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When I was about nine years old, my dad would regularly take me with him on weekend nights to his favorite hang-out, BarbeQue Inn on Kalakaua Ave. in Waikiki. All the locals stopped by and played Bumper Pool and Shuffleboard. The owners, Francis and Helen Uyehara were also our landlords where we lived nearby, behind Lippy Espinda's Car Lot, in a small apartment building.

Francis would keep me busy with popcorn, unlimited Coca-Cola and quarters for the Jukebox. If it was an all-nighter, I would fall asleep in one of the booths or go next door to the Shangri-La Bar and hang out with "Auntie Rose", one of the bartenders there.

One night in particular, the Primo beer was flowing like a cloudburst up in Manoa Valley. BarbeQue Inn was packed and the usual dollar game at the Bumper Pool table was a betting frenzy. My dad was teamed up with one his his pals named Tony and they were cleaning up. Tony always had his ukulele with him and would pull it from this decorated black and silver trimmed case to serenade the boys between shots.

Their toughest competition was a guy they called "Atta" and a drinking buddy of my dad's I remembered from the Kai'o'o Drive house we used to live at, Gabby. As it neared closing time Francis shut the doors, turned off the neon sign, closed out the register but left the ice chest lid open so everyone who was left could help themselves. "Atta" went to his car and brought back an Autoharp and someone gave Gabby a guitar from their trunk.

For the next couple of hours, I sat on a barstool and heard some of the sweetest, hilarious, melodic, and raucous mix of music and chatter I can remember to this day. There were no more than 10 people there, but they all had wonderful voices, including my dad's falsetto which always impressed me. I don't think Tony Bee, Arthur Lyman and Gabby Pahinui jammed together after that night again but I count myself very fortunate to have seen and heard this incredible Late Night Jam Session.

About Author

Born Queens Hospital, July 1948. Attended St. Augustine's in Waikiki through 5th grade. Moved to mainland 1959. Short stint McKinley H.S. 1964 but graduated Narbonne H.S. in Harbor City 1966. 3 years Vietnam (1967-1970) USN. 10 years HPD, Truck Driver for 20 years, currently School Bus Driver, Garden Grove Ca. School District.

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