eager to tell us the
latest joke circulating around the office. He left home every
morning and returned each evening at the same time, never missing
my mother's kiss. The wisdom that came from his words and actions
were lessons in love, dedication, perseverence, and happiness.
Somewhere along the way, my dad found his answers. I now realize...that
I have too. Thanks Dad. Malama the 'aina...and each other.
As I daydream about my upcoming trip home this summer, I can't
help but think of all my favorite fishing spots. I'll be honest,
it's much more difficult to catch fish from the shore than it
used to be...especially on O'ahu. Commercial overfishing and
the burdens of an ever increasing population have depleted most
species of shore fish. Unlike some of my fishing buddies who
diligently check their lines for bait, I will often heave a chunk
of aku belly in the surf expecting that it will still be there
when I decide to pull it up an hour or so later. Past experience
has taught me to lower my expectations of bringing home the big
one. In many ways catching fish has become a secondary activity
during these outings, simply an excuse to have some beers with
good friends. One of my favorite spots is called Moloka'i Lookout.
It's about half way between Hanauma Bay and Halona Blow Hole
on the South Eastern tip of O'ahu.
On clear days you can see the Island of Moloka'i off in the distance.
Here, the ocean is untamed, a churning cauldron of the deepest
blue water on Earth. The sandy cliffs are treacherous yet inviting,
laying claim to a multitude of broken slippers and skinned elbows.
The descent can be especially challenging when toting a cooler
full of beer, but you know...priorities. About half way down,
the jagged cliffs give way to a large plateau still 50 feet or
so above the crashing surf. We ready our lines, find good holes
in the rock to anchor our poles, pop open a beer, then sit in
the hot summer sun and talk about the one that got away last
year. I can't wait. Until next time, malama the 'aina...and each
By now, I'm back home in Kaneohe counting the days I have left
until I return to SF. I should have a nice tan or a mean sunburn,
depending on how dilligent I was with my sun block. Will I be
ready to leave...probably not. I'm sure I'll be lamenting over
how fast the time flew by and how next time we'll stay for a
month. I will have participated in 2 weddings, played music daily,
ate alot of poke, drank plenty beer, got little sleep, and loved
every minute of it. I will have walked the lava fields on the
Big Island listening for voices from the past, sang "Akaka
Falls"...at Akaka Falls, and relished a bag of fresh poi
in Kamuela. I will have stared up at a star filled sky in the
black pitch of a Hakalau night, and felt very small, and happy.
I will have laid ginger at the gravesite of my maternal grandmother
as I whispered to her words of comfort. I will have spent many
hours trying to memorize every contour of the Ko'olau mountains,
so I'd never forget my home. Mom & Dad will be sad to see
us go, but will try not to show it. I'll be sad to leave...and
will do the same.
Lance & Dave
Howzit Braddahs and Sistahs! Hey, remember the Superman movies
with Christopher Reeves. In one of the sequels, Superman gives
up his super powers in order to become a mortal man, then changes
his mind, when he realizes what he's given up. He walks, (don't
ask me how), to the North Pole to a secret ice palace, literally
his terrestrial birthplace. With a great deal of soul searching
and movie magic it is here that he is able to recover his powers.
Now, I'm not a superman...but I feel like one after being home
for a few weeks. I used to think that going home provided a form
of mental rejuvination, a way to reorganize one's priorities.
It still does. But, more than that, going home to Hawai'i is
about spiritual rejuvination. It's about returning to your birthplace
and doing some soul searching. It's about being generous with
your love...giving freely of your aloha. I played music with
friends alot which is always special. But, I found even more
pleasure in times of solitude, when my companion was Hawai'i
itself. The Islands are full of life. As I sat and played and
sang to the Kona sunset, I wanted so much to please, to give
thanks to this family of Islands. Hawai'i sang along with her
whispering winds, gentle surf, and laughing keikis. Her songs
can be heard everywhere. On the Big Island her melodies permeate
the misty rain forests of Halema'uma'u, and call you to swim
in the warm waters of Puako. Her sudden showers beat down upon
corrugated rooftops like a million triangle players in chorus.
You can even hear her voice in the absolute silence of the Ka'u
Desert, where she will test you to see if you are really listening.
When I left Hawai'i 9 years ago, I wasn't listening. Her message
fell upon my deaf ears. No longer. There are still many things
I need to do there, people to thank, places to see before they're
gone. Listen with your heart. Malama the 'aina...and each other.
Well, it's been about a month since we got back to the City,
and I am hopelessly...and happily stuck in "Hawai'i Mode."
My pidgeon english is as thick as ever and I'm wearing shorts
and slippers to work almost daily. As much as Hawai'i is holding
on to me, I am desparately embracing her as well. Last week we
went to see my braddahs Kawika, Dave, Joe, and Steve aka, Kilohana
at the Temple Bar in Berkeley. They play great Hawaiian Music,
(every 3rd Saturday), and we had a blast. At one point they asked
me to come up and sing a song with them. After a few beers, I
agreed and decided to sing Ku'u Home O Kahalu'u. As I sang about
this beautiful area on the Windward side of Oahu, just down the
street from where I grew up, for a brief moment, I was there.
"I remember days when we were younger, we used to catch
o'opu in the mountain stream..." We saw Jerry Santos just
a few weeks ago in Waikiki and he spoke of how he wrote this
song 25 years ago while living in San Francisco. He said that
people leave Hawai'i for many different reasons, some searching,
others running. Some never return, but for many others, going
away helps them to focus on what they left behind. After climbing
a few City hills and finding his heater not working, Jerry wrote
this song about his childhood and about the home he left behind...the
home he would return to. As I sang to the crowd of transplants
and Hawai'i lovers, I thought about Jerry...and about my home
just down the street. Malama the 'aina, and each other.
Having grown up in a family of three boys, I sometimes wonder
what life would have been like with a sister. Of course I love
my brothers and would never trade them for a sister in a million
years. But what if we had a sister too. Would we be different
today? Probably. But, I think mom would have benefitted most,
with a daughter to pass on her secrets and listen to her problems,
rather than 3 brooding, self absorbed, hormone charged, "leave
me alone," boys with good hearts and intentions but little
patience, when it came to girl stuff. I watch my mom with her
sisters and see the obvious love they share. I realize how lucky
they are to have each other. They are different...and yet the
same. They are survivors from a different time, when life was
hard and sisters had to stick together. I haven't always been
a good nephew to my aunties, but I hope they know how much I
love them and that of all the things I've learned from them,
the most important comes from there love and commitment to one
another. Malama the 'aina, and each other.
This occasion is a reminder for all of us, who in the course
of our busy lives, forget to tell our mom's how much we love
them. Ask anyone who's lost their mom, who no longer has the
opportunity to share their love, and they will tell you not to
wait. Now is the time to thank mom for all her hugs and kisses
when we needed them, for her comforting words when we shed our
tears in disappointment or pain, and for letting us go when the
time came for us to venture out. We start out as children needing
our mothers care for survival. As young adults, we often forget
about all that's been done for us and selfishly forge ahead in
search of ourselves. Hopefully, there will come a time for each
of us when we will realize those things in life that are truly
important, more than a mother's love for a child is the love
of a child returned. Don't wait. Malama the ''aina & each
(Jus fo fun)
U KNOW U LOCAL EEF...
1. You have a separate circuit breaker for your rice cooker.
2. Only NOW you know that cilantro is the same as Chinese parsley.
3. You measure the water for the rice by the knuckle of your
index finger. 4. You know which market sells poi on which days.
5. You know that Char Sung Hut is closed on Tuesday. 6. You can
handle shoyu with green mango, li hing gummy bears, raw egg on
hot rice and pearl tea (Carnation milk in hot water with sugar)
with creme crackers. 7. Your refrigerator has half-empty jar
of mango chutney from the 95 Punahou Carnival. 8. The condiments
at the table are Shoyu, ketchup, chili peppeh watah, kimchee,
takuwan, Hawaiian salt, sliced onion, and pickled onion. 9. You
go to Maui and your luggage home includes potato chips, manju,
cream puffs and guri guri for omigaye. 10. You think the four
food groups are starch, Spam fried food, and fruit punch. 11.
A balanced meal has three starches: rice, macaroni and bread.
12. You know 101 ways to fix your rubber slippers..50 using tape,50
using glue and one using a stick to poke the strap back in. 13.
You sometimes use your open car door for a dressing room. 14.
You wear two different color slippers together and you no mind.
15. Nice clothes means a T-shirt without puka. 16. You are barefoot
in most of your elementary school pictures. 17. You have a slipper
tan. 18. Your only suit is a bathing suit. 19. You drive barefoot.
20. You have at least five Hawaiian bracelets. 21. You never,
ever, under any circumstances wear socks with slippers, or an
aloha shirt that matches your wife's muumuu. 22. You still call
the Blaisdell Center the HIC and it's Sandy's not Sandy Beach.
23. You say "I going for lawnmower da grass" when you
mean "I'm going to mow the lawn." 24. You can understand
every word Bu Lai'a says and you know what his name means. 25.
You have a sister, cousin, auntie or mom named "Honey Girl"
or.....26. Someone in the family named "Boy","Tita",
Bruddah","Sonny", "Bachan", "Taitai",
"Popo", or "Vovo". 27. You still chant "Hanakokolele"
when a friend or co-worker goofs up. 28. You say, "Shtraight",
"Shtreet", and "Shtress". 29. You say "Da
kine" and the other person says,"Da kine" and
you both know what is "Da kine". 30. The "Shaka"
and the "Eye Flash" are worth 1,000 words. 31. You're
shopping at Epcot Center at Disneyworld and you may say something
to your sister and a complete stranger says, "You"re
from Hawai'i, aren't you?" 32. You feel guilt leaving a
get-together without helping clean up. 33. The idea of taking
something from a heiau is unthinkable. 34. You call everyone
older than you, "Auntie","Uncle" and you
kiss everyone in greeting and farewell. 35. You let other cars
ahead of you on the freeway and you give shaka to everyone who
lets you in. 36. Your philosophy is "Bumbai". 37. You'd
rather drag out the compressor and fill that leaking tire every
single morning than have it fixed. 38. The only time you honk
your horn is once a year during the safety check. 39. If a child
needs a home, you give him or her one. She/He becomes "Hanai".
40. You can live and let live with a smile in your heart. 41.
Your male best friend's name is either Wade, Max, Nathan or Melvin.
Many of you already know the tragic and complex story of one
of Hawai'i's great musicians and cultural leaders, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole,
affectionately known to many as Braddah IZ. To the uninitiated,
he was simply an overweight musician who died at the age of 38
from respiratory complications due to his obesity. To those of
us who grew up with his music, he was larger than life in every
way. In 1993, after completing 9 albums with the Makaha Sons
of Ni'ihau as well as 2 on his own, he found himself hopelessly
on welfare. He knew his days were numbered and made the difficult
decision to part with the Makaha Sons and try to secure some
type of future for his wife, Marlene and especially his daughter,
Kawehi. It wasn't long before he had moved from welfare dependence
to a six figure income on his own label Big Boy Records. This
move to maturity was evident not only in the decisions he made
for his family but in the way he communicated to the people of
Hawai'i, especially the young people. As a rambunctious youth,
he got into his fair share of trouble and dabbled in drugs as
did most of his peers. During these later years he often took
time during performances to tell kids to stay away from drugs
and in reference to the increased gang activity in the Islands,
once made the statement, "Handkerchiefs are for wiping the
sweat from your face...not for hanging out of your back pocket."
He also spoke of the sovereignty movement and his hopes for the
future of native Hawaiian people. It was as if he was making
the time he had left, count. He always spoke from the heart,
like a brother, or a father to his children. In his CD Facing
Future, he wrote:
Facing backwards I see the past. Our nation gained, our nation
Our sovereignty gone. Our lands gone. All traded for the promise
What would they say...What can we say?
Facing future I see hope. Hope that we will prosper
Hope that once again we will reap the blessings of this magical
For without hope I cannot live.
Remember the past but do not dwell there.
Face the future where all our hopes stand.
Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono o Hawai'i
We celebrate the
legacy of Braddah Iz
with the release of his latest work "IZ, The Man and His
Is it summer yet? This has certainly been a strange weather year
thanks to El nino. It just doesn't feel like June yet. I remember
growing to despise the incessant heat of Hawai'i summers, laying
in bed at night with all the windows open, praying for the slightest
breeze. I ran a fan in my room every night, for many years. I
must have burned out a good dozen. At the time, this was just
further justification to leave Hawai'i. I vowed that I would
not endure another summer there. That was in fact my last summer
at home. During the subsequent 10 years here in San Francisco
I've made at least yearly trips home, visiting with family and
friends...often in the dead heat of summer and even once during
a record heatwave. What I've found as the years have passed is
that the stifling heat that was once so debilitating, has now
become a long lost friend. Every drop of perspiration from my
brow has become a drop of morning rain, nourishing the kalo patches
of Waiahole and the Kahili ginger of Nu'uanu. My sunburned skin
is the red dirt of Mililani supporting the last vestige of pineapple
on the leeward side. And as I lay in bed in my old room, the
warm night air has become my link to the past, to memories of
caring parents, and loyal brothers. I relive the days of youth
and its uncertainty, knowing only one thing...that I was loved
and safe. For all that was given to me, my resolve to return
for good has only intensified. Some day soon I will be back there...back
Malama the 'aina and each other.
Below is a picture of my good friend Marco on his new CD, "Full
Circle." Most of the songs were written in the kitchen of
his rented house on Noriega street here in the Sunset, at a time
when we were so homesick that the music almost had to be written.
Every couple of days, Marco would call to say he'd written another
song and already recorded the guitar tracks on the 4 track he
had in his kitchen. It wasn't unusual for him to stay up until
6 in the morning working on a song. He was a prolific writer
and I was amazed. We spent countless hours sitting in that kitchen
reminiscing about home and playing music into the morning. The
songs on this CD definately come from the heart. Marco's move
back to Hawai'i last year prompted the title "Full Circle."
His songs speak of small kid days growing up in the Islands,
the time spent away, and finally his return home, a trip full
circle. His Cd's and cassettes are available here at the store.
Until next time, malama the 'aina & each other.
Aloha everybody, and greetings from the homeland! Well, so far
most of my expectations have been fulfilled. I've spent most
of the last week practicing music for my friends' wedding, which
is totally enjoyable anyway. They'll be exchanging vows at the
old Haiku Gardens in Kaneohe, which is now the Chart House. Everybody
still calls it Haiku Gardens though, (so hard to change what
you're used to, yah). I still catch myself calling Blaisdell
Center, HIC. Anyway, I'll be singing during their ceremony down
by the pond, which is something I've always wanted to do. I even
worked a few months as a busboy there during high school. I wonder
if the new elevated H-3 freeway will be visible from the restaurant.
It literally cuts across the mountainside less than a mile away.
I have to tell you, during the last few years prior to the building
of the H-3 which connects Kaneohe to Halawa via a new tunnel
system through the Ko'olaus, I was totally against its construction.
I spoke of the desecration of native Hawaiian burial grounds,
of construction run off potentially affecting water sources and
impacting Kahalu'u farmers, as well as the blight of the concrete
towers against the verdant hills of the lower Ko'olau range.
All of these were valid issues which still remain. I promised
to avoid using this new system as personal protest and spoke
to many who agreed to do the same. After a few days here, my
curiosity got the best of me and I rationalized the need to at
least know what had been done. We left Kaneohe on the new off
ramp labeled Halawa and began the climb to the tunnels. It all
seemed pretty standard at first, no big deal, the white concrete
hugging the contours of the mountainside revealing little about
its great height above the forest floor. We began to come around
a wide left turn, when all of a sudden...Wow! We entered into
a cathedral of towering green cliffs. Nothing manmade could ever
be this awesome. I grew up only a few miles from here in the
shadow of the Ko'olaus, but had never seen it from this perspective.
To my left the deep crevasses revealed a multitude of colors
from the blooming plants which clung to the hillside. The "Stairway
to Heaven," steps which allow hikers to climb almost straight
up from the Haiku valley floor to the Ko'olau Summit can be seen.
They look insanely precarious, battered by years of heavy rains
and strong tradewinds. I even see a couple of hikers making there
way down. To our right the Ko'olaus stand strong in the mid morning
sun, a sentinal to the green valleys beyond, its weathered cliffs
cut sharp by daily waterfalls, bringing water from the moist
clouds which blanket its summit to the rich valley floors below.
I'm awestruck and except for the occasional exclamation, there
is nothing to be said. If I had a choice, this highway still
would not have been built and I would have been content. But
today, I experienced something truly special. There is no other
place like this...like home. Malama the 'aina & each other.
During my recent trip home, we had a chance to hike down the
Halema'uma'u trail which winds its way down the crater from the
Volcano House on the Big Island. The 2 mile trail cuts through
the dense tropical jungle amidst massive groves of Kahili Ginger,
splendid in their beauty and sweet fragrance. Huge boulders,
big as houses block the path frequently, leading us to wonder
if they had been torn from the steep cliffs above or simply strewn
from the fires of Pele during her awakening. The first part of
the trail ends at the crater floor, which is nearly three miles
across at its farthest points. This black top of crumbling lava
glistens in the bright day, a mixture of molten rock turned to
glass decades ago. Here, the senses seem changed, perpective
is skewed. We decide to walk to some steam vents in the distance,
which can be no more than a hundred yards away at most. In actuality,
we walk at least twice as far greeting the occasional 'Ohi'a
Lehua and 'Ohelo berry bush sprouting from the porous lava. Our
return trip is a bit more strenuous but no less satisfying. We
emerge from the trail head drenched in perspiration and are embraced
immediately by the cool fog. We make a promise to Pele to come
and visit again. Malama the 'aina & each other.
Well, 1999 is here, filled with a real sense of promise as the
millenium approaches. But, as we begin to plan out the year and
concoct the mother of all New Year's resolutions for the next,
the ones that will fail miserably, such as stop eating raw fish,
or restrict the use of "yah...but," in our vocabulary,
there is also an underlying sense of uncertainty. Do you feel
it? Although we know logically that the year should pass as it
always has, with more or less the same degree of trepidation
and anxiety, there seems to be something more involved...more
at stake. This is a "Watermark Year." Watermark is
defined as, "a mark indicating the height of high tide and
low tide." We should look back in our history as a civilization
and as a country, and as we rejoice in our accomplishments, we
should in turn examine our errors. The comforts we share today
as citizens of this nation, have come at a high price. In our
quest to be great, we have displaced many indigenous people,
including native Hawaiians. As we contemplate our futures as
individuals, we should not forget the enormous obstacles that
face native Hawaiians as a nation within a nation fighting for
a chance at self-determination, to rightfully have some say in
the direction of their own people. Much has happened in the last
two thousand years. There is much more to come. Let's all spend
the next year counting our blessings, sharing our Aloha, and
looking towards the future with a new sense of hope for all of
our brothers and sisters around the world. Malama the 'aina &
I cannot remember the exact moment...or the time of day some
24 years ago that my life began to change. What I do remember
is the sound of a gentle flute and the words that would find
a permanent place in my heart from that day forward. "Fly
on through the night wind, take a star to her for me, please
whisper I love her, tell her wait for me..." I was 14 years
old, and as confused and hormone driven as most guys my age.
I was a freshman at Castle High School and I had no clue as to
what lay ahead. There was something about this music that was
special. It was simple in lyric, usually about love and the beauty
of the Islands, a far cry from the mid seventies Rock & Roll
that blared everywhere. How could I know that this music would
speak for a generation. This was the beginning of a Contemporary
Hawaiian Music Revolution. The year was 1975...the group was
Kalapana...and the sound belonged to Mackey Feary. His voice
was deep and unrefined, (backyard jam style). His pitch was excellent
and his range incredible. He was tremendously soulful, mixing
his quick vibrato with smooth arpeggios. All combined, his sound
was unique. The only person I know who sounds anything like Mackey
is my friend Darryl, who idolized Mackey as many of us did, and
took his already similar voice and during the years adopted Mackey's
style. It's not unusual during jam sessions back home for someone
to call out to Darryl, "Hey Mackey, your turn. Sing one
As the years passed, rumors of Mackey's drug use circulated throughout
Hawai'i. He left Kalapana after their second successful album
to pursue a solo career. Both the group Kalapana and the solo
Mackey Feary proved to be less commercially successful apart
than they were together. Kalapana was still a powerful group
headed by the lead vocals of Malani Bilyeu, who was in his own
right a great singer. But without Mackey, there was definately
something missing, and everyone knew it. In 1982, Promoter Tom
Moffatt convinced all of the original Kalapana members except
guitarist D.J. Pratt to reunite for a Waikiki Shell concert.
Loyal fans came out strong and the response was tremendous and
obvious. People had missed them.
By 1996, Mackey was addicted to methamphetamine, or "ice,"
and was clinically depressed. Desparate for drugs, he smashed
his wife's car window with a hammer and demanded cash in a Pearl
City parking lot. He was convicted of criminal property damage
and two drug offenses, served six months of a one year prison
term and remained on 5 years probation. After recently failing
a drug test and violating a restraining order, he was sentenced
to 10 years in prison. On Saturday, February 20th, 2 days after
a judge refused to reconsider his sentence, Mackey Feary tied
his bed sheet to the top of his cell in Halawa Prison and hung
himself. He left an angry suicide note in which he blamed the
system that failed him. I don't know who's to be blamed. All
I know is that there will always be a place in my heart where
Mackey keeps singing. Malama the 'aina & each other.
A very young Darryl
Well, I just got back from the Islands and as usual had a great
time. I've been trying to go back to Hawai'i as much as possible
in hopes of satiating my ever present feelings of homesickness.
I keep thinking that maybe if I make enough trips home, my desire
to return for good will lessen. What has happened instead, is
that I have become even more resolute in my quest to return.
Though many things have changed, within the confusion of progress,
there remains what has always been and will quintessentially
always be the Hawai'i of my youth. On a recent trip, I got pulled
over by one of Hawai'i's finest coming out of the Wilson Tunnel.
Still in mainland driving mode, I was doing just a bit over the
speed limit, I swear. The HPD set up a zero tolerance policy
a few years ago in hopes of decreasing accidents. Results have
been positive. Anyway, this police officer walks over to my window,
a local boy around my age, and tells me of my transgression.
He also notices that my registration tag has expired. I explain
that I'm visiting from SF and it's a rental car. He becomes upset,
obviously at the Rental company for not keeping up the registration.
After a few checks on his two way, he returns to my car and says
to me, " 'key brah, just slow down yah." He notices
the fishing rod I have in the back seat and says, "What,
where you going fish?" I tell him, "Waianae side."
He says "Waianae? Kinda windy ah today?" I reply, "My
friend knows one guy that just caught one 10 pound O'io out that
side." "Nah, 10 pounds?" he says. "Whoa,
gotta try den." We give each other the Shaka and I'm on
my way, feeling so good about almost getting a ticket. Only in
Hawai'i. I've got a bunch of these little stories to tell you
during the coming weeks. If you have an "Only in Hawai'i"
story that you'd like to share, please send them to me at The
Hawai'i Store, and I'll share them with our readers in upcoming
issues. Until next time, malama the 'aina & each other.
Outside, it's 50 degrees and foggy, so it must be summer time
in the City. I've been lucky enough to get home alot this year
and no doubt about it summers in Hawai'i are the best. Forget
Waikiki, I'll get as close as Ala Moana for Shirokiya's bento
then head over to magic Island to eat. During the last trip I
finally got to go fishing. I headed out with my good friend Mike
to Hau'ula. He caught a huge 'Oio last time he was there, so
we had to chance it again. The day started off a little overcast,
but quickly cleared. We set up 3 Ulua poles and walked them out
to the edge of the reef, about 150 feet. Mike put on his Tabis
and looked at my slippered feet and questioned my judgement in
negotiating the vana ridden reef. I gave him a fearless look
and told him, "Brah, we neva have tabis when we was young,
jam da slippahs." I proudly made it back, straps intact.
"Ay, these new Baywatch slippahs from K Mart pretty good
yah?" As the day progressed, we continued to feed the puhi,
otherwise no bites. Later in the afternoon, a couple of cars
pull in under the shade. On the roof of one of the cars is a
couch...a full size couch from their house. Just a local family
on a Sunday picnic...with their couch. They placed the couch
on the beach set perfectly facing the gentle surf and next to
their huge grill. I was catching my thrills, no doubt about it.
Only in Hawai'i. We started playing music as the kids from the
different families played in the sand. After awhile one of the
braddahs from the couch comes over. He's huge, massive arms,
tatooed, lavalava. He brings over a plate of barbeque to share
with us, says they have plenty. So cool. Late in the day, the
clouds begin to gather again. We pull in our lines as our neighbors
pack up their couch. Just another day in Hawai'i. Until next
time, malama the 'aina & each other.
Howzit!? Most of you know how bad the Hawaiian economy has been
during the past several years. I'm sure many of you reading this
even have first hand knowledge as recent transplants to the Bay
Area. Most local business analysts predict an economic upswing
in the next few years. Judging by current air fares to the Islands
in excess of $600 for a round trip ticket from SFO, the upswing
has begun. One positive sign of growth has been the marked increase
in live entertainment venues. During the late 70's and early
80's, there were numerous restaurants and clubs offering live
local music. We saw Ka'eo at Monterey's in Pearlridge, spent
many nights with Country Living at Stuart Anserson's in Ward
Warehouse. Willie K. was at the Hawaiian Hut in the Ala Moana
Hotel. The Brothers Caz were still at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's
Monarch Room. You could see Kapono at the Shorebird Grill and
George Street at Chuck's in the Manoa Marketplace. I even did
a stint with some of my friends at Stuart Anderson's in Pearl
City. Those were great times. By the late eighties, maybe as
a precursor to the coming recession, many of the local live venues
changed their entertainment format to Karaoke or piped in music.
For many years, there were substantially less places offering
live music and in turn far fewer showcases for local talent.
The current move toward live entertainment is probably due to
one factor more than any other, the unprecedented success of
musicians like Keali'i Reichel and Bruddah IZ. Their music not
only generated great interest in Hawaiian Music around the world,
but more importantly helped to regenerate and re-energize the
local music scene. This change is especially evident in the sheer
numbers of high quality CD's released by young people today.
The relatively new Aloha Tower Marketplace offers live music
at the Pier Bar, including Henry Kapono on the weekends. A short
walk through the mall takes you to Don Ho's Grill, featuring
The Brothers Caz, Willie K. and Amy Hanaiali'i, and even occasional
appearances by it's famous namesake. Hawaiian music station "Hawaiian
Kine 105.1," even teams up with TV station "K5,"
for frequent live broadcasts from the Grill. Past performers
include Jerry Santos and Olomana, who incidentally perform every
Friday and Saturday night at The Hilton Hawaiian Village Paradise
Lounge. Upstairs from Don Ho's Grill is a cool place called Big
Island Grill. I like this place alot. With seating indoors and
out, Hef on tap, and even sporting the old neon Charleys Fishing
Supplies Sign which used to be on Ke'eaumoku, this is a great
place to kick back. The best part is the local trio called Pai'ea.
Their stage is the entire resturant in and out. With remote mic
and instrument packs on their belts, they stroll through the
eatery with 2 acoustic guitars and an upright bass, and play
table to table as their music is amplified throughout the restaurant.
These boys are talented, doing dead on versions of Country Comfort
songs including their most recent hit, a remake of CC's Rainy
Day Song circa early 70's. One of the guys sounds just like a
young Randy Lorenzo. We always have a good time when they come
to our table because we have no shame and sing along in harmony,
just like being a part of the band, if only for a night. There's
so much more going on. Maybe I'll tell you more next time. Malama
the 'aina...and each other.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens
During the past year as I travelled home, I went in search of
special places, some I'd already known and others I hoped to
find. In my absence, Hawai'i has changed a great deal, yet in
many ways it has remained the same. One such rediscovered place
is only minutes from where I grew up in Kane'ohe. At the end
of Luluku Road is the entrance to Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens.
Situated at the foot of the mighty Ko'olau mountain range, it
is in my opinion one of the most beautiful garden parks in the
world. Along with the well groomed and landscaped trails are
seemingly old growth patches of tropical jungle with towering
Monkeypod and Mango trees. This collection of tropical plants
in combination with the other four botanical gardens on O'ahu
is the largest in the United States. At different points along
this scenic drive you can pull into small parking areas equipped
with very clean restrooms, (many include showers), picnic tables,
and even larger pavilions for family gatherings. Designed and
built by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for flood protection
it was opened in 1982. Judging by the lack of crowds even on
the weekends, it remains a somewhat hidden resource. Actually,
the sparcity of people is one of the reasons it is such a great
place. I've spent many afternoons staring up at the magnificent
cliffs, while jotting down lyrics to new songs, or standing at
the edge of the lake with my nephew, feeding Love's bread to
the tilapia and ducks. I make it a point to visit the gardens
whenever I'm home. I've often stopped there for one last look
while on my way to the airport. One last chance to put everything
in perspective as I count the days to my return. Malama the 'aina...&
In Scott Makapali Burton's Hawaiian Historical Calender, the
month of August is known as "Hilina'ehu," a time of
"changing winds and seas." A description that only
underscores a time of critical change for the native people of
Hawai'i. On August 12, 1898, the Kingdom of Hawai'i was forcibly
overthrown by the government of the United States. The Hawaiian
flag was lowered for the last time to the strains of Hawai'i
Pono'i, and replaced by the Stars and Stripes. The Hawaiian Kingdom
was no more, and the Hawaiian people already stripped of much
of their heritage, stood by their Queen Lili'uokalani's call
for peace. Many would have fought that day in defense of their
kingdom. Most would certainly have died. They would have been
no match against the massive arsenal of the U.S. military. This
ultimate dispossesion of the Hawaiian people took place over
100 years ago. Since then, they have adhered to their late Queens
wishes of non-violent protest. The events leading up to this
one defining moment are far too complex for me to do proper justice
in this limited space. As this day approaches, I ask you to seek
out the truth. Look around you...and into your hearts. As Native
Hawaiians grieve for all they've lost, so should we, and as they
stand together in strong voices to try to reclaim what was taken
from them, we too should stand. It is the right thing. Malama
the 'aina & each other.
So, I guess summer is over. Oh I forgot, not just any summer
but the last summer of the millenium. To be followed by the last
fall and last winter of the same. As the hype continues on to
its dizzying finale, after the last Halloween and last appearance
of Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween 2000, the final Glitch."
After the last Thanksgiving, after Santa finally emerges from
his last chimney, and as we count down to the beginning of a
new age...where will we be? I don't mean "where," as
in watching fireworks at the Embarcadero, or flying the Concorde
super sonic to New Year celebrations around the world. I mean
where will we really be as a people. Will the new millenium bring
promises of enlightenment? Will we be more patient and accepting?
Is it possible for us to really be better people? I say we start
working on it right now, because in reality, the coming millenium
brings nothing with it but a new day. It's what we do... and
how we live our lives that truly counts. Malama the 'aina...&
Ok, picture this, It's New Year's Eve, 1999. We've been invited
to a handful of millenium Celebrations by friends and family,
and my nose is running like the Wailua River after Hurricane
Iniki. I decided to clean house that day, (mom used to tell us
that you had to have a clean house for the new year), and the
dust had caused my allergies to kick in with a vengeance. On
top of that, I'd been hot packing a sty in both eyes all week,
(I haven't had a sty since I was a kid). What's going on? I gotta
figure that in the master plan, I was not supposed to be out
that night. I looked like post fight Rocky Balboa with the flu.
My wife knew I was depressed and kept smiling at me saying that
she didn't want to go out anyway. What a gal. She'd gone grocery
shopping that day and bought me a large Sapporo Lager. I drank
it slowly as I thought about all the lucky people who were out
having a blast. I was truly wallowing in my misery. As our son
slept on his Hawaiian print quilt on the living room floor, we
watched the televised celebration at the Embarcadero. At the
stroke of midnight, as the fireworks raged from our TV screen,
I felt terrible. I had missed it...the 100 year celebration,
a once in a lifetime event. We put the baby to bed and fell asleep.
Daylight slipped past the blinds as baby Nick's squirming woke
me in the early morning, my eyes still swollen, but allergies
gone. I looked at my wife sleeping peacefully next to me and
my son peering out of his crib as if this were his first morning,
and realized then...that I was the luckiest man alive. Malama
the 'aina...and each other.
Well It's been only 5 months since I was back home, 5 long months.
My abilities to withstand the aches of homesickness and tolerate
the periods of time I am away diminish with each passing day.
My son, seven months young, has become my world. He is as happy
as he can be. But within his easy laughter and the innocent wonder
in his eyes, I see all that he is missing. I see it for him,
because he doesn't yet know. He can't miss what he doesn't know,
right? He can't miss grandma's hugs, or falling asleep on grandpa
while he's snoring in front of the tv. He can't miss the time
he would have spent with his cousins drawing dinosaurs, or looking
for chameleons in the back yard. How could he miss the perfect
summer days at Ka'a'awa, running in the pristine white sand,
or the heady fragrance of pikake along Maunakea Street in the
afternoon, while buying leis for Auntie's Birthday. He couldn't
possibly miss the warm embrace of the evening air on his tanned
face, or the feel of a good pair of worn out slippers on his
feet. He can't miss what he doesn't know...He wont miss the massive
lu'aus or potlucks where everybody and their auntie shows up
with Delight Bakery desserts, when all the uncles drink beer
in the garage and play music, while the kids play hide and seek
under the flickering street lights. Webster's defines the word
"regret," as "to feel troubled or remorseful over
something that one has done or left undone." I regret not
being able to give my son all that he deserves...all the things
I had growing up, and I regret every day that goes by that I
continue to deny him these things. I pray for the day that my
son walks up to me, in his eyes the kind of love a son has for
his dad and says "Hey dad, thanks for bringing me home."
Malama the 'aina & each other.