What does a bookworm like me do on a Friday? Can’t concentrate on the pages of Heavens to Betsy in the roasting Quonset hut when my brothers are changing into their beach shorts and grabbing their goggles and fins. I don’t swim, but I definitely like wading through the cool water and sand! Running after them, I feel the burn under my feet crossing the highway to the beach, skipping over the railroad tracks, and careful to avoid the broken glass bottles and kukus from the Kiawe trees, as I gingerly step onto the sand. My introduction to the ocean started late after I met my stepdad who loves body surfing, deep-sea diving, laying net, and spearing fish. Funny that dad never forced me to learn swimming but he taught my siblings to swim and dive like him. He knew me too well. I am fearful of the deep and prefer standing on land instead of treading water. Hey, there’s nothing more fun than splashing around the shoreline or searching for shells in the sand! Need I mention the pools on the reef filled with Vana (sea urchins), limu, Hinalea, and other baby fish? The reef also offered many swimming pools fit for a ten-year-old girl like me.
I watch the orange sunset and soon depart for home. From the track, I can see Daddy has brought home his friends who work with him at the Naval Ammunition Depot to celebrate the end of the week as they usually do every Friday. What a treat it is to listen to them talk stories and sing their favorite Hawaiian songs and high school alma maters! Dad, popularly known as Chuckaboo at McKinley High, graduated with an outstanding record as a star football quarterback. His friends come from Waipahu, Kamehameha, or Farmington High. Ukuleles, guitar, and Primo beer are essential on Friday nights. They sit at a wooden picnic table under a huge kiawe tree that I view from my bedroom window. Daddy has an awesome falsetto when he gets carried away singing a solo! Whenever they run out of beer, someone will walk over to Yuen’s Store, our neighbor next door – so convenient! Far into the night they sing, joke, laugh and brag about their fishing until my eyes close and I fall asleep.