Christmas 2020

 SinC-HI   Our Stories

Who Let Goldie Out        by Lizbeth Hartz

“Goldie ran away after he ate up the Christmas cookies Jennie baked, so while we’re waiting for Sam to find him, how about I read your palms?” Liz asked the eight members of the Ten-Year-Olds’ Twisters of Rhyme Club who were present for their December meeting. “And if you like what I tell you, would you preorder my book? It’ll be out in 50 years. It would be a great Christmas present for me.”

Vivacious Vicki Greystone passed out chocolate chip cookies her mom had cooked for the occasion, along with spam musubi, which is eaten eight times more frequently in Hawaii than anywhere else.

Eye-catching Katherine with the deep set eyes protested, “Pshaw! You don’t know that, lamentable Liz! You think you know everything just because you’ve got a psychic cross in that dirty little palm of yours.”

“That’s chocolate from Vicki’s delicious cookies. The only dirt I’ve got is the dirt I’ve got on you,” Liz retorted. “You’re going to be a Family Court Judge when you grow up, but must you be so judgmental now?”

“Would you two stop it and be friends?” pretty Pepper Bibeau pleaded. “Why doesn’t everyone just get along?”

“You’re such a peacemaker, Pepper,” Liz smiled. “I’ll bet you’ll be a Peace Officer when you grow up.” She turned to Vicki and whispered, “I wonder if she knows Bibeau means heavy drinker in French.”

“No!” Vicki’s green eyes widened and she spilled cookie crumbs on the floor.

“Do you see that in your crystal ball?” Ravishing Rose, who loved sailing, smirked.

“Right now, I see you. Does your mom know you like nude beaches?”

“You have a lovely form for one so young,” kindhearted Kent piped in, leaning closer, pulling out his toy stethoscope.

“The human body’s a beautiful thing,” attractive AJ added.

Liz held out her hand to AJ, who placed her dimpled palm in Liz’s. “I see by your lines that you’ll be able to write about bodies beautifully someday,” Liz said. She ran her index finger along AJ’s heart line. “And prolifically.” She flushed and fanned herself.

Liz asked lovely Louise Golden, “Did Sam Nahoe and Rosemary Unmild pick the name “Goldie” because of…”

“Yes, how’d you guess?” Louise interrupted. “They’re good friends, and liked my last name…”

“Sam and Goldie are back!” Radiant Rosemary smiled, waving at her handsome boyfriend and his lovable dog before hugging them in a three-way hug.

“Wow!” Liz leaned close to judicious Jennie and whispered in her ear. “That one’s going to write mystery, suspense, and sci-fi novels and stories with Sam, who’s going to be her hubby.”

Jenny was so startled she tripped, falling without trying into an overstuffed chair that perfectly broke her fall. “How in the world do you know that?” Jenny whispered back.

Liz pulled a tiny car with a pulsing red light from her pocket. “It’s a time machine,” she confided, and pointed at a teeny little girl sitting in the car seat. “That’s me. But don’t tell people, okay? Because if you do, no one will buy my book.”

Twas the week before Christmas and all through Oahu, there was plenty of stirring, and it wasn’t by mice.

Gail started it by saying she wanted ice cream. Gail always wants ice cream and knows the best places to get it. She invited me, Laurie, Katharine, Kent, Jenny, Vicki, Rosemary, and Lizbeth and a bunch of other people but most of their moms said no. They had to stay home and do yucky things like chores.

"Where are we going?" I asked Gail.

By the time she said Lappert’s, I was already visualizing ordering a Heavenly Hana bowl. And yes, I was going to eat it all by myself. I pictured the creamy chocolate ice cream with delicate swirls of marshmallow ribboned with handmade chunks of white chocolate covered macadamia nuts, dark chocolate almond chunks, chocolate bits & roasted almonds.

Gail called Vicki's cell phone. Vicki said she couldn't come. She likes a boy called Don. "We're going to listen to music and eat waffles."

"What kind of waffles?" Gail asked, her eyes wide like orbs.

I heard Vicki saying, "I'm not telling you."

I tugged Gail’s pigtail. "Ask her if their waffles will have handmade chunks of white chocolate covered macadamia nuts on them."

"I can’t ask her that." Gail looked scandalized. “The way you say it makes it sound so…so…"

"Delicious?" I asked.

“Salacious,” she said. Like ice cream, Gail knows big words. "You’re 10, AJ! What are you? A budding romance writer or something?"

"Romance," I said. "Yuck!"

Vicki hung up on us. Well! Some people clearly like to keep their waffles to themselves.

"Do you suppose her waffles have nuts and cherries on them?" I asked Gail as she called Rosemary next.

Rosemary said she'd come if she could bring a boy she likes called Larry.

"Sure," Gail said. She told her to meet us at Lappert's in an hour. 

We all might be 10, but we like feeling like grownups and Lappert's at the Hilton feels about as suave as you can get.

"Tell her about the handmade chunks of white chocolate covered macadamia nuts,” I urged Gail. She rolled her eyes at me.

"I see," she said into the phone. When she ended the call, she looked at me. "She and Larry are writing a book together."

"A book? Like a whole, actual book?"

Gail nodded. Clearly, she was impressed, too. She called Laurie who said she’d come if she could get a ride and if she could bring her dog.

“I guess,” Gail said. “We can sit outside.”

We were excited now and hopped on a bus on Ka’ahumanu Avenue and switched at Ala Moana to get to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Like ice cream, Gail knows all about TheBus and knows all the routes. At the hotel, we cut through the lobby where beautiful women in muumuus were handing out frosty plastic glasses of guava juice. We took two each. Just to be polite, you know.

At Lappert’s we grabbed stools by the window and waited. And waited. Where was everybody? Half an hour went by and I was beginning to worry. What if they ran out of the handmade chunks of white chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Not to mention all the other Heavenly Hana stuff.

Finally, Gail looked at me. "Where do you suppose everybody is?"

"I don’t know, but I’m ordering." I hopped off my stool and looked out the window. There they all were, in the middle of a hula dancing demo, Kent leading the charge. Well! We all know these things are strictly for tourists.

"They forgot about us," Gail said. I couldn’t tell if she was sad or really, really mad.

"You have me," I said.

Gail nodded. "Yes. And, I’ll always have ice cream."

Heavenly Hana        by AJ Llewelyn

At 11 a.m. on Dec. 7, Katharine Nohr packed Dennis’ (husband) car full of Christmas toys for 35 children. Toys included teddy bears, unicorn animals, Star Wars items, etc. There were also Christmas bags for 20 domestic abuse survivors, which included Macadamia Nut boxes, Katharine’s book called “Hope,” Arare Mix in jars, Li Hing Mui Mango and a small packet of jewelry.

Finally, 20 minutes later, Dennis came to the car and drove Katharine to the domestic abuse shelter (just two miles away) in a secret location. As they got to the gated complex, someone inside pressed a button to let Katharine and Dennis go into the garage.

As soon as Katharine started to hand the bags and boxes to the shelter’s employees, she immediately hugged AJ Llewellyn, an executive director of Domestic Violence Action Center. AJ has been a great inspiration to Katharine for eight years. Whenever AJ needed a speaker, she would beg Katharine to speak in front of groups, conferences and high schools.

As Katharine were getting situated in the office (full of Christmas decorations and a beautiful decorated Christmas tree) where the speech will take place, the young children and their mothers started coming in. Katharine was delighted to see survivor Vicki White come in with Jenny, 10, and Denise, a three-month old baby.

AJ and Gail Baugniet, a shelter office manager, handed a couple of stuffed animals for Denise, the baby, a Ziploc Bag stuffed with goodies for Jenny as well as a Christmas bag full of Macadamia nuts, Katharine book “Hope” and many other goodies for Vicky.

Jenny was so overjoyed of receiving their gifts that she said, ‘Wow all this is from the the speaker? I can’t believe a stranger would give all this to us.”
AJ spoke to Jenny, “Isn’t it just wonderful?”

Other survivors and their children also came soon after, including Lizbeth Hart and her two children Dora, 5 years old, and Adele, 2.

When everyone was settled in the classroom, Katharine started to say her memorized 25-minute speech from the heart, and everyone was listening. By the time the speech was over, all the domestic abuse survivors and the older children, including Jenny, was crying.

When people scrambled to try and get Katherine’s signature on her book “Hope,” Jenny was so inspired about the speech that she came up with her mother Vicki.

“Wow, that was a beautiful speech. It’s so heartbreaking!” Jenny told Katharine. “What does Hope stands for?”

Katharine replied, “If you have Hope within your heart, you can go very far in life despite all the challenges and obstacles that come your way. You also will be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hope        by Jenny Delos Santos

Christmas 1953       by Gail Baugneit

Desire for a specific Christmas gift is unbearable for a preteen. When your brother uses that nervous energy to hunt down a hiding place, and then shares knowledge of unearthed treasures, memories of crafty snooping turn golden.

***

 "What do you want for Christmas?" Cousin Katharine asked, fully aware I not only wanted but needed a bike.

Riding the school bus was getting old. Besides, my baseball games lasted beyond the scheduled bus pick-up and I walked the four miles home on Tuesdays. Vicki's mom sometimes gave me a ride home - whenever Vicki played outfield. But she only played once a month because of extra studies, her wanting to work in the medical field someday.

"You know what I want for Christmas," I told Katharine, choosing not to relinquish any information because she had a tendency to cross-examine me on all my decisions. Lucky for me, her older sister Rosemary pulled into the driveway with her boyfriend Larry driving the fancy new Jaguar he'd received for high school graduation.

"Hop in," Rosemary called to Katharine. "Mom wants you home by suppertime."

 

After Larry squealed out of the driveway and half way down the block, I shuffled my way to the back yard. I still wanted a bike for Christmas, not a gas-guzzling machine. Besides, I could squeal bike tires on asphalt just as loud as some dumb car.

Just then the next door neighbor called out my name. Meeting her at the fence line, I answered back, “Hey, Laurie. Attending baseball practice tomorrow?"

She nodded, saying, "But Lizbeth can't make it. She burned her arm roasting marshmallows over a backyard campfire last night. A fireman’s career isn’t in her future."

I wondered aloud about Carol and Dawn. They each had younger siblings to watch at home after school and often missed practice. Both had bikes. Everybody had a bike . . . except me.

Laurie shrugged. "Carol and Dawn can’t make it, either. And my dad's taking me along when he flies to Guam next week so I’ll miss that practice. But Jenny and Doris will be there tomorrow. Team captain A.J. says Coach Gunn wants us to concentrate on fielding ground balls so we don't flub another game. His assistant, Dennis, will demonstrate how to keep our eye on the ball."

 

Heading home, I fussed over people tooling around town in cars and flying off to exotic lands while my only mode of transportation was foot mobile. At the back entrance, I heard a shushing sound. Crouching behind the door, my brother instructed me to follow him down the basement stairs. At the third to last step, he pointed up at a one-foot opening in the brick wall that allowed a flow of air into our dad's sawdust-laden workroom. I gripped the sill and pulled myself up to peek inside. Lingering sunlight shone through an outer window, its dusty beam illuminating two brand new Schwinn bicycles.

Ala Moana Shopping Center is decked in her best Christmas decor. The eight members of the Aloha Gumshoes Book Club meet up at Center Stage. They do surveillance of suspicious looking characters there in the shopping center. They break into two groups; ‘Red team’ consisting of  Rose, Laurie, Vicki, and her neighbor Alian. ‘Green team’ has Rosemary and her brother Larry, Gail and Katharine.  For safety reasons no child is ever alone, and they always have backup. The two groups of four head off in different directions in search of suspicious looking characters to surveil. These will be the characters in their individual crime stories. 

 

It is not long before Rose and Laurie pass a fellow student from their school.  There is something in Jenny’s eyes and posture which concerns these two.  They stop and speak with Vicki and Alain.  “I’m worry about Jenny, something is wrong”, says Laurie before she and Rose run off to get ahead of Jenny and the man she is with whom none of them recognize. Vicki calls the ‘Green team’ on her cell telling them to get to the third level entrance to Target, we require backup 10-13.     

 

Rose and Laurie run pass Jenny and the man giggling as they reach the  jungle gym at the back entrance to Target. They turn and confront Jenny and the suspicious man.  Vicki and Alain catch up to them and stand blocking the exit to the roof top parking lot.  They can see the 'Green team’ running across the rooftop parking lot to their location. Alain nods his head indicating that backup is on the way.

 

Rose asks Jenny, “are you alright?  Jenny doesn’t answer and stares at her feet.  Rose tells Jenny, “sit down”.  That is when the four sleuths start screaming in unison “STRANGER DANGER, STRANGER DANGER,” while pointing at the suspicious stranger with Jenny.    

Now the adults on this level of the shopping center are looking their way.  What they see is a pre-teen girl sitting on the ground and four other pre-teens screaming and pointing at a strange man. 

 

A Target security guard steps to the doorway while on his cell. Two football players from Punahoe run up and do a better job of blocking the way out to the parking lot. The other four sleuths from the ‘Green team’ reach the location and join in the chant, “STRANGER DANGER, STRANGER DANGER."  High school students pull out their cells and start filming the scene. You can now hear police sirens as they rush code 3 to this location. 

 

First officers on the scene are a pair of HPD detectives who were driving past when the call went out 10-66 a possible 207 abduction of a juvenile. The blue light from their unmarked SUV lights the roof. The football players wave to the first responding officers. They can hear the shrill voices of the young girls screaming, “STRANGER DANGER”. 

Christmas Angels       by Rose Tiarden

Frosty in the Pick-up Truck  by D.V. Whytes

“Ah, now this is the life,” I mumbled softly, while cuddling up on the couch with a warm winter blanket and hot cocoa.  We had just finished trimming the tree.  Mom placed Teddy Snow next to me, and then flipped the TV knob to channel ten.

Suddenly, an announcer proclaimed, “Next, on ABC is The Avengers ... Emma Peel Finds Something Nasty in the Nursery.”  My favorite show and Emma was not only my namesake, she was also my mastermind.  I studied her every move.

While the theme music played, I thought about this morning.  Teddy and I had gone to Garfield’s Mart with Ernie.  When we got there we noticed old mild-man Larry’s truck in a snowdrift.  One of his crutches lay on the ground outside the drivers door.

Ernie jumped onto the runner board and saw poor old mild-man Larry, dead, lying at the foot of Frosty in his truck bed.  Mr. Nygaard, the store owner, tried to shoo us away, but only a tingling sound escaped from his mouth.  This brought me back to the TV show where Emma Peel was holding a blue ball with twirling yellow spirals.  It must have been poisoned because we were both fell into a childlike trance as we watched.

A toy merry-go-round revolved next to Mr. Steed, and he asked, “And what do you see, Madame Peel?”

“Do you wish to know all ... even if it be sorrow and woe?” she asked.

He nodded and she said, “I see you being attacked by two big ... things.”

“Do I end them?” Steed asked with a grin.

This time it was I who replied, “No, ... I do,” I said, and waved at whatever it was that was tickling my nose.  “Stop ...” I said.  “Leave me alone.”

“We can’t ... we must have your attention,” Tinsel-Gail blurted out.

“This is important and it can’t wait,”  KatharineStarBright said.

Reindeer Dennis and GingerKentBread brought AJ the jolly elf before me.

“She saw it all.  She knows ... she knows who murdered mild-man Larry,” Poinsetta-alizbeth cried.

The elf laughed.  “You’ll never find out ...  I’ll never tell.”

Angel-JennyWings sat on the hood of the truck and shook her head.  “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” she said, “That’s not very nice.  You must tell.”

AJ laughed and twirled her cap, saying, “I think not and you can’t make me.”

GingerKentBread stood tall and grabbed the little elf by her pointed ear and said, “Tell her.”

“Ouch.  Ok, but only I’ll tell Teddy ... and only him,” she said as she rubbed her ear. 

After she whispered, Teddy bore a look of disbelief.  It gave me great concern and so I asked, “Well, ...?”

He placed his paw on my shoulder and whispered, “It was ...”

But at that moment, I woke with a start.

Mom was kissing me on my cheek as she held a sprig of MistleRosetoeMary over my head.  “It’s time to go to bed Miss sleepy head.”

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xxx        by Jxxx

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