Was it the full moon or a tricky Halloween goblin that caused a bit of confusion in this space last Thursday? When I opened my Maui News that morning and saw my face and byline instead of Ron Youngblood's, I thought perhaps I'd entered the Twilight Zone. Or the movie, "Groundhog Day," in which Bill Murray is doomed to relive the same day, over and over again, until he gets it right. What a relief it was to recognize Ron's writing style and to realize that his "Maui Nei" column had simply been mistitled. By a mischievous mahina, perhaps? It was just the kind of minor disruption that the full moon seems to bring forth.
Come to think of it, last week was peppered with such moments. Little bobbles in the rhythm of daily life. For one thing, I heard from McAvoy Layne. Back in the late 1970s, when The Riddle King ruled Maui airwaves, I had the pleasure of serving as his majesty's newswoman. We started every weekday morning together at KMVI and it always amazed me, the way McAvoy would come bounding into the station at 5:30 a.m. after a night of carousing, as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as Digger the Dog, his constant companion.
That dog was as adored by our audience as the King. I'm a committed cat person myself, but Digger dug his way into my heart immediately. When McAvoy first acquired him as a puppy, he would nibble on my toes all through my newscasts. Digger, not McAvoy.
Exceedingly charming and eternally cheerful, Mac was everyone's favorite man about town. His promotional stunts were as off the wall as the riddles he collected on the air. One morning - I believe it was the day after Thanksgiving - he brought a giant turkey to work and locked it in the men's room in the accounting office. The details are fuzzy, but I think he was supposed to return the turkey to the Maui Zoo after a promo event and ended up keeping it overnight because the zoo closed before he got there. I do remember the turkey's name was Muhammed Alii and he totally trashed the men's room. Muhammed, not McAvoy.
Then there was the time, at the height of the protests over the bombing of Kahoolawe, McAvoy somehow sweet-talked the Navy into opening up the restricted airspace over the island so that we could do a flower drop. We went up in a small private plane and bombed the goats with thousands of blossoms donated by listeners.
His exploits off the air were just as legendary. McAvoy had an insatiable appetite for fun and females, as did his best friend and radio cohort, Kelly Dean. The two were notorious ladies' men, the Butch and Sundance of romance.
So no one was more surprised than I when Kelly proposed to me, especially since he himself had warned me when we first started dating that he was a confirmed bachelor. Turned out he was right. Our marriage only served to reconfirm it. He filed for divorce after two years, saying he just wasn't cut out for wedded bliss. The last time I saw Kelly, I was swinging my purse at him and cursing like a demon. "I never want to see your (bleep)ing face again, you (bleep)ing (bleep)!"
Fast forward 30 years to last week. In a chatty email, McAvoy informed me that Kelly's mom had recently passed away. Emmagene had continued to send holiday and birthday greetings to my son and me, long after her son and I parted ways. We fell out of touch with each other about 15 years ago, and I will always regret that. She was kind and loving, active in her community, and we thought the world of each other. The news of her death triggered a flow of memories and revelations. I realized that apathy had replaced the anger and hurt I'd carried for so long. And while apathy is easier to live with, it's no less destructive than anger.
McAvoy gave me Kelly's address and I expressed my condolences with carefully chosen words. I spent as much time writing and revising that email as I do on this column. Kelly's reply was full of fond memories and warm wishes. He reminded me that although it was brief and ended badly, our time together was precious. I probably never will see his (bleep)ing face again, but now, when I picture it in my mind, I do so with a smile on my own face, finally able to appreciate the good times we shared.
Some say the full moon is the ideal time to complete old business, bury the hatchet. Others say it can stir deeply suppressed emotions. After last week, I can testify to both. Mahalo e mahina piha.
* Kathy Collins is a performance artist, broadcaster and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.