To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, October 2, 1999

Pages in my
memory book

LIFE is often featureless routine interrupted by instants of panic, joy, wonder or intense anxiety. Being a newspaper editor in Hawaii just makes these flashes more intense.

Consider finding yourself in the reception line in the backyard of the Japanese Consulate on Nuuanu Avenue when the emperor and empress came to visit in 1994. The protocol people have positioned you and your wife along the winding walkway built to carry the imperial feet through the assembled ranks of mere dignitaries.

Our appointed spot was right in the front row, thanks to the regard in which the Japanese hold their own press, I guess. We'd actually get to shake hands with the royal couple! Naturally, we were excited, pleased and feeling a little conspicuous. It didn't help that the folks right behind us -- in the second echelon, so to speak -- were David and Mrs. Murdock.

Yup, that Murdock, David H., the one who runs Dole Foods and Castle & Cooke. He was featured Thursday in our 100 Who Made a Difference series. The self-made Murdock is not a shy person and being one-upped by a lowly ink-stained wretch wasn't his cup of pineapple juice.

We tried to swap places but no dice, and his see-here-do-you-know-who-I-am ploy fell on non-English-speaker ears.

Chastened, the great man chatted with us about one of his favorite subjects, Lanai. We didn't get an invite to Koele Lodge for the weekend, but being trapped between a legend and an emperor was a true Hawaii moment.

Then there was the day in July 1995 that a sheriff arrived in my office with what turned out to be a lawsuit. Frank Fasi took issue with an editorial we'd printed two years before. Seeing my own name listed as a defendant being sued for $70 million was a very intense experience.

I was later dropped from the suit and Fasi lost, but I can still picture that document if I just close my eyes. Thanks for the memories, Frank.

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.

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