Chapter 49: Spirit of Aloha Kahunas
Kauai, considered the garden island, is part of an elevated group of an underwater mountain range known as the Hawaiian Emperor Seamount archipelago fifteen hundred miles long running northeasterly from the main island and consisting of over one hundred and thirty emerging smaller peaks. Sixty-five nautical miles (as the bird flies) south from Honolulu, or one hundred and seven standard miles from airport to airport, Kauai is one of the four major islands visited by tourist from around the world. Approximately the same size as Oahu, yet hosting a smaller population, much of this island paradise remains unattainable, except by foot. And there are strict protections to insure that it stays that way.
Kip gave me a ride to the airport next morning, with the promise to retrieve me upon my return, provided it was on a weekend. I found myself seated in the same row as a group of sailors during the short thirty-minute flight. At first, we exchanged pleasantries about military life, and the unprovoked brotherhood that existed between the Navy and the Corps. The young man seated beside me began speaking to me about the Lord and salvation.
"My name is James," he said introducing himself. "Do you know Jesus?"
"I received the Holy Spirit a few years ago, and continue in grace until this day." I affirmed.
"What church do you belong to?" He probed.
"I belong to the spiritual church of our Lord, which has no boundaries of architect, or denomination. By faith, I am born, and by faith I walk."
I then began sharing with them all how the Lord called me, emphasizing the dramatic event of my rebirth and salvation. I think they were amazed. Not so much that I was a Christian, but that I was not a Christian by birth or indoctrination. Each of these men born into Christian homes, attended church regularly from Sunday school to adulthood, for whom religion was an important part of their lives. Here I was, one who had lived barbarous, yet had found the same grace they took for granted. I liked these fellows, and the simple sincerity of their fellowship. Being neither tough guys, nor braggarts, they sat quietly listening attentively to my testimony without argument or judgment.
They had a car rental waiting at the airport, and asked if I would like to accompany them on a day of sightseeing. I gladly accepted, since there was no particular schedule on my agenda, considering this an opportunity to see many of the attractions famous to the island. We started our journey by traveling north to Lihue to see Wailua Falls, an eighty-foot cascade of water dropping into a rainbow pool feeding a river by the same name. I was tempted to do some hiking, desiring to see this grand phenomenon from the top, but my companions dissuaded me with the promise of more sightseeing. It was here that something happened, which would precipitate into a series of extraordinary events.
A portly man wearing a Hawaiian and Bermuda shorts approached us, sweating profusely. More than an hour earlier, he and his wife had locked themselves out of their late model Cadillac with their pet Chihuahua inside. My four companions tried unsuccessfully to open the door; and then it was my turn. Looking around, I found a thin piece of unrecognizable rusted wire approximately three feet long. Making an elbow hook shape on one end, I gingerly passed the instrument between the glass and rubber weather seal, searching blindly the hidden lock mechanism. The first attempt failed, the frail wire breaking at the elbow. I could see the despair on both their faces, as they tried to comfort the excited small dog through the tinted glass. I retrieved the remaining length of wire, made another elbow, and tried a second time. After several minutes, I hooked something that made the lock button move slightly. Yet, no matter how much I pulled, the lock would not release. Again, I removed my homemade tool, modified the hook and the angle, making a third attempt. Once again, I latched onto something causing the lock button to move. Steady pressure seemed to be getting me nowhere; therefore, I allowed the wire to slip up along the linkage as far as it would go. Positioning myself against the rear glass, I began fishing the wire with a giggling motion. After a few sharp yanks, the latch button popped up; the door frantically opened by the man's wife. The couple, beside themselves with gratitude, grabbed their frightened Chihuahua and left.
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Distance Traveled: A Chronicle in TimeNon-Fiction
This is an autobiographical novel beginning in a small town in old south America. It records the life of a young man growing up in the shadow of the escalating Viet Nam war and eventually joining the United States Marine Corps to become a part of t...