A Matter of the Heart..... I have lost a man I considered my mentor and we/the Pacific NW Hawaiian community have lost a truly great friend as Ahoi Sabu Simeona and his wife Billie have decided to follow their hearts and move back to a retirement home for Hawaiians in Waimanalo! Ahoi and Billie (together since graduating from Kamehameha in 1946) have chosen to spend their “golden days” in Hawaii where most of their Ohana reside! Ahoi is a humble man who, for the past seventeen years, dedicated his talents and much of his time and efforts to promoting and perpetuating Hawaiian culture here in the Pacific NW. He was the action guy who helped form some of the biggest Hawaiian community clubs in this area (including the Lokahi Ohana Hawaiian Club). Aloha e mahalo nui Ahoi and Billie!
Auwe.....twas sooo much fun mingling with the “Eastern Hawaiian Islanders” (folks from the eastern part the Pacific NW) at the 4th Annual Blue Bridge Bash in Kennewick, WA in October 2007. Once again I was able to appreciate that “being Hawaiian” is not restricted just to one’s ethnicity...often, it’s more a matter of attitude and heart, of giving Aloha! And the folks who were at the Blue Bridge Bash surely knew how to give Aloha! From the Grand Matriachs of the Bash Sarah Marcell (eighty nine years young) and Dolly Best (seventy eight) down to four month old Ka`ihiao Roberts, spreading Aloha was the name of the game! Sarah Marcell (mother of Kumu Hula Onie Rendall) went to Kennewick, WA from Hawaii in 1949 and has been there ever since. She and her husband were key in the formation of the VFW Club in Kennewick (site of the 2007 B.B. Bash). Dolly Best (born on Lana`i but grew up on the Big Island) has to use a walker to move around but got a standing ovation when she got up with her walker and danced a lively, funny (and a little kolohe) hula to “Tutu E”...truly awesome!!!! And the peoples.......auwe, sooo many and sooo talented....folks like Chef Wally Au (KS ’61) whose parents were restaurant owners on Lana`i (so you know the guy can cook...auwe his noodles are broke da mouth stuff). Wally now lives in Yakima, WA but has spent many of his past vacations on Lana`i, gathering information from the remaining kupunas there to the point that he is now a virtual walking encyclopedia of Lana`i. And the lead singer during the kanikapila, Hank Nawahine (smooth voice, great guitar) was an educator in Hawaii the past few decades (last at BYUH) besides being an entertainer at the Cultural Center in Lai`e. Hank moved from Hawaii to Fruitland, ID earlier this year! It was also great to meet up again with the very musically talented Piko Johnson (originally from Maui, now resides in Boise, ID) and his ladies (wife Pat and daughters Kelsy (just a HS junior but already a very accomplished musician) and 7 th grader Talia. Then there were the quiet ones, Sid and “sweet” Sue Suenishi who were busy helping at the Bash. Sid and I go back a long way, to the late 1950’s when I was a young US Army Lieutenant at Ft Ord and Sid was one of the hundreds of recruits I trained. Sid says he remembers me as the tough officer who did one handed pullups as a challenge to the recruits (auwe, how time has passed cause I feel good now-a-days if I can do just one pullup with two hands). Sid and Sue now live in Selah, WA. Fascinating also to meet Ricky Chang’s sister, Dr Miriam Chang (and her husband Art Donoho), who flew in from Hawaii just for the Bash. Dr Miriam works in a clinic in Kahuku that helps the poor (mostly Polynesians) in that area! Francis Doo drove over from Portland, OR for the Bash. Francis is a fun guy/great entertainer and awed the audience with his “Manuela Boy” hula! Peter Tabali and his wife Robin came from Tacoma, WA; Peter entertained the audience with his singing/great bass playing! The most interesting person I ran into at the Bash was a young Hawaiian named Carey Camacho who flies in from the San Francisco Bay area for the B.B. Bash every year. Carey is an extraordinary talent whose declared mission in life is to help perpetuate Hawaiian culture, a subject he is very serious about! He is a skilled musician who has already made one slack key guitar CD and is making another (due out in 2008). He makes authentic Hawaiian music instruments/hula implements and also teaches the processes for producing them! He is a professional sound/studio engineer.
Time to hele on...have a fun/festive Thanksgiving....a hui hou e malama pono....Danny
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