On December 30th 2014...
By Steve's Girl
...after they had strolled along a heavenly beach to watch the sun rise, Jack and Marie sat down in a big white soft cloud that received a touch of pink from the rising sun.
"What's on your mind, Mick?", Marie asked.
"You know I would have turned 94 today and again people on a website called "Remembering Jack Lord" are remembering my birthday. Even an imaginary birthday party is held in three different locations in our home with games that consist of questions, even about the two of us!"
"For example: 'How long were Jack and Marie married?'"
"Really! And was that question answered, and correctly answered?"
"Yes, it was: 'Since two different dates of marriage are given (1/17/1949 or 1/13/1948) Jack and Marie have been married for 49 years/4 days or 50 years/8 days.' "I feel so humble, Marie. I've been dead for nearly 17 years and people still know who I was and remember my birthday."
"Of course they do. You have given them so much with your performances on stage, in the movies, on tv. You gave so much of your time and money to Charity. So many people still enjoy your paintings. I know for certain that the webmaster of "Remembering Jack Lord" got "Leahi w/verse" for Christmas. And - last but not least - think of what your alter ego, Steve McGarrett, once said: "Heroes live as long as people respect them*."
* Five-0 episode "Shake Hands with the Man on the Moon" (Season 10)
When I’m Sixty-Four
It was an annual birthday ritual. Steve McGarrett pulled the old scrapbook off his bookshelf and settled himself in a comfortable chair on the lanai of his beach house to review its contents: the story of his life in newspaper clippings, photographs and other keepsakes. Since his retirement from Hawaii Five-O, the elite state police unit, he had plenty of time available to spend on this walk down memory lane each year.
A warm ocean scented breeze tossed the single lock of silver streaked hair that hung over his forehead as he took a sip of his coffee then set the mug down on the table beside his chair. From the chest pocket of his vibrant long-sleeved aloha shirt, he retrieved his reading glasses, unfolded them and perched them on his nose. He fingered the old leather cover of the album on his lap and sighed. Sixty-four years old! Where did the time go?
His mother had purchased the book long ago, probably when he had started school. After she had passed, Steve decided to keep the memento when he had found it among the few personal items she had left behind. Then out of love and respect for the woman who had given him life, he had continued adding to the collection over the years. Doing so made him feel closer to her.
Opening to the first page, he studied the now yellowed photo from his first communion, a couple of newspaper photos of his teenage self in his high school football uniform followed by his black and white portrait in cap and gown. Such a serious expression on that young face! On the next page, there was a small article about his appointment to the US Naval Academy and then an announcement of his graduation and commissioning from the ‘Our Men in Uniform’ section of their local New York paper, along with a few snapshots from the proud occasion.
The years he had served in the Korean War were sparsely represented by only a few old letters tucked in their envelopes, stuck between the pages of the album. Steve carefully unfolded and reread each letter that he had penned to his mother in the early fifties. They spoke of his daily life as a naval officer at sea before his ship went down. The tough former cop swallowed the lump forming in his throat while he slowly refolded the old letters; they were his mother’s final contribution to the scrapbook.
Steve set the album down, rose from his chair and wandered back into the kitchen to refresh his coffee. When he returned to the lanai, the ambient sounds of surf and rustling palm trees were joined by a distant siren. It had taken a few years, but the sound of a siren no longer caused his adrenalin to surge. He sank back into his seat and picked up his scrapbook, turning to the next page while he sipped from his mug.
Steve’s own contributions to the scrapbook began with a clipping from The Honolulu Advertiser. Dated September 1, 1959, the article under the photo taken from his naval personnel file declared that the governor of the new state of Hawaii had appointed Steve McGarrett to head the newly formed state police unit called Hawaii Five-O. It wasn’t long before Steve had the new unit running like a well-oiled machine. It had been hard work, but well worth it. Two envelopes tucked in the album held letters from presidential citations he had received which praised his leadership and effectiveness.
Steve’s career with Five-O had been so much more than a job. It was a vocation, an intense calling that had consumed the majority of his waking hours, leaving little time for something as mundane as clipping articles for a scrapbook. The select clippings that he did manage to save were the ones that held the most meaning to him. A prime example from 1967 announced the appointment of an HPD officer named Dan Williams to the position of second-in-command of Five-O. Steve adjusted his reading glasses and grinned as he studied the newsprint portrait of Williams. Barely thirty years old at the time, the fresh face beneath the head of close cropped curls looked much younger. But there was also a toughness that Steve could see in that face. Best decision I ever made, Steve mused.
Seemingly out of place among the articles about Five-O was a small card in a blue envelope. The bespectacled stork and blue teddy bear on the card evoked a sadness that Steve couldn’t put into words. He opened the card and read the birth announcement of Thomas John Whalen, his nephew, the child who never had the chance to grow up.
With a sigh, Steve put the card back in its envelope and leafed through a pile of clippings that still needed to be sorted, arranged and mounted in the book. Name after name brought back case after case, creating a timeline of sorts of his police career: Joseph Trinian, Bill Cameron, Curt Stoner, Honore Vashon, the People’s Attack Group, Charlie Bombay, Tony Alika, Wo Fat. Steve McGarrett had served the state of Hawaii well.
Then there was the newspaper clipping that still hurt: Chin Ho Kelly’s obituary. Steve read through the story while a multitude of memories filled his heart.
Chin...this isn’t easy for me to say but…I love you like a brother…
Steve’s eyes misted and a sudden tropical rain showered the lanai as if the heavens were joining him in his grief. He quickly closed the scrapbook, grabbed his coffee mug and moved inside. He set his mug down on the kitchen counter and glanced at the clock. Half the morning had passed and his stomach was rumbling.
He made himself a sandwich and emptied the last of the coffee into his mug. He returned to the living room and sipped his coffee while he watched the rain, wondering what he would do with the rest of his day. Golf was out; his favorite course would be too wet until mid-afternoon, too late for eighteen holes. Maybe sailing? Painting? He shook his head. Retirement…too many choices!
Steve left the window and decided to flip through his record collection: numerous classical recordings, but mostly jazz. He selected an album, removed the vinyl disk from its sleeve and placed it on the turntable. After turning a few knobs on the hi-fi and carefully lowering the tone arm, the living room was filled with the lush, full-bodied voice of Eadie Jordan singing Honeysuckle Rose. Steve sat down on the couch, took a couple of bites of his sandwich and opened the scrapbook to where he had left off on the lanai.
Bypassing the remainder of the police articles, he found the few more personal items. There were four postcards from Nicole Wiley, all displaying various views of downtown Chicago. Steve read through each short note, picturing in his mind the beautiful brunette he had risked his life to protect in Singapore. His physical attraction for the frightened witness had been so powerful, it had taken all that he had to keep his head and keep them both alive. But after Ravasco’s trial, they had gone their separate ways. I wonder what she’s doing now… Steve picked up the program from a fashion show and brushed his fingers over the words on the cover: ‘featuring designs by Cathi Ryan’. Oh Cathi, he whispered wistfully. The strains of Eadie Jordan’s rendition of Stormy Monday echoed the emptiness in his heart for the woman he had loved.
A decaying rubber band held together a stack of ‘Congratulations on your Retirement’ cards; he put them aside in favor of reading the announcement from The Honolulu Advertiser. It was front page news back then – the retirement of Steve McGarrett, the great detective, long-time head of Five-O, truly a man who was larger than life! Paul Jameson had left the office of governor at the same time, so the state was likely in for some big changes. A smaller article from the same edition named Dan Williams as the new head of Hawaii Five-O, listing all his qualifications and more importantly, the blessing of his predecessor. The photo of Williams bore more lines on the still boyish face along with some grey creeping into the sandy curls. Time certainly does march on.
There were a couple of clippings about high profile cases that Five-O had solved under the leadership of Williams. These filled Steve with as much pride as did his own accomplishments. The last item in the album was a simple white card with black lettering – the engraved invitation to Dan’s wedding. It had been a small ceremony without much fanfare, but Steve had served as best man. Danno, you really hit the jackpot! he thought with a grin. While Steve had given up on finding a long term relationship in his own life, he was delighted by his friend’s good fortune. Linda Williams was one of those rare women who, like Mrs. Kelly, fully understood what it meant to be married to a cop and a Five-O cop at that. She had dedicated herself to supporting her husband’s career and possessed the requisite high tolerance for the inevitable canceled plans and lonely nights fearing for Dan’s safety.
Steve set the album down on the couch and finished eating his sandwich, chased by the last swallow of now cold coffee. Noticing the monotonous scratching of the phonograph needle circling the concentric margin of the record, he got up, removed the tone arm and shut off the machine. Before he could get his plate and mug to the kitchen sink his telephone rang. He pocketed his reading glasses then picked up the receiver and issued his standard clipped greeting, which hadn’t changed in years.
“Steve, it’s Dan…”
Williams’ voice sounded strange to him, an odd mixture of extreme fatigue and elation.
“Howzit, Danno? Are you okay?”
“I’m great! Linda went into labor last night…Steve, I’m a father!”
“That’s wonderful!” Steve’s voice was full of emotion. “Is Linda okay? And the baby? It’s a few weeks early, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is, but they’re both fine. Linda’s exhausted and sore, but very happy. Steve, can you come to Leahi? I want you to meet your new goddaughter – Clara Stephanie Williams.”
“I’ll be right there, Danno! If I had still had a siren, I’d use it!” Steve’s ear to ear smile could be heard in his voice.
“Great! And Steve, happy birthday!”
Steve hung up the phone and swiftly collected his wallet and car keys from the table by the door. Before he left, he glanced back at the open scrapbook on the couch, still displaying the wedding invitation on the left page and a blank page on the right. He now knew exactly what he would put on that blank page. He exited the beach house and closed the door behind him. Life wasn’t over for Steve McGarrett, not by a long shot.
McGarrett's Day Off
The sun rose on another beautiful day in Honolulu, it was a Sunday, and for Steve McGarrett is was a day off. He had hoped and prayed that nothing would occur to prevent him having this day to himself. When McGarrett did have a day off, he usually went sailing, but not today. He wasn’t even going jogging. Today was to be different. He had planned it weeks ago. He was going to an auction and art exhibition to be held at The Hawaiian Museum of Fine Arts. He subscribed to a monthly magazine on art and to his amazement, he had seen that an item he had been after for many years, was to be auctioned.
He had bought a wooden model of a rat many years before in Korea, He was informed that there were originally two carvings, but they had got separated somehow and the whereabouts of the second one was not known. He had made several enquiries, but could never find out who owned it.
However, it had become available because the person who inherited didn’t like it, so decided to auction it. Steve thought it was ironic that it had been in Honolulu all the time.
He had seen the reserve price and felt he could afford to bid; He had set himself the figure he could go to and after making enquiries at the museum, was told that the item wasn’t a particularly sought after piece as it was one of a pair. He didn’t say he had the other piece. No one else had made enquiries about it. So Steve felt optimistic.
He showered, had a light breakfast and dressed in cool white slacks, a crisp blue and yellow Hawaiian shirt with a matching neckerchief, which he favoured. He always wore suits and ties for work, but loved to dress casually whenever possible.
He set of in high spirits for the Museum at 9.30 a.m. The auction was at 11 a.m. but he wanted to look at the exhibits and items up for auction, as well as to inspect the rat.
On arriving, he found there were not too many people around. Let’s hope it stays this way, he thought.
He browsed round the sale items, and then found the Tomokazu rat. His eyes lit up. “Hopefully you will belong to me shortly. I have a nice little friend for you at home” McGarrett said quietly.
“Talking to yourself Steve.” said a voice from behind him. Steve turned around. It was James Makoa, the curator of the Museum. Steve had met him on numerous occasions.
“Yes I seem to be” said Steve shaking hands with the Makoa. “I am really hoping to take this home.”
“I wish you luck, Steve, I haven’t had anyone ask about it apart from you, so keep your fingers crossed. Perhaps you will join me for coffee after the auction, said Makoa.
“I would be delighted.” answered Steve. “I had better go and take my place. There seems to be a lot more people that I expected. The place is filling up”
“Oh, you’d be surprised at the amount of art lovers in Honolulu Steve; you are not the only one. See you later.” he said with a wave.
Steve took his place at the back; each bidder was given a placard to use for bidding when a figure was called out.
This was a new experience for McGarrett he felt his pulse rate quicken as the bidding for the first items started. The rat was number eight on the list and he started to fidget on number four. Five and six sold quickly. Seven went on a little longer. Then there it was.
“Item eight is a Tomokazu carving, signed and dated” The auctioneer stated. “This item is a wooden model of a rat. It is one of a pair, but the whereabouts of the other one is unknown, therefore the reserve figure reflects this as, of course, a pair would be worth so much more.”
The auctioneer said a figure and Steve raised his placard.
“We have a bid over the back” said the auctioneer. “Do we have another bid? Ah yes, one over on the left.”
The auctioneer called out the next figure and Steve raised his placard again. This happened two more times and too Steve’s relief the other bidder shook his head and placed his placard on his lap.
“Do we have any further bids, said the auctioneer.
This is it, thought Steve. It’s mine.
“Going one once, going twice,” the auctioneer halted. “It seems we have a bidder on the phone.” They have upped their figure to… “He stated the new figure. Steve groaned, but raised his placard again. He made four more bids. The bidder on the phone was not letting up. Steve knew he could only make one more bid, He had reached his maximum. He was too prudent a man to get into debt for, what was really only a nick knack, although he didn’t see it that way. He made his last bid, wiping his face with his neckerchief, his heart pounding. He held his breath.
“We have another bid on the phone.” said the auctioneer.
Steve had to concede; he shook his head and put the placard down.
“Going once, going twice, sold to the bidder on the phone/”
Steve couldn’t hide the feeling of disappointment. He couldn’t even find out who the bidder was. He didn’t feel like meeting with the curator, but it would be rude not to. So he spent just ten minutes with him out of politeness. James understood Steve’s disappointment.
“Maybe it will come up again sometime” he said kindly.
“Yeah, maybe, well I’m off for a sail for a couple of hours that will soften the blow, goodbye James, Thanks for the coffee.” Steve left the museum feeling frustrated,
“So much for auctions” he said aloud.
He did feel a little better after he spent the afternoon sailing; he had grabbed a bite to eat before he went to the harbour, knowing he wouldn’t bother when he got home.
He docked and secured his schooner ands set off for home around five o’clock. When he opened his door it was to the sound of the phone ringing, He answered it with his usual curt “McGarrett.”
“Steve its Danno, something has happened here at the Palace, can you come over right away.”
“What is it, Danno, what’s happened?” Steve said with a sigh.
“You’ll see when you get here, but hurry Steve, it’s urgent.”
Steve grabbed his keys and left in a hurry, He thought the Palace may have been broken into; there were some very important papers, vital to a case on Wednesday, without which there would be no case. Had someone stolen them? He screeched away from his apartment and put the siren on; he had better get there fast.
On arriving at the Palace, he ran up the steps and noted the doors were intact. No sign of a break in there. He let himself in and ran full pelt three at a time up the Koa wood staircase. There was no one in the outer office and all was quiet.
What’s going on? He thought. “Danno, where are you? He called out. No answer. He opened his office door and walked into the darkened office. Switching the light on, Steve was greeted by a chorus of Hau’oli la Hanau.
Steve could have been knocked down with a feather, he was so surprised. There, in his office, singing the birthday song were his fellow Five 0 team, Danny, Chin Ho, Kono, as well as his Secretary, Jenny and her assistant. Duke from H.P.D Che Fong and of all people, Governor Jameson.
“We know you don’t like remembering your birthday Steve, said Danny, when they had finished the chorus, but the Governor told us it was your big 50, we could not let that go un-noticed. So just this once you will have to put up with it.
“We know you don’t drink Steve,” said the governor, holding up a bottle of champagne, but I’m afraid it’s an order just for today.” he said, filling up some small paper cups for everyone.
“I don’t know what to say,” Steve said, his face slightly flushed with embarrassment.
“Except thank you”
Danny stepped forward and handed Steve a small parcel. “Just a token of appreciation Steve”, he said with a grin.
Steve untied the parcel, which revealed a small carved Koa wood box. Inside the box carefully wrapped in tissue was the model of the rat he had so much wanted.
“Oh my God, you were the bidder on the phone.” Steve exclaimed.
Danny laughed, “Yup, it was me. I was getting very worried at the last minute, I thought you were gonna top my last bid. I had reached our limit.”
“Danno, this cost a small fortune, how on earth…?”
The Governor interrupted. “It wasn’t just us, Steve, the whole of HPD contributed too. You see, I subscribe to the same magazine as you do. When I saw the item for auction, I knew it was the one you had been after for years, so I set Danny and the boys a task. I am glad to say they collected enough to purchase it. I was on the other line as Danny was bidding. I can tell you, I was getting a little hot under the collar. If you had gone higher, I thought I might have to pawn the Medal of Office.” This comment caused a roar of laughter. “Everyone, without exception wanted to show how much they appreciate and respect you Steve,” said the governor, raising his cup. “Here’s to you Steve, may you continue to serve this State for many years to come”
“Thank you everyone.” said Steve taking a cup from Jenny. “This has got to be the best day off I have ever had,
A Special Day
It was a beautiful day, and Jack was headed out for a visit at a special needs school for children, as he had done many times before. Jack loved children, and spending time with them was very important to him. He had visited with many of the same children before, but one little girl he had seen more often.
Many of the older children had moved to a different building.
This little girl was nine years old with long, flowing, black hair; beautiful brown eyes; and a smile as big as the ocean. Her name was Malia. She had no family to go home to after school. You see, she was an orphan. This weighed heavily on Jacks heart.
Jack walked into the room, and Malia jumped out of her chair and ran toward Jack.
“Mr. Jack, I am so happy to see you!” She threw her arms around Jack’s waist, as that was as far as she could reach.
Jack replied, "I am happy to see you, too."
“Mr. Jack, I want to show you a picture I drew. It is a picture of the beach with dolphins swimming.
Jack said, "That is really good Malia. So, you like dolphins?"
“I sure do, but I’ve never seen a real one. Guess what, Mr. Jack? My birthday is coming soon.”
“It is,” Jack replied. He paused for a moment and said, "How would you like to see real dolphins? I can arrange it.”
“Yes, for your birthday,” Jack replied.
“Yes. I would like that very much, Mr. Jack. Can I invite some of my friends.”
“You sure can.”
So Jack made arrangements at Sea Life Park. When the big day arrived, Marie brought Malia a beautiful cake, which she had made, and lots of balloons. She and Jack took Malia and her friends to see everything she wanted to see at Sea Life Park: dolphins, sea lions, and penguins, too .
Then, they all headed back to the pavilion that Jack had rented. There were hamburgers and hot dogs and all the trimmings. Everyone was having so much fun. Jack and Marie stepped away a few feet to admire the beauty of the park. Then, Jack looked toward the pavilion.
“Marie, look. Malia is so happy. You would think it was Christmas, the way her eyes are so lit up.”
Marie relied, "It seems to me, she is not the only one."
Jack just smiled.
A moment later, Malia ran toward Jack and said, “Thank You! I love you, Papa Jack.”
You could see the tears well up in Jack’s eyes. Even Marie's heart jumped. Jack turned to Marie and said, "She has no one. What do you think...?”
Marie interrupted. “Yes, Jack. It would be wonderful.”
H50 1.0 FOREVER
The chief of special investigations for the Hawai‘i State Police entered agency’s offices for the last time. He worked in a building located across South King Street from the ‘Iolani Palace. Traditionally known as the Territorial Office Building, or the Kekuanao‘a Building, its exterior and reception hall were built in the art deco style; otherwise, it was plain and nondescript, just another government office building – until one entered the office of Stephen McGarrett.
The state had decorated McGarrett’s office with custom drapes, an area rug, a handsomely carved burled walnut desk, and matching bookcases. He had added a large painting of 19th century sailing ships; a scale model of an 18th century sailing ship; a handsomely carved teak outrigger canoe; and texts on military intelligence, law enforcement, and naval ships.
Little doubt had existed but that Cdr McGarrett might one day become Adm McGarrett, except that, when Governor Paul Jameson had asked him to establish and run a special investigations unit within the Hawai‘i State Police, Steve had accepted the appointment and resigned from the active duty Navy.
Now, Governor Jameson was retiring after three terms and twelve years. The governor-elect, Dan Sharpe, had asked Steve to stay on, but Steve had asked to step down, as well, citing his age. At the end of the month, Stephen J. McGarrett would reach his sixtieth birthday, which was the Navy’s mandatory retirement age – and, he had decided, his own.
It was an emotional time for McGarrett. He was the man who was known as “the top cop from the mainland to Hong Kong” and “the compassionate cop.” On the one hand, he was tired and ready to turn over the reins to a younger man, who still was able to scale Diamond Head and run through sugarcane fields. On the other hand, he was more than a little apprehensive about what retirement would bring.
Now, McGarrett was tying up loose ends. He had completed a report and a set of notes about active cases for his successor and was signing a stack of correspondence, which his secretary, Luana, had typed the previous day. She looked in and let him know that it was time for him to leave for the inaugural ceremony. He thanked her and, after hastily signing the last of the letters, walked out to say goodbye to his detectives. To his surprise, a work table in the outer office had been spread with a table cloth and laid with good things to eat. Above it hung a banner bidding him farewell.
“I thought we agreed not to hold any parties,” he said.
“That was big parties, like dinner and dancing at The Kahala,” Kimo Carew replied.
“You have to let us do this for you, Steve,” Duke Lukela insisted. “We can’t let you go without doing something.”
Steve nodded. “Is that May’s coffee cake?”
“Yes, it is,” May said as she walked in with Jenny. Both had served as his secretaries in years past.
They were followed by others with whom Steve had worked through the years. Some had left government long before; others were virtually new. All admired and respected Steve McGarrett and wanted this opportunity to let him know. He saw Dan Williams, who had left the year before, and Kono, who had transferred to the HPD’s detective bureau eight years before. He saw three former forensic pathologists and forensic scientists, including Doc Bergman and Che Fong. No fewer than fifty HPD patrolmen and detectives had arrived to shake his hand.
“You have to say something, Boss,” Jenny prompted him at one point.
Steve nodded and said, “Thank you all for coming. It’s good to have everyone together one last time.”
“I wish Chin could be here,” May offered.
“Something tells me he is, May,” Steve replied. “I sense his presence often.”
Heads nodded in agreement.
“When Chin Ho Kelly and I first met in the governor’s office, back when the governor worked in the palace and Five-0 was only a glimmer in his eye, we agreed that we wanted to be the best agency in the nation. With all our hard work, it is. From those days of carrying desks up from the basement and persuading May to give us the fifty percent of her time that the attorney general’s office wasn’t taking, we’ve slowly, but surely, managed to put together an agency that gets the job done.”
“It more than gets the job done, Steve,” Danno spoke up. “Every year at the criminal justice conferences, the one question everyone asks is ‘What’s McGarrett doing that makes the difference?’”
A trace of a grin crept across Steve’s face. “And what do you tell them, Danno?”
“It’s teamwork, Steve. You might man the wheel of this ship, but it takes the combined efforts of all to get the job done.”
“Yeah,” Kono piped up, giving his large, toothy grin. “Someone gotta bring da lomi-lomi.”
Laughter rang out.
“Remember when Chin brought tea and called it Chinese coffee?”
“He brought saimin and said his uncle was passing in a Japanese neighborhood.”
The memories flowed forth for a full thirty minutes before Luana interrupted to tell Steve that it really was time for him to leave for inauguration. He made the rounds, speaking briefly to everyone present. Upon reaching the door, he called a final good-bye, then darted out.
Steve literally bolted across the street to the palace, where inauguration was starting. As he drew near the seats where the Jameson administration were gathered, a junior clerk arose and gave Steve his chair. Even as Steve sat down, Ambrose, the governor’s Basset Hound, walked up to him and sat at his feet, while the governor and his wife looked around with smiles. Steve struggled not to laugh when, as soon as the incoming governor began to deliver his address, Ambrose lay down and went to sleep. Yes, even Ambrose was exhausted from so many years of service.
When inauguration ended and the crowd dispersed, Steve returned Ambrose to his owners, offered them a final word of thanks for their many acts of kindness through the years, and turned to leave. He walked back to the Territorial Office Building, claimed his car, and drove to his new home.
- - -
In anticipation of his retirement, Steve had sold his condominium and given up his lease on the beach house, where he had spent his weekends over the past few years. In their place, he had purchased a 30-foot sloop. He had hoped to find a vintage boat with teak railings and cabin, but had found it best to opt for a newer fiberglass boat that needed fewer repairs. Even so, he had spent the past few months updating the galley and head; replacing the sails, mattress, and cushions; and scrubbing it down from bow to stern. At the same time, a mechanic had been giving the engine a thorough overhaul.
Now, at last, with Coast Guard inspection stickers firmly in place, Steve moved in. He brought little with him, only his books, a few small pictures, and his clothes. The suit he had worn to inauguration would be his only suit, now. The others, as well as his furniture, were in storage, while he tried out this experiment in tiny-house living.
After changing into one of his favorite aloha shirts, white twill slacks, and white oxfords, Steve left his boat. He walked a few blocks up Hobron Street to a market, where he purchased the few items he needed for his sail to Moloka‘i.
Yes, Steve was moving to Moloka‘i. He had been invited by a group of Moloka‘i residents, who liked the retired cop and knew he wanted a place away from the limelight where he could make his home. There was even free moorage for his sailboat at Hale‘o‘lono Harbor.
In summer, Steve would have made the trip alone. In December, however, with high surf and tall waves, he took a well-seasoned sailor with him. Moki Ohana was waiting for Steve when he returned with his purchases.
“You ready, or do I have to wait while you go in search of more diesel fuel?” Ohana quipped. It was Navy slang for coffee that was as repulsive as the odor of the Bunker C diesel fuel that powered the ships.
“Have your fun, Ohana.”
“I intend to. Got a tail line. Maybe I can pull in ahi.”
“You catch it, you clean it,” Steve retorted as he stepped onto the boat and made his way below deck.
“You have a good reason for making the trip at night?” Ohana wanted to know.
“Yeah. The sea’s calmer at night.”
“Okay. You da boss.”
Soon, they cast off. They motored from the Kahalu‘u Boat Harbor. When they were clear of the harbor directional lights, they raised the sails and set a course for Moloka‘i.
“It won’t be an easy crossing, even at night,” Moki said. “The forecast is for 8 to 12 foot seas and 20 to 25 knot winds.”
“Summer conditions,” Steve muttered in reply. “Manageable, although we’ll have to tack, going into the wind as we will be. Slow going, but otherwise, what’s the purpose of going?”
Indeed, it was a rough crossing, with the boat kicking up water from the waves and the wind blowing it over the men. Steve was glad he wore waterproof gear.
Before the sun grew too low to give good light, a school of dolphins surrounded the boat, leaping out of the water as though performing for Steve and Moki. Steve took out his camera and caught a dozen shots of them.
“That’s a good one!” he said. “I caught him in mid-air.”
“Who you gonna sell your pictures to on Moloka‘i?” Moki wanted to know.
“Most prints will continue to go to the galleries on O‘ahu. I’ll keep some to sell to visitors to Moloka‘I,” Steve replied as he replaced the lens cap and arose to take his camera below deck.
“Do you make any money from your pictures?”
“They’ve been bringing in enough to pay the land lease on my condo,” Steve replied.
Steve nodded. “Say! I think you’ve got a catch on the tail line.”
Moki checked the line to find a 63-inch ahi. “Bruddah, we have a lu‘au tomorrow!”
Ahi of that length can weigh between 125 and 175 pounds, and so, Moki used a winch to reel it in and hoist it into the boat. While Steve manned the wheel, Moki cleaned the fish and filleted it into serving-size pieces.
“We feed the whole kauhale!” Moki exclaimed as he packed the fillets in ice.
“You know it!” Steve agreed.
- - -
They didn’t feed the entire village of Maunaloa, but they did feed everyone at the Hale‘o‘lono Harbor, where two dozen sailboats and small yachts were moored. Those who had arrived aboard the other boats provided accompaniments to the ahi, including lomi-lomi salmon, poi, macaroni salad, rice, and fresh fruit. While Moki was grilling the ahi, Steve borrowed a truck and drove into the village for beer.
As the sun grew low on the western horizon, and the moon began to rise over the eastern horizon, three of the sailors brought out their ‘ukulele, six-string guitar, and twelve-string guitar. Steve kept the beat on an old oil drum as they played and sang Moloka‘i Slide.