I was on the road again last week. This was the last trip for a while and it was for pleasure, not work. This time we visited our youngest son in Hawaii. Sounds rough, I know. But somebody has to have a kid in Hawaii and we thought, “why not us?”

Actually, that one kind of backfired on us. We told him it was time to go live on his own last year and he said, “If I’m going to have to live in a dump for my first apartment, I might as well live in a dump in Hawaii.” It was kind of hard to argue that logic. And to his credit, he went there with no job, no place to live, and no car. And within 5 days, he had a job, an apartment, and a truck, all on his own.

Now to be fair, the entire apartment is smaller than the office I’m writing in right now. And the truck will probably disintegrate into a pile of rust after the next tropical storm, but he made it all work.

The trip got off to a rocky start. We had to fly from Indy to Minneapolis, then on to Honolulu. I witnessed two men get in a fight at the Minneapolis Airport. One was shouting from a stall at the guy who had just been in there. Words that shouldn’t be said in front of children were said in front of children. I decided to get out of there before fists and fluids started flying. I did wash my hands before fleeing, however.

Once we got to Honolulu, we drove to the opposite side of the island to a place called Kailua. As our son was working, we stopped at Target for provisions and then on to our Airbnb. No, we weren’t staying with him, because I wasn’t exaggerating. His apartment is the size of a closet.

At Target, I learned that you can’t put your purchases in plastic bags because that’s bad for the ocean. I couldn’t put my tea (in plastic bottles, wrapped in plastic) in a plastic bag. I couldn’t put our English muffins (which came in their own plastic bag) in a plastic bag. In fact, I counted 9 items in plastic containers or plastic bags of their own, that I couldn’t put in a plastic shopping bag. So, I’m not sure how much I really did for the environment, but I know the sea turtles were high fiving me all week.

Speaking of sea turtles, we saw them pretty much every day. My wife even saw two of them mating which a local told us was supposed to bring us either good luck or our mangos would be particularly plentiful (should we have a mango tree, which we don’t). I’m not sure if the local was making it up or it was true, but I knew just the place to find out…

…And that’s because this trip wasn’t all just hanging on the beach and watching sea creatures copulate. We also went to the Bishop Museum to learn about the history of Hawaii. There was a corned beef exhibit, which is the last thing I expected. When I saw the sign, I was hoping for a carving station or samples of some kind, but instead there were lots of signs to read and a metal sculpture of a cow. I gave it a C-.

The regular museum was fine though, and I learned about kings, political intrigue, and culture. What I didn’t see was any explanation of the Hawaiian shirt. Why does it exist? Why do they often look so ugly? These are the questions tourists want answers to! I tracked down an employee who was friendly and asked me, “do you have questions?”

“Boy do I,” I replied. “First, my wife saw two turtles having sex and we would like to know if we should buy a lottery ticket or plant a mango tree.” My wife wandered off as if she didn’t know me. “Second, what’s with the Hawaiian shirt?”

“Sir, are you having some sort of episode?”

“No, I’m perfectly fine.” He looked at me skeptically. “In your culture, what does it mean if you see two turtles having sex?”

“It’s mating season.”

“That’s it? No good luck or mangos?”

“Luck and mangos have nothing to do with turtles mating.”

“Are you sure? The local I talked to was pretty convincing.”

“I’m sure.”

“Okay, then what about the shirt.”

“You mean the aloha shirt?”


“What about it?”

“Why? I need to know why it exists.”

“Well in the 1920s, local Japanese women turned excess kimono fabric into men’s shirts, and they became popular.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Huh, I was hoping for something more, like they were worn by the king’s elite warriors and sewn by concubines.”

“King Kamehameha didn’t have concubines.”

“Then what is the point of being king? Is there somebody else I could ask about the turtle sex thing?”

“Sir, I think your wife is ready to leave.”

I turned around, and sure enough, she was ready to leave! From there we went to the North Shore and I was told if I behaved myself and didn’t embarrass her any further, I could have ice cream. I complied and enjoyed some double chocolate with almonds in a waffle bowl.

But all good things must come to an end, so I’m back in Indiana, dropping hints to our other sons that they should move to somewhere nice to visit as well. My wife says if I’m successful, we should travel separately.

Carry on, Citizens!