Remembering our dads on Father’s Day

Editor’ note: In honor of Father’s Day, some staffers with The Garden Island are sharing brief stories about their fathers.

Dad to the rescue

When I was 5, my dad owned a 4WD 1980 Toyota pickup. We’d go ramble all over — Salt Pond, Koloa, Kekaha.

Before going on a cruise one morning, my dad performed his preliminary check: warmed up the truck, checked the mirrors and felt for his wallet.

Several coins occupied his pockets, but came up empty when he needed his wallet.

“I come back real fast,” he said to me. “No touch nutten.”

As soon as he said that and left, my eyes veered to the parking brake. I was too humbug for my own good back then.

Against my dad’s sound advice, I played with the brake. The buggah rotated and released. The truck began to slowly roll down the driveway.

I’m too young to die.

“DAD! DAD! DAD!” I screamed like a distressed choirboy who forget his hymnal.

What felt like an instant later, my dad zoomed out of the house, leaped into the truck like an Olympic long jumper and brought the Toyota to a dead halt.

He turned to me with a look of concern, disappointment and relief.

“See, next time no touch nutten,” he said with a smile.

I probably wouldn’t have died that day, but I did listen to my dad from then on. Well, most of the time at least.

— Alden Alayvilla

Ice cream delight

Dad was a pineapple farmer, and growing up on the farm in Kalaheo, we were part of the land from the time we could remember (they found jobs for everyone!).

On one big year for pineapples, we went into the field and when we saw what was there, we wanted to go home — every plant had a pineapple, ripe and ready for picking for the cannery.

Those days, everything was done by hand. The sun was hot, and the boom moved faster than everybody wanted.

On one of those countless trips to the cannery, the driver came back with a brown bag, and we got a rest. That was the best ice cream I have ever tasted — despite the wind sprinkling puffs of red dust on the morsel.

— Dennis Fujimoto

Lessons learned

Tougher than nails — that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Dad. As a carpenter and a cowboy, his hands know the toil of swinging both a lasso and a hammer. He’s a business owner, an artist, a dreamer. He’s been bucked off, stomped on, ripped up and spit out, but the man never quits.

When I was 6 or 7, he showed me a few defensive moves, and a few days later I was tossed out of a basketball game at school for being too rough.

He laughed when he found out.

We’ve had boxing matches and bucked bales together, and at the end of the day I’ve managed to get a few bright pink bows in his hair before I had to go to bed.

Grit and glitter, it was all on the table with Dad. He let me be a princess. He taught me to be strong, and he taught me to be fair.

Thanks for the lessons, Dad. I’m sure there are a few more around the bend.

— Jessica Else

Dancing, biking and remembering

When people find out I have two younger sisters, they always say, “Your poor dad.”

But he took having three girls in stride, and he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are old pictures of me dressed to the nines, in some sort of princess costume, dancing on my dad’s feet. It became a nightly occurrence, and he never once complained. It later became a game to see how fast he could spin me. (Spoiler: I liked going fast.)

He became the master at swaddling baby dolls and playing make-believe, although I don’t think we ever convinced him to play with Barbies.

As we got older, he raised us to be independent and inspired us to take risks. He got tired of me not wanting to learn how to ride a two-wheel bike. So he went ahead and took the training wheels off and told me that if I wanted to ride my bike, I would have to get over my fear.

My dad also had a knack for coming up with creative ways to help me remember facts. One of my first memories is playing with a map of the United States puzzle. The states I had a hard time remembering became the home of my favorite Disney characters. Snow White lived in Montana. Prince Charming lived in Utah. I still remember that.

— Jenna Carpenter

Blood relatives

I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. It was the middle of the night and close to bedtime.

I was watching my father shaving. Although I didn’t understand what exactly he was doing at that age, I understood it as something grown men did.

When he left the bathroom, wanting to mimic him I walked right in, took his razor and started to touch my face with it, copying his movement.

I walked out and saw him in the kitchen area. When I saw him, his eyes widened. He reached for a paper towel and jammed it up my chin.

Apparently, I gave my parents a good scare when they saw me with blood dripping from below my face. It was odd because I don’t remember any pain from the cut.

To be honest, our lives were pretty simple, if not ordinary. But my father loved us, and he took care of us.

We may have opposing views on many subjects, but not on what takes precedence over everything — our family.

Some believe we are marked by those who have influenced us. I still have the scar on my chin.

— Nick Celario

A conversation

When my mother was hospitalized after having a stroke and not expected to recover, my father and I, while she rested and others were with her, went to a tavern next door. We sat, had a few beers and for an hour, just talked. We talked about his love for my mother. About their decades of marriage. He shared some of his hopes and fears, some of his failures and successes. Some regrets, too. He did most of the talking. I did most of the listening. I think he felt better, less fearful of the future. Since I lived in another state, I wasn’t often there for him. I’m glad I was that day. And my mom went on to make a miraculous recovery.

— Bill Buley


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