Aloha, Grandpa.

5 08 2007

Yesterday (Saturday) I had to work a few hours to make up for the two half days off I took this week to get my car repaired (Which itself is another story).

One of the students that I picked up yesterday lived in Woodward Lake, which for those of you that don’t live around here is a large, planned community for some of Fresno’s richest people. The community includes a large, man-made lake surrounded by some of the more expensive homes, all of which have private docks with small water craft.

But all that information is hardly necessary, so I’ll get on with it.

During some student-teacher conversations on his previous lessons, he told me that he was part Hawaiian Islander, with his mother being a Hawaiian native. He also told me about how his Hawaiian grandfather was currently staying with them, due to some unfortunate family business involving the premature sale of his island home.

Anyway, when I went to the kids house yesterday, he was not ready to leave because he was sitting with his grandfather while they both played guitars and sang.

As he got ready (Which took rather long, considering he was already dressed), I was standing in the foyer as I had done on the previous two lessons. His grandfather continued to play guitar and sing “Fools Rush In” (The Elvis version, not the super lame Bow Wow Wow cover).

After a minute or two, the old Hawaiian noticed me, and invited me over to sit down with him at the table, where he had many hand written song sheets spread out in front of him.

From the foyer, due to the size of the house, all I could tell about the old man was that he was, in fact, old, and was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. When I got closer to him, it became clear how Hawaiian this man actually was. His skin was rather deeply tanned, and had the appearance of smooth leather (No doubt from a lifetime of living under the sun and presumably surfing or some other stereotypically Hawaiian pastime). However, I don’t think this guy was an ethnic Hawaiian, as he still had the appearance of an Anglo-Saxon male, albeit one that has lived in a tropical climate his whole life.

Moving on.

I elected to stand, as I didn’t want to get comfortable knowing that the kid would be ready at any second. Before I even got over to the table, the old Hawaiian asked “Do you like to sing?”

I’ve never been asked that before, and I had no real way to respond. I didn’t want to say no and seem rude, and I didn’t want to say yes and commit to singing Elvis songs with this friendly old guy.

I responded “I don’t have a good voice, but that doesn’t stop most people” or something like that. He laughed, and went on singing his Elvis song.

My student came out, said “Aloha” to his grandpa (even doing the shaka hand sign, which does not mean “hang ten,” but is more akin to a common greeting, like the Vulcan hand thing), and I said “Maybe another time,” to which grandpa responded “Ok, great!”

As we were driving away from the house, I asked my student if his grandfather was always so kooky, and he told me that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The whole experience made sense at that point.

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