GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Star-Bulletin reporter Al Chase received a signed caricature by Corky Trinidad at his retirement party yesterday.
Chase touched all the bases in 39 years at the Star-Bulletin
YESTERDAY, in the office of the Star-Bulletin, we had a party. It was a great party, full of laughter and smiles and leis and hugs. Kids were everywhere. Good food. Al Chase is retiring from these pages. He's been with the Star-Bulletin for 39 years.
Corky drew one of his special cartoons, Al kicking back. All the sports shoes he's supposedly leaving behind hung up in the background. But there's no way he's getting out that easy, not yet.
With his beloved grandson Noah, almost 1, "He's not going to stop going to ballgames," Mary Adamski said.
Everybody grinned, yesterday. It's like watching someone graduate, or get married, that kind of feel-good milestone. He was everyone's hero. We'd all like to go out like this. It was a happy goodbye.
But we're going to miss him. You will, too.
The coaches and athletes he's worked with certainly will.
Al has a great smile, and an easy laugh. He tells great stories. He loves trains.
He loves soccer, the beautiful game. He coached it at Kalani High School many years ago. As a going-away gift, the sports department got together to give him a Team USA jersey, the kind Brian Ching wears. No. 39 for 39 years.
He covered Rainbow Wahine basketball. Baseball. Al once told me he was a "ham-and-egg writer," and I had no idea what that meant. I think it was that he never tried to be fancy, that he just told the story straight and got out of the way, just made the tough deadlines, knew every detail and was organized, just did the job every night. Looked everyone he worked with in the eye.
Whenever I went to a baseball game, I told the players I knew Al. I was in.
He was a sportswriter for 39 years. He pointed out that it was the same number of years he'd been married to his wonderful wife, Lee. Now that's a stat.
Al works hours that can be tough to live with, weekends and late into the night. Somehow, all these years, she'd put up with it all. How will it be now that he'll be around the house?
"We haven't worked that out yet," Al said, and then they both laughed.
We'll see if he comes in on Monday, asking for his job back.
But somehow, I think they'll be great.
When the Star-Bulletin was going to close in 1999, he called Lee with the news. When he got home he found a paper heart taped to the bathroom mirror. Yesterday, he pulled the heart out of his pocket. He'd kept it all these years.
Something good will happen out of this mess.
What a wife he has, to have gotten a note like that.
"That good thing that came out of it," Al said, "is the Star-Bulletin today."
We stood there, moved. Everyone lingering in the emotion of the moment, until something finally snapped us awake.
"Did someone say there was food?" Al said.
He works today, his last day, hopefully a half day, the last day of school.
And then it's off to his grandson, and his wife, and retirement, and the rest of his life.