The Braden Files
Curiosities of mathematics, history, parachuting, etc……

Island Memories

Well, for Christmas I received a great many sticks (we already have kindling!) and coal (we heat with oil!) in my stocking so I didn’t know what was going on this morning. Kathy gave me a CD of Emma Veary singing a concert at the Royal Hawaiian. Mixed with legitimate selections from Liliuokalani, Bizet and Mozart, was one of my favorites from the ’30’s Tin Pan Alley…the corny-to-some but poignant “Little Grass Shack”.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY LITTLE GRASS SHACK IN KEALAKEKUA, HAWAII
I WANT TO BE WITH ALL THE KANES AND WAHINES THAT I KNEW LONG AGO…

I had a parachuting buddy at Kealakekua…his Auntie took me in (a Coast Haole yet!) as one of the family! I started tearing up when I heard Emma sing it…VERY slowly, as it was meant to be sung…

I CAN HEAR OLD GUITARS A-PLAYING ON THE BEACH AT HO’ONAUNAU…

We all know it as the “City of Refuge”, I will remind you.

I CAN HEAR THE HAWAIIANS SAYING,
“KOMO MAI NO KAUA IKA HALE WELAKAHAO”

Etymologically, you gotta love “welakahao”! Not found in the Bishop Museum Hawaiian Dictionary. Literally “hot iron” but meaning “Right away! Get a move on!” (Jack London used it in Cosmopolitan Magazine, March 1918,
“What Alice Told Her Soul”.) Academics always tell how to say stuff like “The pen of my aunt is on the table” but never important phrases like “Hurry up!”

IT WON’T BE LONG ‘TIL MY SHIP WILL BE SAILING BACK TO KONA
A GRAND OLD PLACE THAT’S ALWAYS FAIR TO SEE.

You’re telling me! Used to sail there with Kathy and my parents, thirty years ago. Diving off the boat. Water as clear as the air…

I’M JUST A LITTLE HAWAIIAN

Not really. Born in California, I could live in Hawaii for 80 years and still qualify for “Malahini”. Same with New England. “He’s ‘from away’ “.

AND A HOMESICK ISLAND BOY,

Very much so

I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY FISH AND POI,

Well, fish, anyway. My children love poi.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY LITTLE GRASS SHACK IN KEALAKEKUA, HAWAII
WHERE THE HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA’A GOES SWIMMING BY

Kealakekua is at least five miles from the beach, on the side of a volcano. But, whatevahs.

When my daughter Abbey was in the 4th grade the Governor had all the school kids vote for what our state fish should be and the “fish with a face of a pig”, the ubiquitous humuhumu, made the cut easily.

How I miss those days…just screwing around parachuting at all the state fairs, flying over to Molokai to deliver the lepers their newpapers, SCUBA diving at Hanauma Bay and body surfing at Makapuu, not a care in the world. Flinging fresh squid on the grill on the beach! Broke da mout’, Brah! Sleeping all night on the beach! Free jumps with the Marines at Kaneohe! At taxpayers’ expense! Dinner every night down at the Flamingo Bar & Grill! My Japanese waitress-girlfriend! Sigh. Emma brought it all back. I was trying to be a skydiving beach-bum and gave it a good run but ultimately failed by getting married whilst in multi-engine school.

Hey I ain’t got no complaints! But you can never go home, never go back.
Kathy also got me some six-dollar cigars…the only time of the year I get indulged to such an extent.

Mele Kalikimaka,
Larry
(Christmas 2006)

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