Can You Say Kah- Nay- ‘O- Hay


The Moana Hotel had one room left and only for one night. 

Gina inhaled the scent of plumeria wafting gently on the trade wind breeze immersing her in its sweet perfume. She was sitting on a large koa rocking chair on the front lanai of the hotel where she’d been instructed to wait. 

She could hear the four-cat band-strumming ukulele across from her on the sidewalk outside at the Hyatt Hotel. They were playing and singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song. Kalakaua Avenue was the main street in Waikiki. The sun had set, and it was a warm 80-degree night. Everywhere she looked tourists and locals weaved across the avenue and onto the wide sidewalks. People smiled and looked peaceful. She instinctively knew she would like it here. 

Tony checked in and got the key. Their room would be directly above on the second floor above the music and the nightlife of Waikiki. 

“Sorry, I asked for something quieter, but this is all that’s left.”

Gina smiled, happy to have a room at all. 

“I can sleep. I hope the music doesn’t keep you up? They just started to play.”

It had been a long flight. Tony and Gina opted to get some much-needed shut-eye and then get an early start in the morning. 

The last thing Gina remembered was the song “Tiny Bubbles” being performed outside, that, Tony’s even breathing and his arm draped over her side.

The next morning, Tony and Gina went down to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and croissants. Sipping Kona coffee, looking out at Waikiki Beach each immersed in their own thoughts, the town of Remembrance quickly faded from their consciousness. This was the start of new memories, a life they would carve out for themselves. 

Tony broke the silence first.

“I have an appointment with Victor Pellegrino at eleven in Kaneohe. He is one of the partners at Homes Consultants.” They install steel siding on houses. I should be able to get a job as an installer. Then we’ll need to find an apartment.”

“Okay, we should be able to find his shop without too much trouble. Where is Kaneohe?”

“I spoke to Victor, and he gave me the directions. It’s located on the windward side of the island. We have to get on the H-1 freeway headed west until we see the sign for Like-Like Highway. That will take us through the tunnel and then directly into Kaneohe. Where we make a left onto Kamehameha and then a mile or so down a left onto Kahuhipa. Then we go straight until we see the sign for Aoloa. Make a right onto Aoloa, and it’s at the end of the street on the left. It’s a large warehouse with about six different businesses. Homes Consultants is at the end next to Pacific Gate.”

“Wow, those names are a mouthful. I read somewhere that the Hawaiian language only has thirteen letters. Five vowels, seven consonants, and a symbol called an okina or glottal stop. They sure use the letter “K” a lot. We will need some lessons in pronunciation.”

“Yeah, I thought of that too. You read it in “Hana Hou” the inflight magazine on the plane. We can learn by watching and listening to the local news.”

Gina smiled, typical Tony, she thought.   She checked her watch and noticed the hour it was half-past nine. Time to get moving.     

 …

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