Tag Archives: Hawaii

Musings of Hawaii

Rob and Florence, my son and daughter-in-law just returned from their honeymoon in Oahu, Hawaii. I dropped them off at the airport in Orlando and my grandson, Colby, met them at the airport in Honolulu and showed them around, since he lives there. While they were gone, Hawaii was on my mind.

I had visited three of the islands in February, 1989, with my friend, Joe. On Maui, we had arranged to go scuba diving one day. The prelude to this activity was to have a short lesson in the hotel pool to make sure everyone was familiar with the equipment. I was about to find out that Hawaii actually does have winter so, while the air temp may not be cold, the ocean water is.

I didn’t think that would be a problem, though, because in my formative diving days, my diving buddy and I used to break through the ice in northern New Jersey quarries before diving in winter. Hawaiian water wouldn’t be that cold, so… What I hadn’t taken in to account was the fact that I was renting my equipment during this trip. I had always had my own before. That fit me.

The “wetsuit” I was given was not a long-sleeved neoprene affair that covered all but my face like I expected, but a puffy vest that looked like it would fit an extra-large Sumo wrestler. My whole bony little 103 lb. body could fit in the arm holes and as for my legs, they were on their own. No other size was available and there was no way that vest would provide me with any warmth. My instructor ignored my pleas and told everyone to get in the pool. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. Not wanting to seem a sissy, I decided to “man-up” and shut-up. After all, Joe and I were experienced divers. Surely the two other couples, whom we knew had never been diving before, would say something when we all hit the frigid pool water. Wrong! Between them they had several hundred pounds on me.  Joe, being a guy, had more meat on him, too, so I knew I was facing a dilemma.

We all jumped into the pool and learned the vest held the weights needed to help us sink and it was also inflatable to help us rise in the water. Okay. The trick was to balance those two things so a person would be essentially weightless. I was used to a separate weight belt to weigh me down and the air tanks to provide buoyancy, but this set-up seemed easy enough. Next was the face mask. Can you believe my mask was apparently also made for a large Sumo wrestler? It didn’t come anywhere near fitting my tiny face. In the last fifteen minutes, had I suddenly morphed into a munchkin? Uh, oh, things were not boding well for me, but I didn’t want to ruin the dive trip for Joe, so I kept quiet.

To make a long story short, I spent all of my dive time trying to regulate my weight/buoyancy, clear my face mask of water and equalize pressure in my ears. So, my view of the ocean near Maui consisted of multi-sized bubbles obstructing my vision of some fish and coral, while I rose up and down like I was on a seesaw. Joe realized I was suffering from hypothermia when we departed the dive boat and the air hit me. He rushed me to our rooms and I spent a while in a cold shower to warm up, and gradually changed the temp to lukewarm. I was so exhausted; I slept the rest of the afternoon. So much for scuba diving!

The next day we went whale watching and every time I saw a whale surface, before I got the chance to snap the photo, it had disappeared, so I have wonderful photos of water and more water, port side and starboard. So much for whale watching!

The next day we flew to Kauai where it rained the whole time and our helicopter trips were canceled. So we decided to go shopping. I was lucky to find some colorful, thin wooden ornaments of Hawaiian fish that are perfect for my Christmas tree and remind me of Hawaii. Joe and I both bought exotic shells and had them drilled so when we blew them we could call the Hawaiian sprits to our homes on the mainland. And since I had had such a difficult time during our dive, he bought me a pretty dress to wear to one of the fabulous shows at our hotel in Oahu, the Royal Hawaiian.

Some things didn’t work out on this trip, but it didn’t matter to me. The Hawaiian people were so happy and friendly and had a certain spirit about them that I can’t explain. The scenery was spectacular and the food was delicious. I hope I get another chance to go. Meanwhile, I can’t wait to hear all about Rob and Florence’s trip!


Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland. Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under musings, Travel

The Ditch

A story in the paper during the Holiday Season was the basis for my writing this poem.

DitchThe Ditch
Paul J. Stam

Beside the flowing drainage ditch,
The little child sleeps.
The sitting mother seldom smiles,
And very often weeps.

A block away the K-Mart lot
Is filled with shiny cars.
A child with a brand new toy,
Has no apparent scars.

In the lot the Christmas trees
Have all just gone on sale.
That means nothing to this hungry child,
Fevered, sick and pale.

The scrawny tree gives little shade,
Nor protection from the rain.
Pretty words are little help,
To an abandoned mother’s pain.

The wall behind is strong and stout
Shielding from prying eyes.
Well made to keep the bullies out,
Muffling a hungry child’s cries.

Paradise the place is called,
With mountains to the sea.
Tourist drop money everywhere,
But not at the scrawny tree.

Fear is now the rule of day,
Behind that concrete wall.
Fearing what they will say,
And maybe take her child away.

There is no help from anywhere,
From State or Church or man.
They reprimanded her before.
She’s done the best she can.

Beside the flowing drainage ditch,
The sitting mother weeps.
The child clutched to her breast,
Is at peace in eternal sleep.

She will be charged with child neglect,
With abuse and a whole lot more.
Careful how you judge another,
Who had more than she could bear.

Can there be one whose heart is torn,
By her plight and that of others?
The responsibility for her is ours,
Who are her sisters and her brothers.


Love, Peace and Aloha – pjs/


S&FL FrntI have a new novel will be coming soon with Indigo Sea Press. The title is, A Short and Futile Life.

It is the story of one who has served his country with valor and honor. A man of integrity, the government now wants silence him for telling the truth.

It is a near future novel about life in the United States when most, if not all, the personal rights stated in the Bill of Rights have been revoked for the good of the whole.


Final MSS Cover frontMurder Sets Sail is available from Second Wind Publishing and on Amazon. Kindle editions is only $4.99.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now also available as an audiobook.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.


Filed under writing

Behold – the hands

Have you ever stopped to consider your hands?

2 hands 1It is amazing how little attention we pay to our hands until something painful happens to them. Most people give daily, sometimes hourly, thought to their face, or their body, or their hair style, or even their shoe size, but hardly ever consider their hands except maybe to decide what color nail polish to use.

Babby meMy hands pushed me to a standing position when I was a child learning to walk, or held onto the helping hand during those first steps. Now at almost 85 they are again helping me to get up out of the chair I’m siting in, or reaching for a helping hand when I have to climb the stairs.

When I was a boy a friend accidentally shot an arrow through one of my hands. The doctor said there would be no permanent injury, but to this day I can’t fully open the last two fingers of my right hand. It is no great impediment, but when I notice it, it evokes happy memories of a day hunting frogs so we could have frog-legs for dinner.

My hands have held the reins to a team of matched grays pulling a sidebar mower or a side-delivery rake. They developed heavy callouses pitching the same hay that I had mowed and raked some days earlier.

They have passed ammunition for a 5-inch gun during a shore bombardment during the Korean Conflict. On another occasion they held a compress to a shipmate’s bleeding leg until the corpsman got there after he fell down a ladder. “Nothing serious,” the corpsman said, but it sure bled like hell.

These hands have turned the pages of innumerable books in a college library before computers came to be.

They trembled when I slipped the ring on my bride’s finger and again when I held our newborn daughter for the first time.

For eight years my wife, our son and I lived aboard a sailboat in Hawaii. Every year in about September when the rainy season started in Hawaii we would head south to the summer months in French Polynesia. It was our hands that raised and trimmed the sails and for 8 hours in every 24-hour day, for 22 to 25 days, we each had to take our turns of 4 hours of holding onto the tiller.

We sold the boat and started a normal life when our son was ready for college. In the years following we talked about our sailing days more than anything else, but we never talked about the part our hands played in it.

I have no idea how many years of hours these hands, first on a typewriter and later on a computer, have hit the keys in my trying to write novels.

The hands have always had something to do with all my joyful moments. Why have I never paid more attention to them?

They have been bashed, cut, bruised, bled, broken and reset and are probably the most abused of any part of me. They are old, soft, and wrinkled now, but of all my body parts they are what I can depend on the most. They catch on to something if I start to fall and hold me up. They still clap for something I admire.

As they have been doing for eighty-some years they still faithfully lift the food and drink from the plate to my mouth, maybe a little more often than they should sometimes, or feeding me things the doctor says I shouldn’t eat, but that is not their fault. They are only doing as they are told.

Oh, how grateful I am for those hardly-ever-thought-about hands.

May your hands never fail you and be always ready to reach out to someone who needs a helping hand.


Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming next month from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

We jus signed a contract for another book with Second Wind Publishing. Death On the Church Steps is another mystery.

To learn a little more about me click here.


Filed under books

If At First You don’t…

You know the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed; Try, try again.” Or maybe you are more familiar with the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, throw in the towel.” Or maybe you like, “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably shouldn’t have tried it in the first place.”

Poseidon, Greek god of water. The Roman water ...

Now you may be wondering what in the world a picture of Poseidon has to do with “If at first you don’t succeed.” Well nothing really, but since this post is about Poseidon, I thought I’d introduce you to him early.

What I was trying to do was a sculpture of Poseidon, or Neptune if you prefer, as part of the Hawaiian mountains. After all, the mountains came up out of the sea, which is Poseidon’s domain. Continue reading


Filed under fun, writing