Class of “58 – episode 3.1.19 r1




Two weeks ago, Elizabeth and I spent a couple of days up at an iconic luxury resort on the North Shore. It was one of our two go-to places for a quick getaway from the days we are supposed to be enjoying our golden years. Golden years my butt, it’s more like the gear-jamming years of our youth, except with grey hair and a different set of pressures.

After a busy morning, we left home about noon and headed up the Kam, (Kamehameha Highway) to Turtle Bay. Elizabeth insisted we stop for a fish taco at North Shore Taco. I favored a leisurely cruise up the palatial entrance road to the La`ie Mormon temple which I built several years ago.

The highlight of that project was having lunch with the Prophet and his wife after the groundbreaking. I can’t go on without making a couple of comments here. While waiting, I overheard one of the Samoan spectators tell her friend, “My husband, Fetu, and I saw him and his wife at the Pancake House this morning having breakfast. Boy, the two of them look frail, but they sure like pancakes. I had trouble visualizing the Prophet, the earthly leader of the Mormon Church scarfing down pancakes in a sleazy fast food restaurant. It made me smile.

Several minutes later, a pair of police motorcycles with sirens blaring escorted the Prophet’s entourage of four black SUV’s, two ambulances, and a long black limousine up to our tent. The SUVs disgorged a half dozen ferousous, heat-packing, Samoan bodyguards who split into three groups, one to stand guard, one to help the ninety-three-year-old Propet and his wife up to the ceremony site and the third to caution each one of individually that we were not to touch or speak to the Prophet, hand him a note, or engage him in way. Although I’d never met a prophet before, the whole sceme struck me as a little odd.

Today as we approached the resort, which was a favorite of the rich and famous, I egotistically took on the affectations of those I was about to mingle with. When I exited our SUV, The valet asked, Do you want valet parking? It’s twenty-bucks.” I snobbishly snared, “Of course, do we look like the Beverly Hillbillies?” I then ordered the bellhop to unload and send my things up to our room and be quick about it. (I had a six-pack of cold Bud in my backpack.)

When Elizabeth caught wind of what was going on, She said, “Jake, please! Young man, leave the bags on the curb, we will take care of them. Jake, you park the car and come back here and help me with the bags. So much for my grand entrance.

I was up with the sun the following morning, putting on my surfing duds and slipped out the door without waking Elizabeth. She would understand I was on the water. I stopped to enjoy a double espresso and pastry at the coffee bar while surveying the action at the neighboring surf spots. I rented a board from the hotel’s beach boy and went out to close-by Kuilima Point.
I waded into the seventy-eight-degree water, paddled out to the point and joined a dozen early bird surfers. This morning wasn’t about surfing, it was about figuring out what my next book would be about. However, I wasn’t about to pass up any decent waves.

Within five minutes, I spotted an easy four-footer coming around the point right for us. I spun my board around and waited for just the right moment to start paddling my brains out to match the speed of the oncoming wave. The face of the wave picked me up, crested and broke to the right. I rode it on my belly for a few moments before popping to my feet and riding it fifty-yards to the rocky shoals, where I dumped. A young surfer dude paddled past me on the way back out and shouted, “Nice ride, old man.”
I followed him back out and tucked myself out of the wind in the lee of the point to accommodate what I came out here to do.

When I recognized a surfer paddling out from the beach, I took a break. We had surfed together occasionally over the years and sometimes shared a beer afterward at one of the North Shore watering holes. He was a local guy in his late-forties, named Sonny something. Everybody seemed to know him. As we both raced to get in position for a hot wave, he grinned a toothy grin, gave the front of my board a mighty shove, pushing me out of position and took the wave from me. I gave him the finger and ducked back out of the wind to continue my deliberations.

I was a little pissed at my burly, uncouth friend, but then I realized I’d met a lot of folks way more bizarre than Sonny, and this rudeness was child’s play. That’s when it came to me, my next book would not be a novel. it would be a collection of short stories about nothing serious. Instead, it would present simple entertaining, short stories about some of the more remarkable, funny encounters I’ve stumbled into. I was pleased with what I came up with and turned to considering a possible title. As I thought about it, a remark made by a close friend whom I often had morning coffee with, came to the forefront. He said, “Jake, you have a million great stories, why don’t you write about them. You could call it ‘A Cup Of Joe.’” I thought, Not bad. It’s catchy and has a nice warm, comfortable ambivalence about it, not unlike a cup of Joe.

I was excited to return to the room, roust Elizabeth out of bed, buy her breakfast, and tell her my vision for “A Cup of Joe.” But before I paddled in, I silently slipped up behind Sonny, who was getting ready to catch a wave, grabbed the back of his board with both hands and with all my strength flipped the astonished Sonny into the bay and quickly retreated.STEVE WIND

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