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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c h a p t e r t h r e e ........................................................... how about a martini? Hawaii was a wonderful place for a young bachelor, second lieutenant pilot. There were a bunch of nice guys in the 31st Squadron. It was a casual life in the military then. Every Wednesday was a half holiday, and work stopped at noon. About one Saturday each month, there was a big parade, review, and inspection in the morning. Otherwise, we had two-day weekends. And of course, the last day of every month was payday and a holiday. On payday, the eagle screamed, the troops were paid, and the rest of the day was off. It is also well to remember that in those days, the Hawaiian Islands were a far-away place. Now, you can fly there in a few hours, Hawaii is a state, and Honolulu is no more distant or romantic than Los Angeles or New York. Back then, though, the Pan American flights were pretty iffy. They flew once a week if the winds were favorable, they carried very few passengers, and they were extremely expensive. The only real way to get to Hawaii was by boat. Matson had a liner going back and forth from San Francisco once a week and there was an Army transport once a month that stopped in on its way to and from the Philippines. The military tour of duty in Hawaii was three years, and there was no commuting. When you joined the ‘‘Pineapple Army,’’ you were a ‘‘Pineapple Soldier’’ for three years. It was a way of life, and a good one for young bucks like me. Within a week after Ercell’s party, I just happened to be in downtown Honolulu, in the Liberty House about closing time. After much hunting up and down the aisles, I finally located Lee’s department. I lurked until she was free and then, putting on my biggest smile, I pounced. At first, she didn’t remember who I was, but I was persistent. She finally agreed that she would let me drive her home if one of her roommates could ride with us. Who was I to say no? I found a handy place to park where I could keep my eye on the working girls as they filed out after closing time. Sure enough, here came Lee with another girl, who turned out to be Jane. I escorted them to the car with a PAGE 15 ................. 17575$ $CH3 10-14-09 12:23:36 PS flourish and began wending my way through traffic towards Waikiki. As we wound our way down Kalakawa Avenue, I asked the girls if they had time to stop for a short nip at one of the many spots along the way. After consulting, they agreed that they had time for a very short stop, and we located an appropriate cocktail lounge. I was a ‘‘beer after work’’ kind of guy and was slightly taken aback when Lee ordered a martini. I had never had such an exotic libation, but I joined her and enjoyed the experiment. After the martinis, I took the girls to their apartment and met their other roommate, Jean. Lee insisted that she was busy that evening. Both Jean and Jane seemed fairly receptive, but I wasn’t about to fall into that trap. I left quickly because Lee seemed anxious to get on with other things, and I kept hearing the ominous roar of a motorcycle patrolling up and down the street, waiting for my car to disappear. My options were few, and I left with the hope that Lee had found a ride home with a martini stop infinitely more attractive than a bus ride. This story about my first one-on-one encounter with my future bride may sound like a casual event in a young man’s life, but it has grown in importance over the years. Martinis became a part of our life together. I acquired the knowledge about the proper way to make a martini and some of the nuances of icing the glasses and using fresh lemon peel on the rims. Throughout the years, Lee and I have enjoyed a quiet martini together before dinner and serving them to our friends. I came to consider myself an expert at the construction and treatment of fine martinis. But every time I would tell the story about Lee introducing me to my first martini, her instant comment...


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