Football season has started, and if it is like any other year, I will be watching game after game. My love of football dates back to 1958 when we were living in Towson, Maryland and the Baltimore Colts were the team to watch.
There hadn’t been a Super Bowl (and there wouldn’t be until January 15, 1967) but there were championships. Baltimore won the 1958 championship in sudden death overtime , besting New York 23 to 17. I was fascinated that season by Johnny Unitas, Alan Ameche, Lenny Moore and Gino Marchetti. I cried, of course, when Baltimore won the game. That game has often been referred to as “the greatest game ever played”
I was so dedicated to the Colts that I insisted my family frequent Gino Marchetti’s fast food joint (for french fries) and Alan Ameche’s fried chicken place.
My interest in football, always there, reignited when I read Michael Lewis’ Blindside. I began to obsessively follow Michael Oher and his career at Ole Miss and his drafting by the Baltimore Ravens. The year he was drafted I tweeted the draft until he got picked (at number 23). I haven’t tweeted since.
Even though I no longer live in Maryland — that was 54 years ago — I am a loyal Baltimore Ravens fan because of Michael Oher. I have a few other favorite teams, but the Ravens, who are known for their tough defense, are my number one. As you undoubtedly know, the Ravens won the 2013 Super Bowl, a game that is described this way by many sportscasters “a game that will live in infamy for the great plays there were and the great calls there weren’t.” Baltimore beat one of my other favorite team, the 49ers.
Last year I read The League of Denial, and it cemented my belief that football is a game that is unequivocally bad for the players and the NFL knows it, and has known it for a long, long time. Now, so does everybody else. Ex- Football players settled a $765 million concussion lawsuit with the NFL, and as recently as August 3rd, a former high school football player who murdered his girlfriend is using injuries sustained on the field as part of his defense (the concussion made him do it). And, there is a NCAA concussion lawsuit that provokes headlines such as “The NCAA Has Failed It’s Student Athletes for More Than Two Decades.” Forbes just posted (56 hours ago) an article that was headlined ” 35 NFL Players Have Had Concussions and The Season Hasn’t Started Yet.” Calvin Pryor, the hard-hitting safety and first round pick of the New York Jets was the first.
So the fall is almost here. Despite knowing all of this, I will most likely watch College Football. I will most likely watch some High School Football. I will most likely watch NFL Football. Does this make me an accomplice? Probably.
I was racking (wracking?) my brain trying to figure out what to write about because my blog is mostly about me writing, and I really appreciate the people that read it.
My friend Hayley sent out her Culinary newsletter and at the back of it, there was a section which she had collected from various sources (Food & Wine, Nutrition Unplugged, Global Culinary Institute,et al) so I thought I’d share them.
Among grains, you will be eating Freekeh (green wheat). This reminds me of when Eric and Ian were little and our friend Dave Dunham called them freekah suckas. Then Dunham’s kids were little, and now they are grown — one of them to be 6’7″ . I don’t know if Freekeh is going to be pronounced bad for you the following year (it is wheat after all) or if someone will write a book called Freekeh Fat. Also among grains is Kaniwa, or baby quinoa. I made an effort to buy some quinoa last year, at Costco of all places, and I still have enough quinoa to feed my neighborhood. As far as I know, it may be havings babies, and I will not have to go out and buy any.
Next on the grain list is the old favorite Buckwheat. For me, Buckwheat is about the Little Rascals, although my favorite Crepes Place does sell buckwheat crepes … which I confess never to have tried. Black Rice is also on the list, and Chia (not the Chia Pet kind, although that would be more fun) and three things I have never heard of: Amaranth, Kamut and Spelt. Spelt sounds sort of familiar. Like an incorrect pronunciation of spelled.
Moving along, we will be eating jerkies, but not your traditional beef or fish jerkies (I had no idea there were fish jerkies) but hand-crafted-grass fed beef, salmon, turkey and venison jerkies. Added touches will be Japanese curry, crushed chilies and dried fruits. The only “person” I know who now eats jerky is our dog.
Here is some good news: Cauliflower is the new kale. I have tried in the past to make cauliflower”mashed potatoes” and they are not bad. I have not tried to make kale mashed potatoes. The previous sentences reminds me of Dan Quayle and the spelling bee where he incorrectly spelt potatoes. I think it has an “e” because my computer graciously underlined it.
Vegetables are the new meat. So they say. But I have been watching Master Chef and they have not been given this news.
Eggs Benedict will be replaced by Shaksuka (eggs poached in chilies, tomatoes and peppers). Someone who is on to new and unusual combinations is the chef at Koko Head, the place for brunch, only brunch, in Kaimuki. It’s located in the former 12th Avenue Grill spot, and serves things like chicky and egg (fried jidori chicken and eggs scrambled the french way). I think she has a version of Eggs Benedict and it may even be Shaksuka. Not sure.
Korean hot sauce (Gochujang) is the new Siracha.
And weirdest of all to me, maple water is the new coconut water. I have seen cases of coconut water leave Costco, and I just don’t believe it.
P.S. Because of the World Cup, you will also be eating Ecuadorian and Brazil inspired food and drinks, two more things I don’t know about –Pisco and Cachaca spirits, purple corn and aji peppers (I don’t know if this is an ingredient in aji, aji, aji nomoto).
My friend Mary MacMillan thinks I should write a memoir because it would be so full of crazy people and unbelievable events. While its true that I lived a life that could rival David Sedaris’, I wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, including the people who survive the crazy but already dead people in my life. One exception, “Mac” says, would be my mother who “really wouldn’t give a s**t.” That is probably true. My mother lived by one rule, and that was that rules were made to be broken. One of her life’s missions was to lighten up my father who was as straight as an arrow can be and who spent a lot of his time huffing, puffing and muttering under his breath. Mac particularly remembers one time when her Dad came to pick her up and tried to make friendly conversation with my Dad who was raking the yard. All my father could muster at the time was “Goddamn kids.”
But this is a story about our baby sitter, who was also my Mother’s hairdresser, Mike Spezzano. Mike did not baby sit for us when we were young because by the time we had moved to Connecticut my brother and I were practically teenagers who could have stayed home by themselves. If anybody trusted us. Which, wisely, even my Mother did not. We went to the local public school, Eastern Junior High School, and a significant number of our friends were toughs on the football team and from the heavily Italian neighborhood just over the Post Road. These friends were particularly valuable to my brother, since they would gladly beat up anyone who picked on him, in hopes of getting a date with either me or Mac. Eastern Middle School, as it is now known is “Setting the Standard for Excellence,” an activity we did not participate in when we were there.
Mike Spezzano was hired specifically to make sure that all hell did not break loose when my parents were out. My Mother undoubtedly loved the idea of all hell breaking loose and hoped that it would, but that things would be back to normal by the time they got home. I have no idea why my Father thought Mike was there.
Mike was there to make sure that the kids who drank too much didn’t drive and if they were inexplicably ill he sent them out to the yard. He was there to make sure no one went upstairs, and that no one (besides Cy Hobart) wrote their name on the ceiling of the playroom with a pool cue. He was there to break up the couples who were making out. He was there to make sure that any liquor that was drunk did not come from our house. Most of all, he was there to kick everyone out before my Father came home.
As a special treat, Mike would take me and Mac (after everyone left) to Binney Park to go submarine watching. If any of you are from the New York area , you will have memories of Cousin Brucie using this phrase that describes the act of (usually) teenagers steaming up car windows and our form of it was to watch the submarine watchers. Mike is the first baby sitter I remember. Evidently we did not need them when we were small.
When Mark retired from Punahou, Punahou gave him a beautiful koa wood box, and a “blurb” in the program. I wanted to share it because most of my friends weren’t there — in fact none of them– and I wanted you to read it. Here it is:
“After graduating from Royal College Canada’s West Point, Mark Hanington served three years in the Canadian Navy as a submariner. As a young father, he concluded that was no way to raise a family. He left the Navy, moving his family to a small town in British Columbia where he planned to write the great Canadian novel. In the meantime, he volunteered at his children’s co-op preschool.
There he discovered his life’s passion. When he figured out that his happiest days were those he spent at preschool, he set his sights on becoming a teacher. After getting his MEd at Gonzaga University, Mark started what would become a 40-year career in teaching, 26 of which were at Punahou.
Mark arrived at Punahou after his family decided to sell everything and go on an adventure to Hawai‘i. He began teaching fourth grade in the Winne Units. Three years later, he moved to the Academy at the invitation of the head of the social studies department. Since then, he has taught social studies, European history, ICE (a course combining English, social studies and science), computer science and math. He also served as head of the Social Studies Department and director of Summer School, but he retires as a math teacher.
“Someone once described Mark to me as a Renaissance Man, and I think the description is appropriate,” reflects Academy Principal Kevin Conway. “More than once, I have been contacted, out of the blue, by parents who wanted to tell me how grateful they were for Mark’s above-and-beyond tutoring of their child and for his ability to bring clarity and understanding to the seemingly incomprehensible.”
Among his students, “Uncle Mark” is known for his gentle humor and for starting each class with a “Mathmagical Moment.”“Mark has demonstrated throughout his career how to reach and teach students from multiple angles,” says Academy Math Department Head Christine David. “He sees the good in all kids and is a tireless advocate for those who struggle, spending countless hours in the Learning Support Center to help students. Many graduates credit ‘Uncle Mark’ when they are asked about an influential teacher. We will miss his calm demeanor and thoughtful presence in our department.”
In retirement he plans to pursue poetry, art and music. He’d also like to take lessons in tai chi, audit classes at the University of Hawai‘i and take art classes at the Honolulu Museum of Art. And, of course, he plans to write the great American novel.”
Sometime last year, my good friend Kulia suggested that, since Mark did not want a retirement party, we should set up a scholarship in his name. I finally did it, with a small amount of “highly appreciated stock” (stock I could never sell) from my great great grandfather’s company. Mark is very pleased, and I just wanted to mention it because if anyone is going to send some $ Punahou’s way, it would be terrific is you designated it to go to the Mark Hanington Fund. The Fund is set up to provide financial aid for students who need it. This is very important to Mark, since he strongly believes that since he came to Punahou, the increasing amount of financial aid which allows a more diverse population at the school is one of the things that Jim Scott has done to take it from being a good school to a truly great one.
Recently, the closing of Hungry Ear set off a lot of dismay about how Kailua has changed, and indeed it has. When I moved here from Kahala 24 years ago, the place was asleep. There were very few restaurants, fewer shops to shop at, there was a rowdy bar in the middle of town. (not really asleep I guess). Now, although some call it Kaikiki, and others bemoan the big box Target moving in, I love living here because it is lively, and busy and lots of people that live here own businesses and have jobs. I have previously received comments that because I am co-owner of what is perceived by some to be a tourist venture (and have had the audacity to write about owning a business in a small town on O`ahu) I have contributed to the downfall and am in no position to talk.
Yea, but I talk again. Today my husband and I were sitting inside of a very busy Crepes No Ka Oi, waiting for our yummy crepes and drinking their wonderful coffee. The place was filled with happy chatter. There were locals, Japanese visitors, and westbound visitors. The staff was moving fast on their feet because they were understaffed today, but everyone was –as we would say in the sixties — copasetic. When I moved to Kailua, or for many of the years since, there was no place like Crepes No Ka Oi.
On the other side of the window sat a Japanese family. Their little boy, he of a most seraphic face, sat immediately across from us. When he caught my eye, he burst into a killer grin, and started to lead me through an impromptu game of Simon Says. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time (before you say it, let me say that some of you might be thinking that I am short on fun times. I am not). We clapped, put our hands on our head, our cheeks on our fists, waved hi and blew a kiss. It was one of those pieces of magic that can only happen serendipitously. Smiles across the world. It was wonderful.
The other wonderful thing is the very existence of Crepes No Ka Oi, which started out at Kailua’s Thursday night Farmer’s Market. They’ve grown from there to their current location and are about to move to a new one twice its size. They have grown from a place where you stood in line, to a place you may have to wait because of their popularity. This couldn’t have happened in yesterday’s Kailua.
Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.