My Kind of Town

by Don Chapman

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Goddess of life

>> North shore of Molokai

Shinjo Eiki was merely looking for a quiet cove far from civilization on that summer day in 1944. A place to quickly repair both of his mini-submarine's torpedo tubes and get on with the mission approved by his older half-brother Tojo Hideki, Japan's military dictator. He found the place, a cove protected by two arms of lava that reached into the sea, and behind it a beach and a narrow jungle valley.

He was placing a brown tarp over the sub when he heard something behind him, whirled and saw a tall, brown woman emerging from the water. A tall, brown woman who was twice as big as he. A tall, brown woman who was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. A tall brown woman whose naked body and long black hair glistened with sea water. A tall, brown woman who seemed to glow. She introduced herself as Ho'ola, and offered her hand. Taking it, Shinjo was shocked. How could this be? Ho'ola had just stepped from the sea, yet her hand was warm. And how had he missed seeing her in the hours he surveyed the beach and valley through the periscope? And how had he, despite knowing no English -- or was it Hawaiian she spoke? -- understood every word Ho'ola spoke?

It is not often that a mortal man is blessed by an actual goddess. Shinjo did not realize it was happening to him, even as Ho'ola led him along a path beside a stream that ran from the valley into the sea. All he knew, watching the 6-foot-2 woman's beautiful back side move like slow water over smooth rocks, was that all longing was fulfilled in this place.

The path led beneath a canopy of trees to a clearing where a waterfall cascaded down a steep cliff at the back of the tiny valley. Beside the pool was a thatched home, and beyond that a garden. Ho'ola bade him bathe in the waterfall, and he shed his clothes but did not feel naked.

And so it was that Shinjo Eiki put his mission on hold. He had found a place where all of his needs and wants were met. He'd found security and happiness, and a woman who loved him often and well. He had found the valley of Ho'ola, goddess of life. And so he would stay here, tending Ho'ola's garden, fishing for food from the sea, hunting it in the lush mountains above, and never growing old.

And because she was a goddess, she traveled. Or at least disappeared, doing whatever it is a goddess must do. It was on those occasions that Shinjo Eiki worked on his submarine.

Don Chapman is editor of MidWeek.
His serialized novel runs daily in the Star-Bulletin
with weekly summaries on Sunday.
He can be emailed at

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