As the Islands prepare for the first hurricane to hit the state in 22 years, my dad goes fishing.
This may seem odd for someone who’s not only Portuguese — it’s an ethnic trait to panic — but a closet prepper. I mean, my parents could probably open a small convenience store in their living room with the amount of toilet paper, canned goods and bottled water they have stocked up at home.
But in every storm, every tsunami warning, every hurricane that’s threatened to hit Hawai‘i, my dad has been pretty calm and collected, as far as I could tell. If he freaked out, I never saw it.
In fact, I remember when Hurricane ‘Iwa hit back in November 1982. It devastated Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau and parts of O‘ahu with wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour and waves reaching 30 feet in height. More than 500 people were homeless as the hurricane destroyed some 2,400 buildings and nearly 2,000 homes across the state. One person died, and another three deaths were indirectly related to the hurricane’s aftermath.
Do you know what I remember?
I was 7 years old, huddled with my siblings in blankets and playing cards by candlelit in our parents’ living room. It was actually fun.
My dad turns 70 today, on the day Hurricane Iselle is poised to hit the Islands with winds exceeding 80 miles per hour and another, stronger hurricane, Julio, right on its tail. It’s the first time since ‘Iniki in 1992 that a hurricane warning has caused such a panic. There are lines at gas stations, runs on bottled water and toilet paper, and people hunkering down at home waiting for the impending storm.
This morning the government announced that all state offices and schools were going to be closed tomorrow and a price freeze on commodities would go into effect through Aug. 15.
This is serious.
And my dad and mom are going out to find okazuya somewhere and eat in a park, probably.
Oh, they’re prepared, I’m sure of it. But my dad will stay cool, like always, and tell me not to worry.
I mean, after 70 years, I think he’s got this whole life thing figured out.
Happy Birthday, Pops!