You won’t remember this. There was a place once called Jaron’s. And as much as there might be such a thing as privilege, I had it here. These names are real. I was just off the plane from Texas with a black, felt Stetson and a shirt that said “Listen to Black Sabbath” and I meant them both. We had crab cakes and whatever was on tap. I was drunk on the plane. Now, it was just a slip. The bouncer knew me from ’93, the bartender was my cousin and his wife ran the kitchen. I was, as much as any place, home.
The band that night was ‘Ale’a, sweet voiced in Hawaiian, and they were. Kala’i was fresh off his falsetto win and they were confident and the notes were true. In the bar where I was born. And they dedicated Hula O Makee to me and I knew I was home. I wasn’t yet married to Effie, but she knew about my stories and it was nice to have proof, right off the plane, that I was from where I said I was from.
This small-town encapsulation. This Kailua. Around the corner was No Name Bar where all the marines chose to brawl. Down Oneawa from Fast Eddies where Willie K played Hi’ilawe and Hey, Joe. But Jaron’s was ours.