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When we were children, my cousins and I had more fun than most kids would. Lots of people chalk it up to love, and others chalk it up to childhood imagination. But if you ask any one of us, there isn't one in da bunch that would deny what I think it was : the fact that we are all Podahgee!

You see, if you are not of da "Pocho-pursuasion," then of course you will not know or even comprehend what fun and good times it is to be so. Okay, so maybe I am making it out to be more than what it actually is, but hey- I'm part Podahgee, an' all us Pocho kine guys make EV'RY'TING mo' beeg 'den it really is! (Eh, you evah met one Podahgee who nevah talk wit' 'dey hanz? Okay den, you know what I stay tah-keen about!)

Okay, so when we was keedz we had a supah-terrific time all 'da time. We had each other and nothing else mattered. There are times in my memory that come back to me, sometimes out of the blue, and I cannot help but laugh out loud! Back 'den my mom would be shaking her head and saying "Aye-yah! Look all deeze Podahgees! Gunfunit anyhow!" everytime we would do or say something. This is because all us guys on my fuddah's side of da ohana get extra-supah strength kine Pocho blood. An' dis' kine blood go make yo' mout' run longer, make yo' brain run efficiently at half pow-ah, and for some odd reason even da mos' lolo tings dat we do is somehow okay (I call it Pocho insurance." Eh no blame me, I'M PODAHGEE!") There were plenty of times that I am positive that Ma would have hidden in a closet if there were one close enough (because remembah that Podahgee runs efficiently at half pow-ah), but I also know that like me and all my cousins, those memories are like precious gold heirlooms and there is nothing in this world like them, nor anything that can ever replace them. I am funny, and indeed it is because of that part of me that tells me I can whip up one broke-da-mout' batch of malasadas, eef only I could fi'gah out a way to stop da' shoo-gah from pouring out of da bottom of 'da bag!

One thing that stands out in my mind is the pride that my cousins had in, of all things, BVDs. Das right...you read it right BVDs , as in undah-wear. My Tutu, the late Walter Soares of Pauoa Valley (RIP Tutu man), was such a funny guy. He was the self proclaimed Gov'nah of Namilimili Street and Nana (still kickin' and eating like she was one young keed!)was "'da Queen." It seemed odd to me while growing up, and after I became old enough to know that perhaps there was more life than ExLax and Nana's obsession with it, that my grandfather had this weird fixation on underwear. And it wasn't the normal perverted kind obsession either. It was the kind that would make him announce out loud that " today we going to Mervyn's an' we go buy one package BVDs fo' Chris...Ka-trine...eh...you listening o' wot?" and of course she was, but Tutu always assumed that nobody listened to him. Okay, so I nevah until I was somebody's mother but who's counting, yeah?

We were at a family reunion that was held in Wainapanapa Falls Park. There were at least a hundred of us. It was my Nana's family, the Aoki clan, that this was a reunion for. And you could totally tell which of the herd was the pochos. We all had that same blank stare on our faces. We had shirts that matched each other with the name "SOARES" emblazoned on da back, shining and calling out to the rest of the family that we were there, we were proud, we were PODAHGEE. (Eh, we weren't so podahgee to not eat da 'opihi dat was on dat rocks dat was right next to one little kine statue dat had one kapu on 'em...but my podahgee cousin Jason, my fuddha's sistah and jes about everyone else but us smaht podahgees wen' suffah from food poisoning!)

One night came an' we all had to have a banner that would define our family's most important stuff. Being from a church going and music playing family, we had da bes' presentation.Uncle Reggie an' my cousin Kalani wrote one song called 'Wainapanapa '85' eh, we had 'ipus and ev'ry'ting. My little bruddah did one break dance an' foun' out dat you no can make one head spin on dirt. Me an' Jason did one skit. He was Tutu and I was Nana an' we sang "Da Hawai'ian Wedding song" while dressed in bathrobes, ovah-sized pajamas and beeg worn out house-slippah (really funny!). We got a lot of applause, but not one 'ting could have prepared dat crowd of onlookers for what was to come nex': Da family flag.

The flags were very decorative, all bearing things that would describe what was most important to those smaller branches of the larger ohana. There was one with hula and music, many bore petroglyphs and names of civic clubs that the respective families belonged to. Then came ours.

We were very proud of that banner. It symbolized all that our family thought was most important: trust, love, and a bonding that not even the Krazy Glue construction guy could have matched. The other banners were sewn and pressed and rolled, but ours was made on a whim and had several different uses. Ours was the most unique and it got the most laughs, the most stares, and when we first rolled it out, there was a hushed silence.

He he! Geeze! All dat commotion from one pair of skeed-mahk BVDs!

And at that very moment in time, our family became known as "The Republic of BVD," wit' Tutu on da throne and Nana right there always asking heem eef he needed mo' pepah!

Ahhhh was so much fun when we was keedz!!!

About Author

I live in the SoCal high desert town of Helendale. I have two keikis and one beeg haole who now qualifies to be one honorary "Podahgee from Moloka'i". I write, dance hula, cook ono grines and raise da keedz.

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