Woody Brown showed how to win at life
Welcome to the Honolulu Lite Tuesday Notebook, now proudly offering big-screen TV, "Happy Hour" from noon till 11:30 p.m., gorgeous new pupus and free hostesses.
Aloha, Woody: Someone once said that life is short and always ends messily. Surfing legend Woody Brown, who died last week at age 96, proved that wrong. Brown, one of the pioneers of big-wave surfing, continued riding waves at age 90 and living a life defined by his love of the ocean. Woody is one of three surfers in a famous Star-Bulletin photo riding a monster wave at Makaha in 1953. The framed photo hung for many years in the News Building. I was lucky enough to retrieve it from a Dumpster where an interior decorator unfamiliar with surfing history apparently chucked it during a newsroom makeover.
Someone else once said that life is a fatal condition. But there's a word for living a rich, meaningful life, surfing all the way and finally succumbing gracefully, surrounded by people who love you. The word is "winning." Woody won at life and inspired many others to attempt to do the same. I know every time I look at him dropping down that incredible Makaha wave, I'm inspired to seize the day.
Gemmie That Olde Time Religion: The past week was fairly saturated with religion, what with the pope visiting and Texas officials raiding that large polygamous compound. One of the stranger things -- stranger than discovering that all of the females in the fundamentalist sect, including the little girls, dress like Granny from the "Beverly Hillbillies" -- was watching national news reporters show their compete ignorance of religion. The highlight was when a TV reporter asked one of the Granny-clad female sect members -- and I swear I'm not making this up -- "So, how many husbands do you have?" The poor woman looked quite dumbfounded by the query.
When Columns (or Columnists) Go Bad: It seems to always happen. When I write a column that I want to come out particularly well, I manage to screw it up. I know, I should want ALL columns to come out particularly well, but, frankly, after your 325th column on geckos, the subject matter becomes not so enthralling.
In honor of National Columnists Day last week, I wanted to rerun my tribute to legendary war columnist Ernie Pyle, who is buried in Punchbowl Cemetery. The column first ran on April 18, 1995, which was the 50th anniversary of when Pyle was killed while covering the war in the Pacific. So readers were a little perplexed when I said in an introduction to last week's offering that the column first ran in 1975. Why, in 1975 I was only a little chap, a wee lad, just learning the art of bungling a column in college journalism classes.
So, I apologize to all the readers I caused to run to their electronic calculators and try to do the math and figure out what the hell I was talking about. And I apologize for what I said about geckos. I still find the little buggers fascinating.
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