What a wide swing of memories made these last two days. Saturday was marked by stumbling from sleep to write for a few hours in the dark before dawn. Then about five hours doing business, that is: class preparations, letters of recommendations, promised CD copies, etc etc, and during the while of picking up the house and doing laundry and then a little horn practice. Then hurried on a swimming suit under my clothes and headed to Kailua Beach to assist in a memorial service. There were several testimonies as to how this departed one had helped or changed a life. One of the most profound was from a son who told of how he looked into that morning into the mirror and saw his father in his face. Then saw him in his children and realized that he would always be alive in them. All of us there were transported to consider the future gatherings for our own departures from this place. I asked myself what I wanted to be said of me when I leave. My answer I’ll leave private. I have a ways to go and had better shore up my story. I have a few years left to fix what I can fix, to forgive, to learn to write, to learn to sing, to learn how to keep my heart open when it needs to be open and to protect it when it needs to be protected, to learn to laugh with abandon, to learn bravery, to be a compassionate being no matter what happens, and to always work towards justice, to inspire. I’ll imagine the end and work backwards from there and construct a story that will be food for the people as my body will be food for the earth.
Then I helped paddle one of the canoes to carry the ashes out into the ocean. It was quite cold for Honolulu, with the winds probably about 65-68 degrees. A little nerve wracking when you have to transport non-paddlers in waters being crisscrossed by wind surfers. But we paddled out and the water felt good. The spirit of this beloved one was released with flowers and tears into the seas and we returned, jumped into our clothes to warm up and headed to the departed’s mother’s house for some of the best Hawaiian food I’ve ever tasted. The squid luaau was rich and the haupia perfectly creamy.
Then we headed over Likelike Highway because we missed the turn for the Pali Highway and drove to Queen’s Medical Center to see one of my tribesmen from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He’s in the cardiac unit for diabetic complications. And from complications suffered from negligence from another area hospital. He married a Hawaiian woman thirty years ago and has been the heart of Indian country here on this island and in these islands. We visited for awhile until he feel asleep as I read to him. He’s lost his eyesight to diabetes, a foot and part of a leg. We all love him dearly here.
And then home. Shower, and out.
This morning reluctantly forced myself into the cold dark before dawn to finish packing, printing documents so I could leave for a Sunday morning paddle. Yes, it gets cold in Hawaii. Finished packing so I could leave for paddling at 7AM—instead, spent the three hours doing business and completing paperwork. Then to the airport to check in for standby, then to Sam Choy’s for their breakfast buffet, then back to the airport where I was frisked like a criminal because I was traveling standby. Disconcerting to have my private stuff opened and displayed on their metal tables. I knew there was a reason I didn’t take my eagle feather. I usually do. It would have been confiscated. That wise voice told me to leave it. Sometimes I argue (still). This time I listened. Then I prepared for classes on a relatively calm flight to LAX. Instead of my usual trusty car rental place I tried a car company called Advantage, or known to me now as, the Hell Car Rental. The pickup from the curb took over half an hour, then because there were only two agents there was a long queue of impatient travelers who’d also been waiting forever. I plenty of time to go online to check on the Nammy winners as I’d heard nothing. So, in that dingy office in a choked queue I discovered that though I had three nominations I won nothing. Nothing. Nothing. The Poetic Justice album, Letter from the End of the Twentieth Century was nominated for eight awards in the first Nammy award run. We got none. Now my second album, Native Joy for Real. None.
Those who voted, thanks for voting. If it were just based on votes I think I would have had a chance.
So, that’s where it is. I made the drive into West Hollywood. Safely through the dark of the end of a day. Will lay it all down. Turn it over. And keep on trying.
Signing off. Wait, before I sign off. Just found out that the first Hawaiian Grammy was given to the only non-Hawaiian nominated. So it goes. Justice feels like a stranger.
Signing off. Good night. Sleep tight.