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Every New Years Eve our close family and friends gathered at our house in Kaimuki and celebrated da biggest festive celebration of da lunar year. My faddah used to go down weah da neighborhood slop man raised his pigs and had wun slaughtered special for us. We stood and watched as da Filipino man picked wun outta da pen and diligently killed it right dere live and in color. Not da prettiest sight fo' witness but such is da life and death lesson for all of us young keiki. Da sight and smells still resonates in my mind to dis very day.

Early in da morning, all da sober young men folks would set up da fire pit and take turns spinning da pig round and round da fire on wun special-made spit. Had lots of time to talk story, smoke cigars, and tell all kine dirty lies. Naturally, beer and high balls had to be in dere someplace, yuh? By da time da huli huli pig wuz all pau and ono crispy, so wuz all dem red-faced piluted buggahs tryin like heck fo' stand up and walk straight. In da meantime all da womenfolk would be busy preparing da special kine kau kau ranging from seafood to dozens of ono kine ethnic dishes.

Since I wuz brought up and raised in wun predominantly Pake environment, most of da prepared dishes ranged from fresh steamed slaughtered chicken from da back yard, birdnest and sharkfin soups, chow mein, dried oyster and shrimp wrapped in pig stomach lining, several different kines of steamed and fried dumplings, roast duck, sweet sour uhu, kau yuk, bean curd, chow fun, etc. Pot luck was always the case with local folks so things like beef stew and curry, kanten, teriyaki stick, sashimi, fresh tako and poke, sweet sour pork, nishime, nori maki as well as football sushis were always a compliment to da occasion. Come past midnight, da celebration continued wit steaming hot pig intestine jook (gup dai) and piping hot chocolate for da small keeds. Whoo, da ono! I tell you wat, nobody complained about going hungry, az fo' shuah!

Of course us keeds wuz way too busy burning firecrackers, shooting off bottle rockets,  and popping cracker balls li'dat and getting into oddah kine youthful mischief. Come midnight, my faddah nevah failed to always have dat long string of 4-layer Duck Brand firecrackers (da kine 40 to 50 foot long wit da beeg round bomb cluster at da top end) hung from da top of da garage tied to wun long bamboo pole. I tink wuz eiddah 50,000 or mebbe 100,000 count firecrackers? Seem like wen burn for at least half hour owah more it seem? It took several barrels afterwards fo' clean up and rake up all da red papah off da driveway. My faddah used to always brag dat if he wen have wun good year, da fiyahcrackahs going sta' get longah and longah. Seem like every year da string got longah and longah. Dat means had moah and moah barrels of papah fo' rake up. Guess who's job wuz dat?

Getting back to fiyahcrackahs, we used to always looked forward to seeing wat my faddah used to get from his wholesale distributers every year. He had special connections getting all his fireworks directly from his wholesale suppliers at a fraction of wat the normal public bought dem for. He definitely was a kid at heart wen it came to New Years Eve. I would estimate that he had at least several hundred dollars worth of aerial bombs, Roman candles, cracker balls, sparklers, skyrockets, and different kine firecrackers stuffed in several large boxes purchased way before Christmas and stored next to da refrigerator. We always looked forward to Christmas but New Years Eve was definitely da beegest ting to look forward to.

Ah yeah, New Years Eve. Dose were da bestest days of my early youth az I can recall (sigh). Yup, I can still hear all my dear family membahs (most of them gone) conversing about 10 decibels above normal (just like typical excited Chinese arguing about who going pay da bill ovah dinnah)...Compei..."Gung Hee Fat Choy"! FAT CHOY!

About Author

Recently retired and living the "Life of Riley" in Torrance, CA. Working part time as a private aerospace contractor when bored and in need of extra spending money. Learning to grow old with the grandchildren and enjoying life to the fullest.

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