Dude Ranch on Wheels

Dude Ranch on Wheels

It is a fact, that besides the world needing more Aloha, the world needs more cowboys…friendly, helpful and lotsa,“Howdy M’ams” said with a smile and a tip of their cowboy hats. We learned that first-hand when moving from Maui to the “Team Roping Capital of the WORLD”: Wickenburg, Arizona.

And, of course, most of the cowboys travel with their horses! If they’ve won a few rodeos, then their favorite mode of transportation would be a luxury equine motorhome. Many will house horses in the back in separate stalls divided by swinging gates. There’s also storage for hay. Meanwhile, the cowboys and their families enjoy life up front in Marriott style living quarters.

Now, to me, just knowing that your horse is in the house goes beyond hollering . . . ”take off your boots” or “wipe your feet!” I remember yammering at the kids when their rooms were an absolute mess, “Do you guys think we live in a barn?” Well a rolling dude ranch is the perfect case where families do live in a barn.

Gone Too Long

Gone Too Long

How to know when you’ve been away from your tropical paradise too long:

1. You’ve got moss growing where your feet should have been:

2. You’ve got bananas coming out of your hoses and hydraulics:

3. Plus there are ferns procreating in your tires:

4. And idle hands are a jungle’s workshop:

5. The chicken eggs have hatched and they’ve taken over your road:

6. Because your tractor has now become a garden ornament.


Name-Dropping: Dr. Elmo Who?

Name-Dropping: Dr. Elmo Who?

Is it name-dropping if no one has a clue whose name it is that you’re dropping? I am the first to admit that Lorraine Brodek is one such name…thus the title of my book  A Nobody in a Somebody World. But Dr. Elmo Shropshire? Dr. Elmo who?

Starting right about the time kids are in the midst of their Halloween sugar highs, the musical airwaves begin pelting haggard parents with Chipmunks squeaking the Christmas Song and Jimmy Boyd high-pitching I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. But my personal favorite is when Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer starts bringing the real message home. Go Grandma! Better to be taken out buzzed and happy on eggnog by a rogue reindeer than hooked up to a feeding tube at the geezer home. Go Elmo! No…he’s not the red, furry, falsetto-giggling Muppet monster..   he’s Dr. Elmo Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer Shropshire. My guee-tar strummin’-singin’ hero.

So you can imagine my excitement when Tom invited Elmo and his shy wife Pam up to meet me and share some margaritas following the guys’ weekly Pasture Golf game (please see my blog on Pasture Golf). Elmo started the conversation off by reciting some direct quotes from my Savage Bees and Porno and Public TV chapters in my book. I was almost as speechless as Shy Pam is before two margaritas. Now here’s the clincher…Elmo was in Hasegawa General Store in Hana and bought Nobody in a Somebody World two weeks before he even met Tom. He was going on and on about how much he loves the book as much as I love his singing about Grandma being the victim of a hit and run by a reindeer (my guess is it was probably Blitzen). But most importantly…Elmo wanted me to know that Hasegawa’s was sold out of my book!

So next day, after going to the Post Office, I stopped by to see if owner Neil Hasegawa was in his store. He was. I went up to his office above the cash register which is directly across from the books-for-sale shelf where my Nobody SKU slot was empty. Neil stood up from his desk…to be cont’d. Stay tuned for next week’s blog!

The air conditioner is not for sale, but you can get all the latest news bulletins for free. The entrance is also the exit.

Name Dropping: Dr. Elmo Who? Part 2

Name Dropping: Dr. Elmo Who? Part 2

With a big grin, Neil greeted me in his office. We have been friends for over 30 years from when he was knee-high to a surfboard.

“So Neil, I understand you’re out of stock on my book,” I said with a broad smile.

Neil Hasegawa & Dr. Elmo

“How’d you hear that?” he asked.

“A little Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer told me.”

“I LOVE that song!” exclaimed Neil.

“Well…that’s because Elmo sings it and he bought my LAST book!”

“What? Here? Are you kidding me?”

“No, I’m not kidding you.”

“Here? In my store?”

“Yep…’oia nō (that’s right). Right here in your store. Hasegawa’s. And Elmo wants you to know that you’re out of my books.”

“But…he knows you…right? And he came in here to buy your book? Right?”

“No…Neil. He did not know who the heck I was. I’m a for-real Nobody. He just started leafing through your weathered demo Nobody book, saw that it was the last one, thought it looked fun and bought it. You are officially sold out!”


At Hasegawa’s, you can find cane knives next to the Christmas ornaments.

Neil immediately ordered four more. I hopped in the car, zoomed home, signed the books and delivered them back within the hour. Within the course of another hour, Elmo and Shy Pam went back to buy a Hasegawa’s T-shirt and saw my replenished stock. Pam bought all four!

This instantly made my book the “#1 Best Seller” at Hasegawa General Store. The last I saw of Shy Pam, she was hanging out near the huli huli chicken truck, selling my autographed copies at a 50% mark-up—thus removing me from the anonymous category.



Dr. Elmo singing “Grandma” with Shy Pam in our kitchen.




One of the great things about living in Hawaii or on Maui in particular is that you can roam free without the fear of poisonous or human-eater things leaping out of the bushes at you…like bears, mountain lions or rattlesnakes (actually, any kine snake). There are no snakes on the islands of Hawaii.

My friend Gray who lives here about six months out of the year is deathly afraid of bears, for example. I came to learn that she hates anything that involves woods or forests which provide habitat for humanity and/or bear food like squirrels (there are no squirrels on Maui) and berries. A number of years ago, she and her husband Kraig joined us at Ron and Marianne’s beautiful Grizzly Camp (please see my blog on “The Kidney’s Stone” [8/30/14]). There was a warning sign th-10down the road: “In the light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Dept. of Fish and Game is advising tourists, hikers, bikers and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears.”

“We advise that people wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that are not expecting them. We also advise everyone to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a grizzly. It is a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear dung. Black bear dung is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it and smells like red pepper.”

SOL (in middle) IS TEAM CAPTAIN.

SOL (in middle) IS TEAM CAPTAIN.

Okay…well…we maybe do have a couple of off-road animals that can chase you here on Maui…cows and pigs. I’ve written about that previously (Pasture Golf [4/14/14] and Porker’s Paradise [5/13/14]). As pointed out, a roasted pig is the Hawaiians’ main course for the perfect luau. So, our pig guy Sol loves it when Tom calls to say, “Bruddah! We got pigs!” The first annual pig hunting tournament was held in Hana last month. Team Sol and his guys, Ihilani and Keoki came in second. Team Kanedogs took first and Team No Sleep claimed third place…and also got the boar with the longest tusk: 6-1/8″!




P1050863 - Version 2Speaking of tusks, just like a grizzly’s dung, a boar’s dung (and fortunately, I’m not going to revisit this subject) could have flip flops stuck in it. Here’s a pic of him laughing after the chase:

So enjoy hiking on Maui. You won’t have to be alert to the sound of snake rattles shaking or have to wear a jingly bell lei. Just stay out of the cow pasture and be sure to bring an extra pair of flip flops.th-13 2