2014 Soap Box Archives

Impressions of Hawaii 2014

Sitting here in the predawn hours of a Sunday morning looking out over the calm expanses of the mighty Pacific Ocean and contemplating the beauty, the serenity, at least at this time of the morning, and the people who make up the native population of our 50th state.

Oahu is the best known of the Islands with the most dense population and internationally famous Waikiki Beach, probably the most expensive stretch of sand on the planet, lined with hotels, luxury condos and upscale shops and restaurants ranging from fast food to fancy places with all kinds of international cuisine.

The north side of the Island is where the big breakers roll in off the Pacific and the surfers go in search of the perfect wave.

As the day brightens and the beach starts waking up Kalakaua Avenue, the street that runs along Waikiki, starts resembling a beehive as sunburned tourists and honeymooning Japanese couples take to the streets to begin another day of non stop activities which could include anything from surfing instruction to a submarine ride, a round of golf on a crowded course or hula lessons and probably ending the night with a luau or a show featuring ukuleles and hula girls.

It seems that the folks who come here on vacation are not on vacation at all but a mission to cram every second of living they possibly can into their allotted time here and run from pillar to post wearing big flapping straw hats, flip flops and carrying gigantic bags full of Island oddities and souvenirs for the folks back home.

It seems to me that the natives just kinda stand back and observe the hustling masses with something akin to mild amusement as they patiently point out the whereabouts of mispronounced streets and that Chinese place uncle Clyde told us not to miss.

They show great humility and patience when dealing with their transient population locating lost luggage or finding a drugstore that can fill the prescription Grandma left back in Omaha.

What we see in the commercial side of Hawaii does not even skim the surface or the culture of the Islands, a culture that nurtured a hardy breed of people who lived off the land and the sea and had their own government and social customs, a lifestyle which still exists on The Forbidden Island which means exactly what the name implies.

There is absolutely no public access to the Forbidden Island, no airports or docks and no tours touch it's shores. Only native-born Hawaiians are allowed and only those who want to live in the old ways, without modern conveniences and no contact with the outside world.

Of course Hawaii is known for growing probably the world's finest pineapple and the Island of Kona produces a limited amount of the world's finest coffee.

There is also a big cattle operation on the big Island known as the Parker Ranch complete with horseback cowboys known as paniolos.

Pearl Harbor was the site of the first attack on America by the Japanese in 1941 and the site is revered and maintained, the memorials to the people who lost their lives that day open to the public, lest we forget.

The Japanese are back again, but this time as some of the best friends Hawaii has, regular visitors to the Islands, they come in droves year after year to sample the joys of this incredible place along with tourists from all over the world who have discovered the delights of the Hawaiian Islands.

You're apt to see most anything walking down the street at Waikiki, young girls who look like they were born to model a bikini and quite a few who were obviously not but model them anyway, a silver painted mime standing so absolutely still you think for sure he's a statue somebody's left on the sidewalk to a herd of Hare Krishna people jangling down the street singing unintelligible songs to whatever imitation deities they pay homage to.

A lot of the folks who come here come for the surf and sand but I'm not a beach person and never don a bathing suit or even get my feet wet, in fact Hawaii would still be a super fine place if it didn't even have a beach.

It's said, and truthfully, that the people make a place and that certainly applies to Hawaii. You've just got to love the folks here; friendly, courteous, outgoing and laid back with a natural gift for hospitality.

The day in 1959 when Hawaii received its statehood the United States of America became a better place.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

©Copyright The Charlie Daniels Band