Monday, September 21, 2009


For some time Marilyn and I had wanted to return to Honolulu. We lived there in the early 70's when I was in the Navy and hadn't been back since. There was little planning involved. We booked the trip two days before we left. I guess a flight and a hotel on the beach were all we really needed. We stayed in Waikiki about as close to the beach as one can get.Marilyn loves lounging on the beach with warm breezes and the gentle sound of the surf. The one thing she shuns is the sun. There's nothing wrong with the sun. Without it we would have use our headlights while driving during the day. But with too much time spent in our youth building those dark tans and excellent probabilities for future skin cancer, we limit our exposure now. Marilyn attempted to set an example for the many tourists, most of whom were Asian, who sprawled out in the burning rays around us. She demonstrated sun protection "Arizona style". Although highly effective, it didn't catch on. Most people probably thought she was some kind of crazy American with a colorful beach Burka. No one sat next to her (including me).
We took a drive through the rain forests above Honolulu. Along the way we stopped. I got out and grabbed one the hanging vines and attempted to shake some monkeys out of the trees although there are no wild monkeys in Hawaii. My first instinct upon seeing hanging vines in a jungle is to swing on them like my hero Tarzan did in the movies of my youth. But years of wisdom have taken their toll on boyhood fantasies. I knew that swinging on a vine now would without a doubt lead to serious injury or at least a nasty rope burn so I had to be content with shaking imaginary monkeys from their lofty perches.

To top off our trip down nostalgia lane in Hawaii we toured an old diesel submarine in Pearl Harbor. It bought back memories of my sea faring days. There's something about the smell of a submarine. It's a mixture of diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, electrical insulation and other exotic odors that says you're on board. It's the smell you had to wash your clothes several times to get rid of after a patrol. If they made a men's cologne that smelled like a submarine, they could call it Dive! Dive! Dive!. It wouldn't attract women, but when people near you scrunched their noses and asked you "what's that smell?", it would give an old sailor the opportunity to launch into a sea story. For those who don't know the difference between a sea story and a fairy tale, A fairy tale starts out "Once upon a time" and a sea story starts out "Now this aint no s___".

Speaking of sea stories, there was the time, late at night, silently submerged, cruising the depths just off the seven mile deep Mariana's trench. Without warning the submarine violently shook. We hit something. It wasn't a reef. It wasn't another ship, It was something alive and big enough to shake a 7000 ton sub. If you've got some spare time, ask me for the rest of the story when I'm wearing my Dive! Dive! Dive! cologne.