I miss Hawaii. I mean, I really miss Hawaii. Of all the places I’ve been, it’s there that I feel most at home, mostly because of the factors you listed.

My youngest son was born at Tripler back in 1995. I was only stationed at Pearl for three years, but I learned to love Hawaii. Aloha is not just something that tourists learn — it’s real. Even now I’m tearing up a little bit remembering walking around in Ala Moana and going to school at HPU. All the world could learn something from what Hawaii has to teach. If only my wife were okay with hot weather, we’d be there now. Just last year I was accepted for a TSA job at Kailua Kona, but I turned it down because my oldest son was about to have a child…but part of me wishes so much that I’d taken it anyway.

That, and there’s this local named Barack (of whom I’m a bit of a fanboy) who’d agree with everything I just said. If I ever see him, I’ll give him the sincerest salute I’ve ever given anyone.

That being said, even Hawaiians aren’t perfect. I remember a good friend of mine, a Black man who came into work one day at Pearl, bitter because he had to walk home one day. He tried time and again to call and hail a taxi, but as soon as they saw he was Black, they’d just keep driving.

Don’t get me wrong — I dearly love Hawaii. If my wife passes away, I’ll move there and become a kama’aina once again (though I’ll probably stay here to take care of my grandkids instead). But Hawaiians are human, with all the good and bad that entails.

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.