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When I was small kid, I knew everybody who lived on my street.  Summer time I could leave the house in the morning and no come home 'til dinner time.  My muddah neva worry cuz she knew I was in da neighborhood.  All she had to do was yell my name and somebody would say: "eh your muddah calling you!"

I knew all our neighbors.  Had the Chun family next door with three kids. Gary went school with me and his two sisters played the violin and piano every afternoon for hours while us boys played football in the side yard.  Had the kolohe Matsuda kids being raised by a single muddah.  Neva did see Mr. Matsuda except one time on Thanksgiving.  He looked real Japanee Japanee.  Know wot I mean?  His hair was tied up in a knot on his head slicked back and he had a shiny black suit. He drove one big black car and we all thot he as Japanee gangsta or sumting. We stayed away from da Matsuda kids.  Of course da Mendez girls, who I had da hots foa. One wuz cheerleader at the high school and da uddah one always running around wit short kine shorts. Hoo....you know how it is wen us boys had raging hormones?

Of course had da neighborhood gossip, Mrs. Montejo. She spent most of da time talking over da back fence with her cohort in crime Mrs. Dudoit while hanging clothes.  If you wanted to know anything about anybody in the neighborhood all you had to do was stand within listening distance of dem two to catch up on what's what. Dose two was the first to call da house if they saw us climbing somebody's mango tree or throwing rocks at Mr. Manago's pidgeons. Mrs. Dudoit's son was a priest and she had statues of the virgin Mary and angels and  Jesus with some lambs and stuff in the front yard. She and Mrs. Montejo always was competing foa who get da mostest Catholic stuffs in their front yard.

Now I live mainland. I stay up hea 10 years now and I don't know my neighbors.  I roll into my driveway, open the electric garage door and disappear inside my own world as it closes behind us.  I sorta know the guy across the street because of his dog.  One time he was walking the dog.  I was outside washing my car. The dog came over wagging its tail.

I look up and talk to the dog.  "Hey there buddy, what's your name?"

Of course, I don't expect the dog to answer but I ask anyways.  "Jack. His name is Jack" says my neighbor coldly.

"Oh, hey Jack nice to meet you. What's your master's name?"

"His master's name is Jeff," came the answer.

I look up at Jeff.  "Hello Jeff, nice to meet you too."  Jeff nods little. He yanks Jack's leash and off they go.  That's the extent of my neighborhood knowledge. In this mainland neighborhood everyone keeps to themselves.

There's these Goth looking neighbors with a big black Humvee that I try to ignore.  One has got pierced eyebrows and wears black nail polish. He's pretty spooky.  The female has shaved her head and has a tattoo up the back of her neck of a snake. They park in front of my house and I watch them from my window as they unload crates with rope from the back of the Humvee at night.  They are both spooky.

I think it's good I don't know them.  What was I thinking? This is not like my old neighborhood in the country.  There are weird people out there.

One night around ten o'clock there's a knock at my door.  That's really weird cuz I wasn't expecting anybody.  I turn on the light outside and look through my front door Peep hole.  It's the Goth couple.  Whoa!

I open the door slowly.  "Hi. We just came in from work and we were unloading our truck." He looks at me behind round John Lennon glasses; I notice he has a silver ring through his nose and a teardrop tattoo under his left eye.

"Yeah," she continues where he stops, "we found this in your driveway." She hands me a wallet.  I look down at her outstretched arm.  It's got flowers and vines tattooed from her wrist disappearing under the sleeve of her shirt. In her hand indeed, is my wallet.

My wallet! It's got $150 in cash, all my credit cards and more!  I look at them both in wonderment.

"Um..t-t-t-thank you." I manage to say, taking the wallet from her. I must have dropped it in my driveway when I walked out to the mailbox earlier.

"No problem," she says, "we didn't want someone else to take it."

I thank them profusely and tell them I am very grateful for their honesty. I offer them money for their trouble. They refuse.  I ask them to come in for a glass of wine or coffe or someting maybe. They refuse.  They both smile, wave and walk back toward the street.

A simple act of kindness from an unexpected source.  What a humbling experience. A lesson in perception and judgment.   I will look at my Goth neighbors with a new respect. You never know where you will find aloha.  Aloha Happens ... when and where you least expect it.  I still wonder what they unload late at night from the back of their truck.

About Author

Kamaka Brown is on staff at AW. Originally from North Shore of Oahu, he now is a tropical transplant living on the West Coast. He is a stand-up comic performing in clubs, concerts and other venues in Honolulu, Las Vegas, Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles.

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