Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 30, 2020

Reservoir Reservations

 In the early days of Leilehua High School during the 1920s, wild rumors circulated that a strange creature in a stream near the school attacked a small group of neighborhood kids.

Dec 29, 2020

Head Over Heels

 The night was quiet while Sharon Acasio slept in the bedroom of her plantation home in Kunia; it was late when her husband Manolo Acasio returned home from working in the pineapple field.

Dec 28, 2020

Hohonu Pond

Standing at the edge of Hohonu pond tonight is indeed a sobering experience considering that the body of a dear childhood friend has lain lifeless in this watery grave for the past forty-six years.

Dec 25, 2020

Mr. Pacheco

1

Terry Nakasone and I were classmates back in the day. So, when he contacted me last night and explained the dilemma that he and his family were having with their security guard who worked at their family grocery store, I was more than glad to help out. His name was Mr. Pacheco.

Oct 31, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 # FINALE

 We did it again, you guys! Another year of 100 ghost stories toward Halloween! This makes a total of five years! Overall, that makes 637 ghost stories, articles, and personal thoughts.

Oct 30, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #1

 I hadn't known Kalena Taylor for long. Although he was an employee of mine, I always made it a point to say hello or to at least indulge him in a short conversation where I'd ask him about how his folks were doing or how things were going in general.

Oct 29, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #2

 Marie Peters met me in her Waipahu home garage, dressed in an 80's style one-piece jumpsuit. She led me to a round table. "Sit," she pointed to the fold-out chair opposite where she took a seat. "I wanted to show you something first before we talk."

Oct 28, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #3

...Continued from yesterdayʻs story


 It's chapter thirty-nine of Queen Lili'uokalani's book, and it goes without saying that I'm pissed beyond words. I feel bad for even using the word 'pissed' because of how dignified and noble her language is.

Oct 27, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #4

 ...continued from yesterdayʻs story 


EMPLOYEE LOUNGE


In chapter two, Queen Lili'uokalani tells us about the woman she called her hānai sister, Princess Bernice Pauahi. In her late teens, she was betrothed to Lot Kamehameha, the grandson of Kamehameha The Great. A mister Charles Reed Bishop pursued and pushed his case with Pauahi, and the two were soon married. Not a note is spoken about Prince Lot's feelings after being left empty without an engagement to speak of. 

Oct 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #5

 It's an old grudge tended to and festered since 1893. It seems that the characteristics of the progeny passed from DNA to DNA over the decades, resurfacing in the personality of one male every generation.

Oct 24, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #7

 She drove out of Nui avenue onto Kamehameha highway, where she had to stop for oncoming traffic. The four men, coming off a high from crack, needed a bad fix.

Oct 22, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #9

 The in house porter from Straub Hospital finished her shift at two in the morning. She gathered up her things in her backpack and made her way across the street to the bus stop to wait for the one that would take her to Kaimukī.

Oct 21, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #10

 Long ago, there existed a world forgotten in the pages of time. In it, a man's true love passed into the realm of eternal rest because of a curse cast upon her by a water witch.

Oct 20, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #11

 We were on a weekend drive to Hauʻula. I remember that because we passed through the Wilson tunnel. It was a thing back then to see how long you could hold your breath while going through both tunnels.

Oct 19, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #12

 We were doing bus tours again in the dream, but the meeting place is a new one. What I mean is that we're familiar with the site; we've just never used it as a pick-up point for our ghost tours.

Oct 18, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #13

 1975


I came to value certain things because of the occasion or the memory of it. Thus, my young life was when I loved a red aloha shirt that my uncle Walter bought for me, even though I wouldn't say I like aloha shirts.

Oct 17, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #14

 CONCLUSION


"Tell them," Kawika growled into the ear of Fynn Greely. "Just like we discussed in the car, tell them everything."

Oct 16, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #15

 .....Continued from yesterdayʻs story


COLLEGE 1986


Fynn Greely and Richmond Davis were roommates who found their apartment through a mutual friend who was a professor at the University of Hawaii.

Oct 15, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #16

 ...Continued from yesterdayʻs story


The Knights Of The Order convened on the hour of sidereal time, an aligned time when psychic energy worldwide is at its peak. The opening rituals set the tone for the hour. Simultaneously, the guardians of all doors took to their stations.

Oct 14, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #17

  Corruption doesn't come in the guise of a group of hardened older men dressed in suits and ties holed up in a musty back room smoking illegal Cuban cigars and sipping on twenty-five-year-old scotch.

Oct 13, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #18

 MORNING


What I said to principal Dahsman was a warning, not a hopeful wish that he'd hold Trent's hand for the rest of the school year. "Trent is awkward, and he's a little strange, but he's got a big heart, and he's a good kid,"

Oct 12, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #19

 A bit of the drool is what woke me from my sleep. It had a tinge of a freeze on it when it touched my cheek. The sensation put me in a fetal position;

Oct 11, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #20

 INSIDE THE KORMERY HOUSE


The quiet doesn't help when you're already afraid because it moves around and through the dead of night. Your footfall is the only thing you hear along with the material of your clothing, rubbing together as you walk.

Oct 10, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #21

 The thief who harassed our neighborhood rode a stolen bicycle up and down the street, casing which house would be more comfortable to rob as opposed to those that were not.

Oct 9, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #22

 Ten years ago, I was driving to Waikiki to do a daytime tour when I noticed a young Haole boy walking along Date Street.

Oct 8, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #23

 The kitchen table is old but clean as best as it can be. The same bottle of shoyu from the Chinese restaurant sits pressed up against the wall. Cleaned and refilled again and again for the last fifty-eight years, the Asian condiment has a near reverent status like the old Catholic figurines my mother used to keep.

Oct 7, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #24

 "When the sun goes down and the clouds are gone, where do I go? When the lights go out and the club doors close, where do I roam?


Oct 6, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #25

 The school was like the fire, and Hauola couldn't understand why his grandfather always tossed him from the frying pan, not that the frying pan was better.

Oct 5, 2020

Oct 4, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #27

 Let me start by saying that my name is Melinda Kanalu. After my husband Pi'i was killed in action in Afghanistan, I went into a deep tailspin.

Oct 3, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #28

 The mother and son were crossing the street toward's the basketball court between Gulick and Bannister Street in Kalihi.

Oct 2, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #29

 "Why do I do this to my body? Why do I paint it? Perfume it? Bathe my hair in chemicals? Burn and shave the other hairs from my armpits and privates?

Oct 1, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #30

 In the dream, I was among a throng of shoppers at Kahala mall, all of them lumbering aimlessly with their heads down.

Sep 30, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #31

 "You don't remember me, but I was on your tour one night when something strange happened," he introduced himself while I enjoyed the sinful taste of a cheeseburger hot off the grill.

Sep 29, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #32

 ....A dream I dreamt


I saw myself for the first time last night in the mirror. I see myself a lot under different circumstances, and I ignore my reflection.

Sep 28, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #33

 "We've talked about this before," my father told me in his best fatherly voice. "You've been warned so many times? Is it going to take someone's death to wake you up?"

Sep 27, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #34

 He's asleep now after such a long, harrowing day.  A child of only five years old shouldn't have to go through the kind of trauma he did, especially with parents who don't give a shit enough to put aside their own selfish needs.

Sep 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #35

 Homelessness for the Mākau family wasnʻt so bad. They lived in a Matson container right on the waters of Waiahole and were allowed to fish and grow their taro by the family who owned the land where they lived.

Sep 25, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #36

 If youʻre a vampire anywhere else in the world, I suppose your success would depend not on how large of a nest you make for yourself, but how well you can keep yourself concealed.

Sep 24, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #37

   One day and long ago a humble chapel stood ready to host a wedding—an aged couple who owned it prepared themselves to perform the ceremony and provide food for the reception.

Sep 23, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #38

 Benny was just a puppy when we got her from the Humane Society. She was black all over with a tuft of white on her chest.

Sep 22, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #39

 .......continued from story #41


The Hawaiian couple sat silently together while sipping awa from a thermos. The two seemed to be aware of everything and everyone while only looking at one another.

Sep 21, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #40

 She was naked, blindfolded, and strapped down by her wrists and ankles on an old fashioned barber's chair.

Sep 20, 2020

Sep 19, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #42

 He was one of the few of his kind that was comfortable in his skin. He was not affected by external influences, which made him feel as if he had to simulate a personality or behavior to fit in.

Sep 18, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #43

 My parents warned me about crossing the bridge on our property by myself. There was nothing special about the bridge; it was an ordinary footbridge built by my great-grandfather when he first brought the estate in the depths of Nu'uanu Valley.

Sep 17, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #44

 A MONTH AGO


My muscles are beginning to stiffen; soon, cramps will set in. We've been tied up and locked in this struggle for an hour.

Sep 16, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #45

 The 2006 Dodge Charger sat in the 7-11 parking lot facing Fort Weaver Road. The four occupants were waiting for the forty-eight number bus to make a stop just past Karayan street.

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #45

 Sidereal time is a particular time of day when paranormal activity is most active. It usually falls within the noon hour. The seasoned parapsychologist regards the hour with equal regularity as the results are most fruitful within that time frame.

Sep 15, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #46

 The studio was on the second floor of the old Kaimuki home, which overlooked the garage. It had everything in it, sink, refrigerator, microwave, bathroom, a/c, and a working shower.

Sep 14, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #47

 Most of the big money people I've met or know are great people, friendly, funny, outgoing, but when it comes down to the money business they're all about, they are ruthless.

Sep 13, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #48

                                                                               1989


1


Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, there was a boy. Possessed of the same joys and worries as any other boy his age, he lived with his parents in a quaint home on the waters of Kahala.

Sep 12, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #49

 Seventh grade was a learning situation for myself and my mom. My first official day as an almost teenager caused me nothing but stress. I had hairs growing in unusual places.

Sep 11, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #50

 If you're admiring the vista of monkeypod and shower trees from the window of a hospital room at Kuakini, it sterilizes your appreciation for nature's work of art.

Sep 10, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #51

 1977


There was a new girl in our school. She was a transfer from Campbell, and before that from Santa Monica. I forget who introduced us to her, but her name was Laura Felch.

Sep 9, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #52

 1973


It was my very last summer in Wainaku. I would never see it again until much later in life. Up until then, I spent all my summers there.

Sep 8, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #53

 If you have never had cold fried chicken in the morning, you don't know what you're missing. I take mine with a bag of Ruffles and a nicely chilled bottle of Pepsi.

Sep 7, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #54

 Ben and Courtney referred to themselves as an uneventful couple from a quiet town in Idaho. A vacation in Waikīkī was a step outside their comfort zone but seemed like something to do before they were too old to do anything.

Sep 6, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #55

 1976


We got our first Soundlite HR-6 egg-shaped radio headphones. I had to blue one, and 'Noodles' (short for fried noodles) got the red ones. They came with Soundlite carry all cases in the same color.

Sep 5, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #56

 .......Conclusion


Staring at a blank screen for countless hours can't be healthy. At the center in Mānoa, Sid shared that objects to which weʻve become attached are mere reflections of what is already within us.

Sep 4, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #57

 ....Continuing from yesterday's story



The realtor disclosed that a nine-year-old boy died in the upstairs bedroom of the house. She wasn't clear about the details, but it did have something to do with child abuse.

Sep 3, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #58

 As a child, I was sick for a long while. I needed many blood transfusions; the process and recovery made me weak. The nights in Waiʻanae were cool because of the wind coming in from the beach.

Sep 2, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #59

 Before


Such a long and scenic drive through Hakipu'u and Ka'a'awa. It's one of those lazy days where one should enjoy the day and not go halfway across the island for business.

Sep 1, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #60

 ...Continuing from yesterday's story


In the summer of 1975, a budding Buddhist organization in Honolulu then known as the Nichiren Shoshu of America, did the unthinkable.

Aug 31, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #61

 1975


There was a kid in intermediate school that we called Frankenstein because he looked like the resurrected monster from the movie. His actual name was Irwin Ching, pronounced as eye-rin, everybody just settled on Frankenstein.

Aug 30, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #62

 It wasn't a secret that we hired guys who lived in halfway houses. The tour industry always has a shortage of drivers. There are still a small handful of old-timers, but guys come and go on the regular outside of that.

Aug 29, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #63

 1998


"Here, dad," My son handed my grandson to me, and I hugged my little man close and kissed him on his chubby cheeks. He began strapping a harness around me, which seemed awkward.

Aug 28, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #64

 Certain kinds of houses are put together with the Hawaiian stature in mind. Take me, for example, five feet ten inches tall and very broad-shouldered and a wide frame. The house on the eleventh avenue tract in Kaimuki was designed for persons of a smaller frame by its architectural style.

Aug 27, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #65

 1979


Somebody bashed Ronald Shapely over the head with such force that it split his skull open right down to his naturally arched eyebrow.

Aug 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #66

I spent many mornings sitting on an oversized love chair watching and listening as Clara Kalaukoa played Suite Bergamasque by De Bussy.

Aug 25, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #67

 In the dream, Iʻm walking through a dense forest at night. I know itʻs in Hawaii, I just donʻt know where.

Aug 24, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #68

 Every high school has its secrets; Terry Higa was ours. He wasn't a strange kid, like how other weird kids were back in the day. Terry wasn't aloof or self-absorbed; he didn't talk to himself or chew on his fingernails.

Aug 23, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #69

 The best part of the fourth of July and New Years' celebrations are the fireworks. In my family, it was a tradition that after all the big fireworks are done, we kids got to play with all the sparklers we could handle.

Aug 22, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #70

 1970


It was summer and my sister and I was tired of swimming in our pool every day. One morning we woke up early and prepared sandwiches and put them in Saran wrap.

Aug 21, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #71

 Westervelt tells us that in the indefinite long ago, Kakei was the mōʻī of ʻOʻahu. He was an enterprising chief whose men saw days of being poor in one instance and rich the next.

Aug 20, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #72

 Fiction


Maylen Borner sounds like a strange name, but it's also a name you can't forget once you hear it. That name burned itself into the memories of our population twenty years ago.

Aug 19, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #73

 ....Conclusion from yesterday



The services were small at the mortuary near Diamond Head. There was only an urn upfront with a hand made lei around it.

Aug 18, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #74

 .......continued from yesterday


HPD brought me in for questioning. We already established what I did for a living. What they wanted to know was why my wallet and ID would be on Carol's body?

Aug 17, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #75

People on the bus are cordial, but it's evident that everyone wants to stay in their own lane and not be bothered. Everyone is headed somewhere, and we'd all like to get there peacefully. As luck or misfortune would have it, there is always someone who feels that they have the right to invade your personal space in whichever way, shape, or form they please.

Aug 16, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #76

 In the dream, it's dark. I can only see a lone road crew worker. He wears the reflective vest over a long-sleeved lime green shirt. Silently he works with a power cutter making a deep straight line into the pavement.

Aug 15, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #77

 

Out of respect, the names of the people in this story have been changed.


Carla Thomas crooned ever so painfully about her perfect man. Her heartfelt description of his attributes culminates in two words, 'Gee Whiz.' The percussive tempo of the piano and the freestyle of the violin give the song the romantic undertone it needs.

Aug 14, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #78

 As a kid, I only half paid attention to the warnings my parents gave me. I was too busy being a kid. What did I care about stepping on a crack and planting ti-leaf around the yard? 

Aug 13, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #79

 An intruder murdered a mother and her child at home one evening. He was coming off a four day high, and the withdrawals were too much for him to bear. Out of blind desperation, he barged into the one-bedroom apartment in Makiki, grabbed a serrated knife off of the kitchen counter, and slashed the mother's throat.

Aug 12, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #80

....Another perspective from yesterday's story 

1970

She was home from school in Honolulu. The plane ride was uncomfortable, too many tourists. Loud, boisterous, and very drunk.

Aug 11, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #81

 



1972

 My mother needed to return home in order to nurse her niece back to health. I called her aunty sally because that's what you do here in Hawai'i, its a sign of respect.

Aug 10, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #82

 ....continued


The first day of counting each feather on the cloak only brought distractions. Persons who were either volunteers or curators of some sort continuously wandered into the room and feigned interesting observations for a second. Soon, they asked questions. None of which were pertinent to her task at hand.

Aug 9, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #83

 She had been called to the museum to count the feathers on a unique cape, one that radiated kapu. She was a feather maker, so she knew the intricacies of the craft.

Aug 8, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #84

 Some cases are frustrating and confusing and very hard to understand. Take, for instance, the single thirty-year-old female professor from U.H. who bought a house in Kapolei. She was quiet and kept to herself; at the most, she was cordial to her neighbors but did not make the extra effort to socialize. She occupied her home for less than a year until one quiet Sunday afternoon, one of the neighbors saw her body hanging from the branch of a tree in her backyard.

Aug 7, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #85

In the Filipino camp on Hawaii island, the single men occupied a barracks where they were berthed for the time being of their labor contracts. Although they came from different provinces in the Philippines, they generally got along. There were normal disagreements regarding personal space and the habits and quirks of one man who raised the ire of another. Those issues were always resolved without one man resorting to fisticuffs or worse.

Aug 6, 2020

Aug 5, 2020

Aug 3, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #89

In some legends, Nānaue, the shark man, resides in Waipio valley for a time until his depredations become his undoing, and he is found out to be one part human and part shark.

Aug 2, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #90

Chickadee was a hand full for her parents, so they sent her to live with the old Hawaiian man up the road. It could not have been easy for Chickadee residing in a home that had not seen the bottom of a broom or mop as the ancient Hawaiian man himself was hardly around. There was dirt for a yard, and we could hear the two yelling back and forth, but for all the contention, Chickadee put her nose to the grindstone and spruced up the house first. Then she began tilling the dirt and raising plants, grass, and a couple of tangerine trees. Before long, the old Hawaiian manʻs house had a new lease on life. If he was happy about it or not, no one knew.

One afternoon, Chickadee got off the bus from school just as I turned the corner to walk down Maipalaoa road. She struck up a conversation while we walked, asking me about school and what I did for fun? I told her that I wanted to learn Kung Fu like Bruce Lee. She laughed and said, maybe one day. A car came by, and one of the older guys from her school pulled up, and he asked Chickadee if she wanted to learn how to drive? It was a 1968 Mercury Cougar, all brand new and right off the lot. Chickadee said good-bye, and she hopped in the car.

I hurried home to do my chores and finish my homework. Around dinner time, there was a frantic pounding on the front door, my father answered and found the guy who drove the Cougar standing on our porch soaking wet. He told my father that while he was teaching Chikadee how to drive, she lost control of the car and drove it into the canal. She got stuck behind the wheel. My father and the guy ran the length of our vast back yard, which lead out to the channel. It was high tide, and my father got there just in time as the car was sinking.

The vehicle was a total loss, and from what I heard later, Chickadee punched the guy in the face for leaving her in the car, rather than helping her out. Two days later, there was another knock on our door. It was the old Hawaiian man. He asked my father very nicely if he would follow him to his house; there was something he needed to show him. I went along.

The old Hawaiian man disappeared into the darkness of his garage, where he pulled a string hanging overhead. At the same moment, a light came when the old Hawaiian man poured out the last contents from a big lauhala basket. Piled on the table in front of him was a variety of fish, crustaceans, and sea urchins. My father's eyes were wide with wonder, but before he could say anything, the old Hawaiian man interrupted.

"I donʻt have too much money, but everything I caught today, I give to you,"

"For what?" My father asked.

"You saved my Chickadee; she's the only family I have. If she dies, I'm alone, you see?" An expression of gratitude and thanks replaced his usual scowl. "My name is Henry."

"Thank you, Henry," my father shook his hand.

From that day, the old Hawaiian man, Henry, always made sure that he filled our table with half of whatever he caught from fishing. He and my father became terrific friends. We finally moved out of Maili a few years later and settled in Waipahu. One day, out of the blue, Chickadee called to let us know that her uncle had passed in his sleep and that the services would take place on Maui. My father and I attended Henry Akinaʻs services, where a beautiful painting hung over his casket. It was Henry, emptying a large basket of yet another abundant catch. For some reason, the artwork gave me chicken skin. My father introduced us to everyone. They were cordial and made small talk and went about their business. A few asked us where we were from. One woman in particular not only asked us where we were from, but she also asked us if we were close to Henry Akina?

"He was our neighbor for a long time," my father began. "We lost touch after we moved out."

"Oh?" The woman was genuinely surprised. "How did you find out about my brothers passing?"

"His niece, Chickadee called us to let us know," my father replied."How is she doing, by the way? Is she here?"

"My daughter passed away last year," the woman looked thoughtfully at the two of us. "Her husband was the jealous type, he always accused of seeing someone."

The woman never finished her sentence, she kept her head down, and the tears came effortlessly. The silence between the three of us was awkward, I was scared out of my mind after what she said, so was my father, but he carefully made an effort to apologize.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you upset, but I swear it was Chickadee, who called. I'd know her voice anywhere,"

"No, don't apologize. It makes sense that Chickadee would call you. She was very close to my brother, but I remember her talking about a family in Maili that she was close to as well. Now I know it was you, folks." The woman wept not only out of sadness but also from a realization that death is not the end and that her daughter's spirit was still with us.

The following morning we met with Chickadee's mother, Mona, who took my father and me to visit Chickadee's headstone. It was sobering to see her gray and black granite edifice. Her full name was Mara C. Akina. It made me worry that my friend from my childhood would continue to haunt me. Mona must have read my mind. "There's no need to be afraid, Chickadee was your friend. She loved you like her brother, she won't harm you."

After that, Mona took us to the old shop where Guri Guri was served. I had a cup to myself while my father and Mona had their conversation. I wasn't paying attention, I was caught up with the sight of the people milling about in the parking lot, and the different kinds of cars driving through around. Maui was just like Oahu in that there were houses and cars as we had. Families walked by the shop, some too busy with life concerns while others peered in the window, deciding if they were going to come in or not. One family crowded the window for a second and then dispersed. All that was left was one young Hawaiian girl who was naturally beautiful and full of verve and zest. Her eyes were bright, and the dimples in her cheeks became very prominent once her smile brought them to life.

It was Chickadee.

She waved and blew me a kiss and waved again. I waved back and smiled. A smattering of people walked by, and she was gone. It was pointless to try and get my father and Mona's attention, they were still caught up in their conversation. I put my cup down and went outside the shop and looked around, hoping to catch a glance of my friend, but no luck. I went back into the shop and resumed work on my Guri Guri. "I miss you, Chickadee," I whispered to myself. "I miss you."









Aug 1, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #91

'Umi, the king of the island of Hawaii heard rumors of a wonderous Leho (cowry shell) which contained the magic to catch squid without fail. He sent for the owner of the Leho to come before him that he may see it.

Jul 31, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #92

It went quiet suddenly; I remember that—the kind of quiet when no one is home, and you're by yourself. I mean the kind of stillness where the ambient sound of traffic from the freeway near my house is gone.

Jul 30, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #93

The Chief Kapapala went to the edge of the Kīlauea crater and found a group of beautiful women. Pele welcomed him, and they delighted in each other for several days.

Jul 29, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #94

Wakea, the sky father, married Ho’ohokukalani, the goddess of the stars. Together they sired a child which at his birth they named “Haloa” Alas, he was born deformed as a mass of flesh, Brokenhearted, Wakea and Ho’ohokukalani buried their child in the eastern side of their hale pili, the place from which the sun would rise without fail. A short time after that, a single plant grew from that solemn grave, and there hence came the first taro plant. The second child to be born of the godly couple was a human child who was also a boy. They named him, “Haloanakalaukapalili” (Haloa the quivering leaf ) in other accounts the plant which springs from the grave is given the name as mentioned earlier first.

Thus the second Haloa became the caretaker or steward of the first, his older brother. So it has been since time immemorial that we the Hawaiian people are the descendants of this most beautiful deity who has continually provided us with physical and spiritual sustenance.

The process of planting and harvesting Kalo is arduous and often difficult for the uninitiated, but the work itself can be very therapeutic for the mind and body. The mud in a lo’i kalo contains many healthy minerals, and the taro plant itself is significant in that it symbolizes aspects of the family or ‘ohana which are found in the ‘oha or corm of the taro. Different parts of the plant were used for food and medicinal purposes. Still, it was the steaming of the taro and the application of pounding it into a form where it first became pa’i ai and then later textured into poi that the pure finesse took place. The papa ku’i ‘ai or the poi pounding board is where the taro would be placed and almost endlessly pounded by a pohaku ku’i ai or poi pounder. The pohaku ku’i ai was expertly fashioned from a porous stone where it would eventually take on an almost pear-like shape where the bottom half of it was the more full and heavy end. The upper portion was a bit thinner, and it left the user with a proper way to grip the tool. With a bowl of water beside him, the kanaka ku’i ai wet the substance now and again to prevent it from becoming sticky. The beginner will choke the tool with a tense grip and tire himself out quickly, but the experienced workman will relax his hold and let the weight of the pohaku ku’i ai do its work as it was meant to. It rolls effortlessly forward to smooth out the steamed corm so that it can take its shape and fulfill its responsibility or kuleana.

~

My hānai father held his pohaku ku’i ai with a grip that was so tense that he could only afford the steamed taro less than a few strikes before finally reaching exhaustion. His hands would fall to his side, and he would be utterly defeated. The second he stood up and left, my hanai mother would take his place and continue where he would leave off, all the while softly chastising and scolding the still undeveloped corm but smoothly spreading out its texture until it could serve its purpose. If my hanai father ever struck the taro out of anger or rage, my hanai mother would take the tool from him and block the papa ku’i ai so that he could do no further damage to the process. Sometimes, she would suffer the pounding in place of the taro. At some point when she passed away, the ku’ai was left on its own to become whatever it could become with the hopes that one day it would fill a wooden bowl where it finally became poi and was able to provide sustenance for its own family.

Many years hence, I struggle with the same tense grip with which I hold my pohaku ku’i ai, I can feel that I am choking it rather than letting it relax in my hand. I feel its weight, but is it really the weight of the tool, or is it the weight that I’ve put upon it? As a result, I’ve forgotten my finesse, my technique. The kalo I try to shape and spread out so that it too can serve its purpose frustrates and angers me because it is very much textured like myself, but I don’t pound it, I don’t strike it because it IS me. I’ve hit and struck myself more than I care to remember, why would I do it to someone who is yet to be made whole?

Logically, he would be called, “Hānai” but we share the same hale, we feed him, we help clothe him, we worry with him, and because of him, we laugh with him and so on. He is my son, my Haloa now as I once was. We have to remind and assure him that like the taro plant, every part of himself is useful and serves a purpose, we sometimes have to remind ourselves of that fact also when we become frustrated. We smooth his rough edges out so that one day he will be able to fill the bowl that will provide for his own ‘ohana. Some days I wish for the haste that would fill his bowl with light, but as is the process of Kanu and huki, so too is the process from ku’ai to poi.

~

I saw him this evening at the dinner table, my hānai father. He appeared long enough that I could see the smile in his eyes. He pointed to the bowl of poi on the table, and with his two fingers, he made a curved sweeping motion as if to remind me to clean out the inside of the bowl. His own personal philosophy was that as we do in life, we do after we are done eating poi. We clean up what we might have left behind, we never leave a mess. In turn, the gods care for us. We care for Hāloa, we care for his home, and we bring him to fruition. He repays us by feeding us and healing us through his lepo and his kalo.

Although his mouth isnʻt moving, the twinkle in his pale eyes tells me that he knows I understand. Slowly, his form diminishes into nothing becoming as one with the unseen atoms which race around us. Perhaps if I do my own due diligence, I wonʻt have to wait until I am a ghost before my son sees the same look in my eyes.

All this from the ‘anana and the wali of the poi this evening, how wonderful are our ancestors?




Jul 28, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #95

After the death of his father Pi'ilani, Kiha had grown tired of the mistreatment he suffered at the hands of his older brother Lono.

Jul 27, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #96

I was part of a cast of characters that performed in a traveling show around the islands. It was a four-year stint that paid a thousand dollars a week.

Jul 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #97

I remember our neighbor Fuji; he was a fisherman by trade; he was a bull of a man. His arms were so big that he would give us all a dollar if we could fit our fingers inside his shirt sleeve. Fuji never lost a dollar.

Jul 25, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #98

This story was told to us one evening in our Karate class. Our sensei felt a bit under the weather, so one of his black belts came to teach the lesson. The black belt had an unusual last name like Choriki or something. He was sporting a black eye and a cut on his lip.

Jul 24, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #99

I had no reason to kill Alec Kapili. We were acquaintances at best, but we were never going to bake a cake together. Whoever killed him must have had a stake in his demise because it wasn't a clean bullet to the head or a knife in the heart that did him in.

Jul 23, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #100

People wonʻt come up to the fence to ask if they are allowed to pick mangoes. They wait until the fruits fall from the tree. If it lands on the tuft of grass on the sidewalk, they leave it alone.

Jul 10, 2020

HARUE

1916

The evening street festival in Kobe would be the last she would ever see of her homeland; therefore, she took every advantage she could of the festivities, food, and dance.

Jul 9, 2020

Magic At The Edge of A Forest

I first heard the music on a day like today. The branches of the old trees outside my window mirrored the ebb and flow of the ocean as the wind moved it gently to and fro.

Jul 2, 2020

For Whom The Red Rag Waits

There was a crazy woman who lived somewhere in our Kaimuki neighborhood. I could never tell if her ethnicity was Hawaiian, Asian, or Filipino. For a month, she walked by my yard with her white labrador in tow and stopped long enough to tie a red shammy cloth around the fence.

Jun 28, 2020

Support Her

She didnʻt want to talk when we got home. I didnʻt try to push a conversation. I stayed near, in case she needed anything. I made sure that I was there because sometimes there were moments of clarity while doing the most mundane things. She fought it, I could tell.

Jun 23, 2020

Four On The Mountain

The ancient Hawaiian volcano rises at an astonishing 33,476 feet from the Pacific ocean floor. Its last eruption was seen in the year 2460 BC, and today it is known that the summit of the mountain is the realm of the supreme gods of the Hawaiian pantheon but most especially Wakea, the sky father.

Jun 21, 2020

Nauki

 I have a plate full of Salami sandwiches with mayo in front of me and a can of Coke on the side. If you put too much mayo on a salami sandwich, it defeats the purpose of the presentation, and somewhere along the line, you lose the taste of the Salami altogether.

Jun 13, 2020

The Square of Green

The weeds have grown four feet high, and now they're turning brown for lack of water and nutrients in the soil. Soon it will all wither away and die and become part of the red dirt and rocks from which it came.

Jun 11, 2020

Doctor Nino

I think that my time recovering at home was the hardest because I remember what deathly ill felt like. My stay at the old Children's Hospital was more like a vacation. Other than the need to have surgery, everything was fun. I spent a lot of time coloring and drawing in the activity room with some of the other children. They were there because of sickness. Some got better and went home, others did not. At that age, you can't help but notice something like that. For the most part, I sat in front of the big black and white TV and watched a lot of old movies. That was my world for the time being.

~

In the afternoon, in between lunch and dinner, a woman doctor wandered in and sat at the piano. She removed her white coat and draped it over a big leather love chair in the corner of the room. The doctor took in a deep breath while simultaneously pushing back the keyboard cover. She treated it with such reverence that it was almost like a dance. Her hands hovered above the ivory while she inhaled. A second later, her entire body plunged forward, enticing the most gentle music I've ever heard from a piano. Sitting there, I was mesmerized by the way she closed her eyes and turned her head up to the ceiling as if some unspoken muse divinely inspired her to communicate its message to us, ordinary mortals. She went on for several more minutes until she finally let out a sigh of finality, and the music came to a close.

"You enjoy that?" She turned to me and smiled warmly.

"It was beautiful," I confirmed with excitement.

"Thank you," she replied wistfully. Then, as easy as she entered the room before, she now departed from it with equal grace as she nudged the stool back and reached over for her white coat. While exiting the room, she unfurled her jacket like a matador's cape and shot her arms into the long sleeves with balletic ease.

~

Later that evening, when the regular nurse came into my room to place my dinner on a tray, I asked her about the doctor I saw earlier in the activity room playing the piano. I described her to the nurse as best I could, but her reply was that she didn't know any doctor who fit that description.

~

The day came when I got the all-clear to go home. My bags were packed and ready to go. On the way out of the ward, I waved good-bye to everyone I'd gotten to know—the other kids like myself, the candy stripers, and the nurses. My primary doctor, who took care of me, walked to the elevator with us. Along the walls were pictures of some doctors. Some were new, some were old, and some were really old. That's where I saw the black and white photograph of the doctor who played piano in the activity room. Her nameplate read Grace Nino.

"That's the lady who played piano in the activity room," I said to my doctor.

"Oh, Doctor Nino USED to play piano in the rec-room, but that was a long time ago,"

"What happened?" My parents asked.

"She passed away a while back, good doctor though, everyone loved her. She had such a good heart. A lot of times, the children here are too sick, and they don't make it. Doctor Nino would take it hard whenever that happened, so she would play the piano every time just to get her mind off of it."

All three adults looked at me and realized that I had probably seen the good doctor's ghost. My doctor revealed that while I was in the activity room on that day, one of the younger kids in my ward died of leukemia. He'd been sick for a while. If what my doctor said was true, then that would verify Doctor Nino's appearance.








May 25, 2020

"Lawe Leka"

Our mail carrier introduced a young man to everyone on our street. He was new and was doing his best to absorb the lessons taught to him by his senior. He shadowed his mentor for half of the month before he finally became our new mailman.


May 23, 2020

Pāʻili

It was only one time, so Sean thought. One time was all it took. Now he couldnʻt get rid of her. She appeared on the outer fringes of his social circle. Peering at him from around a corner, standing among a group of his co-workers.


May 21, 2020

Lily and Her Sisters


During the time of his boyhood, my grandfather lived on the part of 2nd avenue that is now the freeway. He said he was awoken late one night by the sound of someone crying.


May 14, 2020

Ear Notes

Dad's old man smell permeates the room whenever he is in it. I often wonder if I'm going to smell that way when I get to be his age?


May 2, 2020

Ka Lae ʻO Kaena


“Nani ka’ala hemolele i ka malie
He kuahiwi nui ia no Wai’anae
He wehe ana I ka makani kaiaulu
Mai Kuaiwa no a Poka’i e, i laila
Mai loko ‘ino ‘oe, e ka makamaka ia’u
E ‘ike mai ka pono kahea mai
‘Oe anei e...”


Apr 24, 2020

HORI

Our neighbor, Mister Hori, had only himself and his son, who he hardly seemed to communicate with except through grumbling and grunts.


Apr 21, 2020

Black Betty


Two cold hands clasped Betty around her ankles. She was in a deep enough sleep that she had an awareness of the sensation.

Apr 20, 2020

Why I Meditate

There was a time in my younger life, which I refer to as the time of 'Flux.' It was a reasonable period where work, home, and spiritual activities all fell into this harmonious oneness, for lack of a better term.


Apr 17, 2020

"Perfect Rice"

After years of experience, I've learned never to be in the kitchen when my mother was either awake or at home.


Apr 16, 2020

"Blood On The Money"

The former housekeeper from a Waikiki hotel sat alone in her bedroom, surrounded with garlic, salt, and several rosaries and crucifix.


Apr 15, 2020

"Mr. Kang"

Grant Society Case File:  #3574733

The aged koa wood table hosted an entire Korean menu from Dubu Bokum to Bul Gogi. The steam rising from the local meat jun was very inviting, as was the sumptuous aroma from the different sauces for each dish.


Apr 12, 2020

ʻŌhelo

I remember how guilty I felt when I went to see the devastation at Leilani estates a couple of years ago. All the curiosity went right out of me the second I witnessed the reality of what the volcanic eruption did to the everyday life of the people who lived there.


Apr 11, 2020

From The Cradle To The Cave

Three in the morning, one of the times that I have a moment to myself. Everything is quiet except for the slight tremor of cold air that comes in off the ocean. I figured I'd walk since my house is the last one on the block before the beach park.


Apr 10, 2020

The Boyfriend Problem

NOW


My daughter Terra and her boyfriend Claude were together for a good seven years before they finally called it quits. In my opinion, that relationship went seven years overtime. It should have ended in the first month.


Apr 9, 2020

Move Me Out

I've sat through many midnights at this bus shack. I never noticed how cold this concrete slab can get during these late hours. Funny how it takes a squad of three police cars just to ask me why I'm here since the buses in my neighborhood stopped running at 10 pm?


Apr 8, 2020

Burt's Pillbox

My brother Martin was a great storyteller. I was his rapt audience of one. Well, so was Laura, his girlfriend, but I was his younger brother, so I came first.


Apr 5, 2020

The Name Of A Monster

THEN

In any new relationship, there's a lot of passion and long talks regarding wistful hopes and dreams for the future. Truth be told, this wasn't my first rodeo. My previous relationships were unsuccessful, to say the least, but Kona assured me that her love was enough for both of us, and I needn't worry.


Mar 9, 2020

ROCK ON! - What NOT to Do in Hawaii

Rock stacking. In many places, even here in Hawaii, this can be such a negative issue that some go so far as to call it “graffiti.”

For many people, nature and the practice of hiking, exploring, and escaping from the din of the city has come to include the obsession with finding and posting the “perfect shot” for social media. Sadly, this often includes making adjustments to the natural landscape in order to compose said “perfect shot.” This brings us to one of the most obvious and, some would argue, wildly out of hand practice of rock stacking.

Jan 18, 2020

ASHES TO ASHES - What not to do in Hawaii

Once in a while, you will see a pile of ashes at a heiau, along a hiking trail and at other sacred and perhaps not so sacred sites throughout Hawaii.