Sunday, May 16, 2010


I learned something about myself while I was in Hawaii. If everyone else was jumping off of a cliff, would I do it too? Yes, I would And, I will lose my glasses and rental car keys at the same time. Luckily, a kid swimming nearby spotted them in the sand under the cliff and dove for them.

I went to Hawaii to visit the winter nursery site where I had three projects nearing harvest. I spent a couple of days taking pictures of the germplasm increases and taking notes.

From Personal

Almost every night I ate sushi for dinner at Morio's sushi. It is run by him and Junko - the waitress and maybe had room for 12 people. Each night I got a seat outside or in the corner because the rest were reserved. They sat empty until the reservers arrived. Meanwhile, Morio sent reams of people away that walked in looking for somewhere to eat. The food was very good, fresh. Each meal comes with complimentary miso soup and salad. Some nights they brought me edamame beans also. No drinks at all on the menu - no soda pop, no lemonade, no alcoholic beverages. Some customers brought their own sake and beer.

From Personal

I went snorkeling while I was there. I am not the best swimmer, but when I have a snorkel I feel like I can swim all day. Somehow the rhythm of holding my breath and lifting my head to breathe I get off kilter and occasionally take in water. Once that happens I continue to take on water till I feel like I am half drowned. But, give me a snorkel in the ocean with fish, coral and wildlife to look at and I am in heaven. I saw a bunch of tropical fish, two large sea turtles, some crabs, starfish, but I didn't find any squid or octopus.

I went to Shark's cove on the north shore and Hanauma Bay near Waikiki. Hanauma Bay is a national water park. It is full of wildlife just off shore, but is full of tourists. Sharks' Cove had just as much to see, but it is far from Honolulu and was almost deserted. There is more surf just outside of the tide pool area, but the tide pools would have been fine for even kids to swim around in.

I had to hurry when I went to Hanauma bay on Saturday. I ran down to the water, swam across the bay and back, and then raced up the mountain and down again to my car. I had an appointment to meet my Dad for lunch. I hadn't seen him for almost 20 years. My parents were divorced when I was 12 and he came to visit when I was 13. He wrote us letters once after that and once he called when I was almost 14.

It was like he died. He didn't send money, visit, or call. His parents didn't have any contact with him either. None of his old friends knew about him or his disappearance. I went back to visit Teton when I was 19 and all of his old friends were dumbstruck to hear that he had disappeared so completely. Not one could believe that he left us and never came back.

Apparently, he has been living in Hawaii for the last 8 years. Before that he was travelling around the southwest doing who knows what. A friend of his contacted Anna last year after he had a stroke. She was concerned that if he died there would be no next of kin to notify. She gave us his number and I called him a few times. It was very odd to talk to a ghost that sounded so eerily like my older brother Marc. He changed cell numbers without telling any of us and disappeared again after we moved to Iowa. So when I got to Honolulu, Anna got me his friends number and I asked her to tell him I was was in town.

He called me back Friday before I was due to leave and we agreed to meet for lunch on Saturday at his favorite cafe near his house. When I came in the hostess, said "You must be Gary's son - He is over there." I went over to the booth and sat down. He doesn't look like I remember. For one thing, he is shorter than me now, grey hair, and had gained weight and then lost it. I would not have recognized him if I past him in a crowd.

We talked pleasantries and small talk. He then said he couldn't imagine why my Mom would have wanted to divorce him. He doesn't remember things like they really happened. In his mind he was the one that was abandoned and rejected. None of it was his fault and he did nothing wrong. I told him that since he had left without any money or contact that divorce was inevitable and reasonable. The silence was awkward enough that Bill, the Bahai pastor that Dad had asked to come along for support, came over from the next booth and we spent the rest of the time sharing pictures of my family and talking about children, work, etc.

It wasn't quite what I envisioned as a reunion with my long lost father. But it wasn't as bad. I would have like to have an apology of some sort for the years of silence, but I can live without it.